Time To Complete: 3.0
Seasonality: Summer, Fall
Land Website: Yellowstone Hiking
Fees Permit: Yes
Park Entrance Fee
Dog Friendly: No
Destination Highlights: Classic Destination, Great For Families, Panoramic Views
The Pebble Creek/Upper Meadows hike offers some of the most magnificent meadow viewing in all of Yellowstone National Park. The trail parallels Pebble Creek and exits near the northeast entrance road. From the trailhead, the Pebble Creek Trail climbs up a ridge, steep at times, for 1.5 miles before dropping down the backside and into the Pebble Creek drainage. The trail then parallels, crosses, and re-crosses Pebble Creek several times along its course. A turnaround at the second crossing makes for a great 8-mile out and back hike with views of the Upper Meadows of Pebble Creek.
What Makes It Great
Pink fireweed. Yellow goldenrod. Purple lupine. White Yarrow. Between the bright green of the willows along pebble creek, and the silver sage on the hills above, portions of the Pebble Creek trail travel through some of the finest dry meadow gardens in Yellowstone National Park. The landscape surrounding the Pebble Creek Trail demonstrates what is called the sagebrush-steppe plant community. This plant community, found along the entire Northern Range of Yellowstone National Park, is dominated by sagebrush, several species of grasses, and a dazzling display of wildflowers in late June through early July.
While the entire Pebble Creek trail is twelve miles one-way and requires a car shuttle, an out and back hike to the second crossing of Pebble Creek submerges the hiker into the middle of the Northern Range of Yellowstone National Park, sometimes referred to as the Serengeti of North America. The sagebrush-steppe plant community surrounding the Pebble Creek Trail provides foraging habitat for moose, pronghorn, deer, elk, and bison and the wolves that hunt them. Wildlife viewing is best at dawn and dusk.
Who is Going to Love It
Wildlife aficionados as well as anglers will love this hike. The chance to spot an elk, pronghorn, moose, bison, deer, and grizzly lay just around the next corner. Several wolf packs reside in the area as well. The trail’s open views, especially in the evening or early morning, add to the chance of seeing wildlife. While not as reputable as its neighbor Slough Creek, Pebble Creek also provides great fishing. Look for cutthroat trout, Yellowstone’s native trout species.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From the Northeast Entrance: Drive 1.2 miles west and turn north into the trailhead parking area that is also the warm springs picnic area. Parking is free with an Entrance Pass.
Please respect wildlife and maintain the required distances from all Yellowstone wildlife. It is illegal to approach or remain within 100 yards of bears or wolves. All other animals must be within 25 yards.
Fishing in Yellowstone National Park requires lead-free tackle and a valid Yellowstone National Park fishing permit. Please clean all waders, boots, boats, and other fishing equipment before entering the park to reduce the spread of Aquatic Nuisance Species
Featured image provided by Greg Willis