Yellowstone National Park

Sawtell Peak Road - Island Park, Idaho

Sawtell Peak Road – Island Park, Idaho

GPS Coordinates: Trail Head:44.53559 N, 111.35664 W Peak:44.56193 N, 111.44474 W Trail Map Driving Directions The Trail: The Sawtell Peak road is a great destination for anyone that enjoys sweeping views. It takes you over 9,800 feet to great 360 degree views of 3 different states. This makes a perfect unique stop to anyone visiting nearby Yellowstone. It is a very well graded dirt road. It is open to all vehicles. I have been here on anything from ATV's to a family sedan. If the conditions are bad you obviously would need something with 4x4 but most of the time it is not at all necessary. The road is not technical at all but could still be challenging for those afraid of heights since there are several exposed areas. The mountain always holds snow well into July making this a great stop for summer or fall. The area is also ...
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Trout Lake - Yellowstone National Park

Trout Lake – Yellowstone National Park

GPS Coordinates: Trail Head:44.89893 N, 110.12296 W Trail Map The Trail: Trout Lake is a short, steep and popular trail located in Lamar Valley close to the northeast entrance of the park. It can be very busy because the lake is very popular with fisherman. It still makes a great, short scenic hike even if you don't fish. The trail head is well signed off the road and has a small parking lot with info signs. This area is in heavy traveled bear country. Do not hike here without bear spray and its best to have more than one person. This is a great hike for wildlife because Bears, Otters, Bison, Deer, and Elk all frequent the area. The trail immediately enters the trees and climbs steadily about 250 feet before dropping back down just a bit to the lake. There are some huge pines in this grove. There are ...
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West Thumb Geyser Basin - Yellowstone National Park

West Thumb Geyser Basin – Yellowstone National Park

Trail Map Driving Directions The Trail: West Thumb Geyser Basin is a short, easy, and fun hike that is great for people of all ages. The entire figure 8 is less than a mile and has some really cool features. There are lots of colors here. There is slight inclines but really just about anyone could do this. It is one of the more unique thermal areas in the park since its right on the shore of Yellowstone Lake. Here are pictures of some of the smaller features and different colors available to see. Part of the trail is right on the shore and some of the thermal features right in the water. I caught it on a beautiful day where the mix of clouds and sun made for some awesome photos! There are two pools here that are really famous and really beautiful. The first is called the abyss ...
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Midway Geyser Basin - Yellowstone National Park

Midway Geyser Basin – Yellowstone National Park

Trail Map Driving Directions The Trail: Midway Geyser Basin is one of the most famous, and by nature, the most crowded of all Yellowstone's thermal areas. It contains the biggest and prettiest spring in the park called Grand Prismatic Spring. The whole trail is on easy boardwalk with very minimal elevation change. The trail starts out by crossing a bridge over the Firehole River. You can see the huge amounts of water coming from Excelsior Geyser as it pours water into the river. Excelsior Geyser is a huge crater full of water. It dumps 4000 gallons of water into the river per minute. The day we were there it was so steamy I was not able to get any good pictures. It has very pretty blue water and is very large. Next up is the second most famous thermal feature in Yellowstone behind Old Faithful. Grand Prismatic Spring is absolutely ...
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Beartooth Falls - Cooke City/Yellowstone

Beartooth Falls – Cooke City/Yellowstone

GPS Coordinates: Trail Head:44.93872 N, 109.60056 W Driving Directions The Trail: This waterfall technically is not in Yellowstone. It is located just outside the northeast entrance about an hour. Since it is so close and the vast majority of people will need to drive through Yellowstone to reach it I included it with the Yellowstone hikes. With that aside this is one of my all time favorite hikes in the Yellowstone area. When visited in late spring, through about August this is one of the most spectacular falls I have seen. The hike is still pretty in fall but the water drops off severely. Do NOT attempt this hike if there is still snow and ice on the ground. It would be too dangerous and risky of a fall. This is not a great one for kids because there are some (fairly easy for most) rock scrambles that are exposed ...
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Mystic Falls - Yellowstone National Park

Mystic Falls – Yellowstone National Park

Trail Map Driving Directions The Trail: I had heard that Mystic Falls was one of the busier hikes in Yellowstone because it is so close to the busiest feature in Old Faithful. I had also seen pictures of the falls and come away unimpressed. We did this hike the first weekend in October. We saw very few people and I came away very impressed. This is definitely a waterfall where pictures do almost no justice. The falls are much larger and more powerful than they appear and we visited in the low water season. In spring I bet they are awesome! The route described here is the quickest route to the falls and then we came back the same way. ( I had an 8 month pregnant wife ready to kill me for making her hike at all) I tracked just over 2 miles out and back the short way ...
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Best Hikes in Yellowstone: Waterfalls

Best Hikes in Yellowstone: Waterfalls

The Countdown: This is my list of the best hikes to waterfalls in the Yellowstone area. I am sure this list will be constantly changing. It was very hard deciding a countdown. Most of the hikes are very family friendly. To make the list a hike had to start within an hour of Yellowstone. Each choice is accompanied with a link for the much more detailed individual Treks. Have you done any of these or do you have different favorites? Comment and let us know what your favorites are! 11: Wraith Falls A cool little waterfall from a small creek that spreads to make a very wide fall. Wraith Falls Trek 10: Bridal Falls Bridal Falls is unique in the fact that it makes a 90 degree turn mid plunge before making a 40 foot drop into a great little pool. Bridal Falls Trek 9: Fairy Falls  Fairy Falls is ...
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Boiling River Hot Springs - Yellowstone National Park

Boiling River Hot Springs – Yellowstone National Park

Trail Map Driving Directions The Trail: Boiling River is an awesome thermal feature in Yellowstone. Its the only easily accessible hot spring in the park that you can swim in. There are a few others if you want to backpack. This does make it a very popular and crowded trail. The trail head is located between Mammoth Hot Springs, and Gardiner, Montana. It is well signed. The parking lot is fairly small so its best to get an early start. We went in late fall and the cold early morning air made the hot springs feel amazing. I have been to a lot of hot springs through the years and these are my favorite. There are hours from 5 AM to 9 PM. These are strictly enforced and you will get a ticket. It is very easy for the rangers to look down from the road and see people in ...
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Best Hikes in Yellowstone: Thermal Attractions

Best Hikes in Yellowstone: Thermal Attractions

The Countdown: This is a list of the best hikes to see the amazing thermal features of Yellowstone. These include Geysers, Mud Pots, Fumaroles, and Hot Springs. All of the hikes listed are very family friendly. At the end of each section is the link for the individual treks for each hike that have much more in depth information. I have visited all of them many times and it was hard to number this list. Enjoy! 10: Artist Paint Pots The highlights of this are the colorful mud pots, and the great views of the surrounding valley. Artist Paint Pots Trek 9: Biscuit Basin Biscuit Basin is a very easy and short hike with several different colorful pools and several fumaroles. Biscuit Basin Trek 8: Mammoth Hot Springs Mammoth is one of the most iconic areas of the park and even though the springs are drier than in times past, ...
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Brink of Lower Falls - Yellowstone National Park

Brink of Lower Falls – Yellowstone National Park

None saved for this Trek. Trail Map: Driving Directions: This trail starts at the Canyon North Rim Drive. The road is right by Canyon Village and is signed very well. The Trail: This trail is roughly paved and is only about 3/4 of a mile round trip. The trail does however drop 300 feet in 3/8 of a mile. So the 300 Feet back up can be tiring if you don't like hiking. The trail is almost straight paved switchbacks. Upper Falls can be seen from the trail. The first photo is from this trail. The second is from the actual upper falls overlook. As you approach the brink you will get great views of the river. The trail ends at a platform right at the top of the falls. The views here are amazing. You get to feel the mist and see the height of this amazing waterfall. It gives ...
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Bridal Falls - Silver Gate/Cook City/Yellowstone - Montana

Bridal Falls – Silver Gate/Cook City/Yellowstone – Montana

GPS Coordinates: Trail Head:45.00842N, 109.97350W Trail Map Driving Directions The Trail: Bridal Falls is really nice little waterfall. I would guess its about 40 feet in height but is one of the more unique I have seen. It is about ten minutes outside the northeast entrance to Yellowstone. The turn is right in the city of Silver Gate. If too early in spring the road may be too muddy and you will have to hike in from town. There is only room for about two cars to park but I have been twice and never even seen a sign of another person. There is no signage for this hike. To get to the parking area head south on Monument Avenue in Silver Gate. The road will end and take a left on Bannock street. It is a dirt road. Its just about a mile on this road and you will ...
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Canyon Area Overlooks - Upper, Lower, Crystal Falls - Yellowstone National Park

Canyon Area Overlooks – Upper, Lower, Crystal Falls – Yellowstone National Park

Driving Directions The Trail: The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is one of the most beautiful places you will ever see. It is very popular and thus, can be very crowded. There are several overlooks and hikes that make exploring the area a lot of fun. You can drive to each spot or use the South, and North Rim Trails to visit each area. Here is a short video of each of the 3 waterfalls. I will start my guide with the Brink of Upper Falls. It is a short 1/8th mile walk to the brink and is an awesome sights. Its crazy how much water comes off the 109 foot falls. From the brink parking lot there is a trail heading north to a 3rd waterfall that very few people even know exists. It is very beautiful and definitely worth a short walk. It is called Crystal Falls and ...
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Mud Volcano - Yellowstone National Park

Mud Volcano – Yellowstone National Park

Trail Map Driving Directions The Trail: Mud Volcano is a great thermal area in Yellowstone that as a kid was my very favorite place to stop. It is located between Canyon, and Fishing Bridge. It is a loop hike just under a mile or a shorter 0.3 mile loop to see just Dragons Mouth, and Mud Volcano. I recommend the longer loop for the great scenery. There is a very large parking area and it can get busy. Start in a counter clockwise direction and you will first come to the Dragons Mouth. The steam coming out of the small cavern makes a sound that sounds like a dragon is breathing. As a kid I loved this place and really believed there was a dragon in there. Next up is the Mud Volcano. Here is the info provided at the volcano. If you look closely you can see the inside ...
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Artist Paintpots - Yellowstone National Park

Artist Paintpots – Yellowstone National Park

Trail Map Driving Directions The Trail: Artist Paint Pots is a good little hike that most anyone can do. It is rarely as crowded as the bigger basins in the park which puts it up several notches in my book. It is located between Madison Junction, and Norris. I have always been fascinated with mud pots and these are no different. The trail starts out going through young conifer trees. Be careful of wildlife as there was a young Bison in the parking lot guarding the outhouse. Do not ever approach these animals. They hurt more people by far than any other in the park, so make sure you keep your selfie stick at a distance from these beautiful animals. The trail opens up with views of the surrounding forested hills. These area was extensively hurt by wildfire which is why all the trees are so young. You will soon ...
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Mammoth Hot Springs - Yellowstone National Park

Mammoth Hot Springs – Yellowstone National Park

Driving Directions The Trail: Mammoth Hot Springs is the name of the city that is the headquarters of Yellowstone. It is very famous as a place to watch Elk who often hang out in town and on the lawns of the houses. There is food, and a very large and famous hotel here. Be sure to check out the museum as well with stuffed animal of the parks wildlife. The crown jewel of the city though, is the hot springs it is named for. There are a couple miles of boardwalk for the self guided tour and a short auto route if you don't want to walk. There are three areas to explore. The lower terrace board walk, the upper terrace boardwalk, and the upper terrace auto tour. As you enter Mammoth its impossible to miss the colored terraces rising over the city. There is an old geyser cone that ...
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Biscuit Basin - Yellowstone National Park

Biscuit Basin – Yellowstone National Park

Trail Map Driving Directions The Trail: Biscuit Basin is a great little spot located between Madison Junction, and Old Faithful. This is a short lollipop loop that is less than one mile round trip and is very family friendly. There is virtually no elevation gain. For such a short hike there are lots of things to see. I think this is one of the more diverse and unique geothermal basins in the park and is usually a little less crowded since most tour buses don't stop here. There are geysers, hot springs, and fumaroles here. The trail starts out by crossing the Firehole River. Here are some of my favorite features that were seen here. Its crazy how much different one pool can be from the next and several seem like things from different planets. Personal Thoughts: For such a short hike this one packs a lot in. I think ...
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Fountain Paint Pots - Yellowstone National Park

Fountain Paint Pots – Yellowstone National Park

Trail Map Driving Directions The Trail: Fountain Paint Pots are a great little loop hike that is very easy and a great choice for families. It is located between Madison Junction, and Old Faithful. The whole hike is on a boardwalk with almost no elevation gain. I think these are the coolest paint pots in Yellowstone. You also get to see several other cool thermal features. There is a large parking area that can fill up quick. Be sure to keep all your kids on the boardwalk. The first feature you will see is called silex spring. Next up are the very pretty Fountain Paint Pots. I love the red and pink hues and mud pots have always fascinated me. Next up is a cool feature called the red spouter. Right by the spouter is Leather Pool. There are several geysers. If you are lucky like us you will get ...
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Wraith Falls - Yellowstone National Park

Wraith Falls – Yellowstone National Park

GPS Coordinates: Wraith Falls Trail Head:44.94230N, 110.62347W Trail Map The Trail: Wraith Falls is a great little trail that is very easy and very family friendly. There is almost no elevation gain and you get to see a unique waterfall.  The trail head is located on the grand loop road between Mammoth Hot Springs, and Tower-Roosevelt. The trail head is marked by a small sign and has a pretty small parking lot that helps keep the crowds down. There are views of open meadows that often have wildlife. This is in the heart of bear country so please be prepared with bear spray and if the trail isn't busy make sure to make a lot of noise. The waterfall is on Lupine Creek and there is one small footbridge so you can cross the creek and stay dry. There are still some boggy areas and your feet could get wet ...
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Uncle Toms Trail - Yellowstone National Park

Uncle Toms Trail – Yellowstone National Park

GPS Coordinates Uncle Tom's Point: 44.715099°, -110.495944° Upper Falls Viewpoint: 44.714730°, -110.497118° Uncle Tom's Trail:  44.716369°, -110.495060° Lower Falls Viewpoint: 44.717522°, -110.494451° Trail Map Driving Directions PLEASE NOTE! Winter visits to the canyon area are only available by guided snow coach, or guided snowmobile trips. Uncle Tom's is closed in the winter and subject to closures in the spring due to ice and snow.  The Trail: The trail starts off at Uncle Tom's Point.  from the parking lot you can either see the Upper Falls Viewpoint, head to Uncle Tom's Trail or do both!  We did both and it only added about 10 extra minutes.  Uncle Tom's Point was the old location of many cabins for visitors until the lodge was built at the Canyon Village nearby. Upper Falls Viewpoint From the parking lot the Upper Falls Viewpoint is about a 2 minute walk.  Just follow the signs and you will be lead straight there. Upper Falls Viewpoint ...
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Tower Falls - Yellowstone National Park

Tower Falls – Yellowstone National Park

Trail Map Driving Directions The Trail: Tower Fall is a great little trail. Its pretty and great for families since it is only a mile round trip. The trail used to be more spectacular and take you to the base of the falls. The trail was washed out a few years back so now the trail only takes you to a viewpoint from above and the switchbacks down to the Yellowstone River. I was fortunate to be able to see the base many times before it was closed. I will add some photos of it because from below it is one of the most beautiful falls you will ever see. The trailhead is very well signed since this is one of the most popular areas in the park. It is located just past tower junction. This area is full of bears. Its rare I visit this area and not see ...
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