Top 6 places to go hiking in Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is situated atop a volcanic hotspot and is popular for its magical hydrothermal wonders. It is a wildlife sanctuary and also a very popular hiking destination with trails of varying levels of difficulty. One interesting fact is that Yellowstone was the first national park of America!

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular hiking destinations in the Yellowstone National Park.

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
The Uncle Tom’s Trail spans only a 1-mile round trip but the not-so-easy hike along the southern rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. As you start the hike, you will have to descend 328 stairs that lead you to jaw-dropping views of the Upper and lower falls of the National park.

The descent is steep and might be a little difficult at the beginning. As you get down, you get a view of the Grand canyons initially and then as you reach the end of the descend you find yourself amidst rainbows and misty clouds. You can enjoy and bask in the beauty of the waterfalls for a while, enjoy a picnic meal and then hike back your way up the stairs.

The trail gets its name from a Montana resident Tom, who created the trail.

Distance: 1 mile

Difficulty level: Medium

Trail: Uncle Tom’s Trail

Average time for the hike: 1-2 hours

West Thumb Geyser Basin

West Thumb Geyser Basin

One of the easiest hikes of the national parks, the West Thumb Geyser Basin is a boardwalk hike alongside the shores of Yellowstone Lake. One interesting fact about the hike is that it is wheelchair accessible, though, at some points of ascending, a bit of help might be needed. At the end of the fairly easy hike, you get amazing views of the geyser basin hot springs which are quite a sight to watch.

Distance: 0.6 miles

Difficulty level: Easy

Trail: Uncle Tom’s Trail

Average time for the hike: 30-45 minutes

Grand Prismatic Spring

Fairy Falls Trail

The trail begins at the Fairy Falls Trailhead, situated at a few miles from the north of Old Faithful. You pass through the Firehole River through the pine forests, onwards to the Midway Geyser Basin with exotic views of the hot springs all through the way. The most popular one is the Grand Prismatic Spring, that you get to see shortly after the start of the hike.

The Grand Prismatic Spring offers stunning views of the turquoise blue water and the orange-yellow landscapes. It is definitely something that is bound to leave you in awe.

As you trek further through the pine forest and the meadows, you reach the 200-foot Fairy fall which is very beautiful.

The trail is packed, well marked and easy making it easy for hikers.

Distance: 5 miles

Difficulty level: Easy

Trail: Fairy Falls Trail

Average time for the hike: 3-4 hours

Mount Washburn

Mount Washburn Trail

Mount Washburn is a popular hiking destination in Yellowstone National Park for mountain lovers. This trail is for the experienced hikers and not the one for beginners.

You can hike this up from either the Chittenden Road trailhead ( 5.4 miles round trip ) or from the Dunraven Pass parking lot ( 6.8 miles round trip ), that is present north of the Canyon Village. All through the way up to the summit, you get to enjoy incredible views of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Yellowstone Lake and the Hayden Valley.

The most preferred time for the hike is in July when the flowers bloom at their fullest.

Distance: 6.8 miles

Difficulty level: Expert

Trail: Mount Washburn trail

Average time for the hike: 3-6 hours

Slough Creek

Slough Creek

If you love camping, Slough Creek trail is the one for you. The first mile is an ascent but after that, you mostly walk through meadows. All through the way, you are treated with picturesque landscapes, tall trees, snow-capped mountains and campsites. You also have fishing options along the creek, if you are interested.

There is a campground adjacent to the trailhead that has 16 tents. If you are looking at tents for the camp, check out these tents we have used and found to be the best till now. Though for camping overnight, you need backcountry permits.

Distance: 3.4-8.6 miles

Difficulty level: Easy to Moderate

Trail: Slough Creek trail

Average time for the hike: 3-5 hours

Bunsen Peak Trail

Bunsen Peak Trail

The trailhead is situated 4.8 miles south to the Mammoth hot springs. Hiking to the peak gives you panoramic views of the Mammoth Hot Springs to the north, along with Gardners Hole, Swan Lake and the Gallatin Range ( Bunsen peak is the tallest peak in the range ).

It is an easy and fun hike that you could start on early mornings or late afternoons. Some of the nearby camping spots are the Mammoth Campground and the Indian Creek Campground.

Distance: 4.7 miles

Difficulty level: Easy to Moderate

Trail: Bunsen Peak Trail

Average time for the hike: 2-3 hours

So, that’s it guys! Let me know if you have experienced any of these trails in the Yellowstone National Park. I would love to hear them 🙂 If you are planning a hike, check out these tips on Bear Safety in the Yellowstone National Park. Have fun and adventure safely!

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Founder of Turn It To Trvl. After being made redundant from my digital marketing job, in the UK, I decided I no longer wanted to work the traditional 9-5. I found a volunteer opportunity in Malawi in 2015 and am now freelancing from the warm heart of Africa. Curently building a portfolio of clients and trying to inspire more people to live a life of travel.
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