Dunraven Pass to Mt. Washburn Trail

HARD 18 reviews
#12 of 168 trails in

Dunraven Pass to Mt. Washburn Trail is a 7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Yellowstone National Park, WY that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from May until September.

7.0 miles 1486 feet Out & Back

backpacking

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

A wonderful climb in Yellowstone with views of neighboring mountains and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. This is a fairly easy hike up a beautiful mountain in Yellowstone with terrific views all the way to the Tetons from the historic firetower on top. Keep an eye out for mountain goats and other animals.

hiking
2 months ago

This was a memorable hike for several reasons.

First, the hike to the fire lookout at the top of Mount Washburn is long and tiring, but the views from the summit are truly spectacular! We were able to see wildfires burning both to the north and to the south. And the view of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone from the summit provides a unique perspective of just how vast that canyon is. You’ll enjoy watching the lookout tower grow from a tiny speck on the mountaintop as you work your way up the trail. (From what we could tell, the Chittenden Road route wouldn’t be nearly as scenic.) But the views from the summit are by no means the only great ones – there are outstanding views all along the way, especially at the several switchbacks. The trail is plenty wide (it’s an old road), but it’s pretty rocky in a number of spots.

Second, my wife and I encountered a black bear on our way up the trail! He came out onto the trail from the woods, gave a casual look in our direction, then headed on up the trail the other way, stopping near the next-to-last switchback. Two other groups of hikers soon joined us (13 of us in all), and we all stood there watching and taking pictures while the bear rooted around the base of several trees and some rocks looking for his breakfast – he didn’t seem to have the slightest interest in us. (Guess that means we were maintaining a respectable distance.) Since he was right on the trail and didn’t seem inclined to move along, we all opted to scramble up the steep hillside and pick up the trail on the other side of the switchback. Interestingly, at no time during this encounter did my wife or I ever feel like we might need to use the bear spray strapped to our waists. (The next morning we briefly saw a considerably larger black bear being shooed away by a park ranger at the Dunraven Pass parking lot as gawking tourists watched and took pictures.)

Finally, my wife had suffered a broken ankle hiking down the back side of Bunsen Peak last year, so her successful descent of Mount Washburn on this year’s trip was a moral victory.

Take plenty of water and energy snacks (we saw some folks enjoying a beer at the summit!), and wear sunscreen since much of the trail is in direct sunlight. Make sure your timetable includes ample time to rest at the summit and enjoy the amazing views – you wouldn’t want to make it to the top only to turn right around and head back down. And definitely be sure you’re carrying bear spray!

hiking
3 months ago

Nice day for a hike. Well graded path up. Really a rather easy hike. Very windy at top but nice that you can go in the fire tower at top. There are bathrooms at top too!? Didn't see any animals other than chipmunks and Clarks Nutcracker birds. Good day.

3 months ago

Great views and good workout. No wildlife though

4 months ago

This is more of a moderate/medium hike. Wide, manicured trails. Beautiful views!

hiking
4 months ago

Not sure how this is labeled as a 4-5 hour difficult trail...maybe with little kids? It took me just over an hour up and just under an hour down with 30 minutes at the top, making car to car time almost exactly 2.5 hours. The grade is so mild that I never really had to stop to catch my breath. The views over the entire park are great, and you can see all the way to the Tetons 75 miles away. Wildflowers during the first mile are really gorgeous! Crazy winds at the top, though. Parking gets really full midday and I ended up parking at the Dunraven pass pullout 1/4 mile away.

4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

Great trip for any one that want to claim they climbed a mountain. Great views at top and very manageable.

4 months ago

Awesome view after doing the Lamar valley.

4 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful, windy at the top. Nice grade of hiking with a wide path. Saw a mountain goat and three marmots near the top, which was super cool.

5 months ago

simply amazing trail, challenged me, bring dry cloths to change into, I really worked a sweat.

6 months ago

I enjoyed the hike and the view at the top is great, but not sure the effort to reward ratio was worth it. Am going back to Yellowstone but will skip this hike whereas others we liked better we will repeat (eg, Clear Lake trail)

hiking
1 year ago

The views from this trail were amazing at every turn. (Dunraven Pass) The entire trail is uphill to the weather station but the nice thing is that it's downhill the whole way back. Very wide and plenty of room. It took us about 3 1/2 hours to do and we stopped for many photos. The top is so windy, that you really don't want to go near the edge without hanging onto something. We went when it seemed it wasn't windy until we reached the peak.

hiking
1 year ago

hiking
1 year ago

This is a great hike if you want a amazing view at the end. On a good day you can see the Tetons.
The Dunraven trail up is a little easier (too Me) and on a hot day, the shade of the trees is nice. The trail is packed in the summer time and in the spring its snowed in. The best time is the fall. This trail I try to do every summer. I have ran into a grizzle on this trail but it was close to dark and there was only two other groups on the mountain at the time. Most of the time I just run into sheep. Oh and this is one of the only mountain tops that have a payphone and bathrooms!

hiking
2 years ago

Spectacular views of almost all of Yellowstone on the route from Dunraven Pass. The trail is an old service road that ascends the south side of the mountain as you climb. It winds through alpine meadows and forests as you climb. The view from the top is amazing! If you're in Yellowstone you must make the trip!

hiking
3 years ago

August 2011. A pleasant trail in Yellowstone National Park, especially in the summer months when there are plentiful wildflower meadows, and a good chance of a grizzly bear sighting (I saw one, thankfully across the ravine). Of all the hikes I did in Yellowstone, this was my favorite.

With changeable weather, however, it was prudent of me to bring a thick, waterproof jacket, which I wore most of the way in the drizzling rain and cool winds that August afternoon brought me. As a tip, I recommend summer morning hikes in Yellowstone, when the weather seems more predictably sunny and clear.

The trail itself is moderate to strenuous, with multiple switchbacks and a chance of stumbling on the loose rocks. The last stretch up the bald face of the mountain to the lookout was the most grueling but also offered views of the valley and chance encounters with rock rabbits. It is by no means impossible however, just a little straining on your thighs. You'll want to take breaks.

The sheltered fire tower at the top will offer guests a reprieve from the cold air, where you can sign the guest book and see artwork by (visiting students?). Nice place for a photo!

One disadvantage was that I was hiking alone. Despite the thousands of people in Yellowstone Park that week, I only encountered about five people on this trail. I was wearing a bear bell, but that didn't dissuade me from being nervous about startling a grizzly bear; I had already seen one less than a mile from me on this mountain. Just as in the rest of the park, there is no cell phone reception here. As a result, I strongly recommend a bear bell, bear spray, and - ideally - hiking with someone else on this remote trail. Bears have killed people in this park, so it doesn't hurt to be extra safe if you like solo hiking like I do.

hiking
3 years ago

This almost 1400 foot vertical climb took our family about five hours, stopping for lunch and hanging around for a while at the top. My GPS tracked this as 7.8 miles, not the 6 miles reported. The views are spectacular at the top and along the way. It was 65 degrees at the trail head and we caught a few snow flurries as we left the peak and headed back down - in mid-June.. Take layers. We shared the trail with a couple of coyotes, saw a few marmots, but nothing else of interest. Our boys, 10 and 12, enjoyed playing on the snowbanks that we had to hike across. This is a great way to get panoramic views of Yellowstone.