Explore Yellowstone 17 - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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on Mallard Lake Trail

6 months ago

Beautiful hike with a beautiful lunch spot at the end. A moderate trail with a steady climb essentially all the way up, which just made for a great decent back down. We saw lots of signs of wildlife, but didn’t see any while we were there. We had the entire trail to ourselves and that was perfect.

Stunning hike through a combination of different landscapes. Not too difficult but it was long, kid friendly as long as they are used to being outdoors. Saw wolves but no bears. Other hikers said they saw a bear though.

Absolutely stunning hike with gorgeous panoramic views of the mountains. The incline is pretty gradual, and there is a great chance of viewing wildlife, especially elk in this area. The beaver ponds are excellent for photography with the mountains reflecting in them. This is one of our favorite shorter Yellowstone hikes!

An enjoyable hike that helped get me acclimated to the higher altitude. Great scenery and relatively easy hike.

My husband and I went on this trail on the last day of August 2017. We had a great time. We found it challenging but not too difficult. We are from sea level so some trails proved a little more difficult for us. From the trail we saw a hawk, one snake, some ruffed grouse, elk hanging out by mammoth hotel and two beautiful mule deer. This trail does a great job of taking you away from crowds. One of our favorites from the trip.

Nothing special but nice wildlife (sandhill cranes with chick, some elk, blue winged teals and a family of Cooper's hawk). The pond itself is much smaller and less impressive then it looks on the pictures.

Be aware of elk that you see in the sage, we saw a female standing 2 meters of the trail, as we saw later, her calf was hidden in the sage and if we wouldn't avoid it, she could charge.

Waste of time. Trying to figure how this trail received so many positive reviews.

hiking
9 months ago

Very nice trail. It has various areas of terrain but nice. I enjoyed the serenity of the lake as well.

We left one car at Mammoth visitors center and drove the other to the trailhead. This was a great trail with amazing views. It dips down by the Uline Falls close to the top and then you essentially walk downhill all the way to the Gardener river where you cross on an extension bridge. This is where most would turn back but if you are going one way only, note that you need to walk around the construction area and through the Mammoth Campground.

hiking
10 months ago

Nice trail. Pretty lake. Windflowers and streams not to mention some views too. Got to hike through a bit of snow as well which was fun. Didn't see a single person the whole time, which is funny considering its next to old faithful.

hiking
10 months ago

Those two rather large snakes were still there today, in the middle of the trail. The hike itself is beautiful, rolling over meadows filled with wildflowers. Saw a few elk but that was it. Trail is easy to moderate in difficulty. Saw families with younger children.

We were pressed for time so only did a portion of this hike starting from near mammoth hot springs. Within 20 minutes we passed two snakes at different areas near the trail - both about 5ft long.

Great hike to see wildlife in the Mamoth area. we started the hike on the hot springs terrace side. The first two miles are covered so watch out for bears. Two groups ahead of us spotted a black bear but we didn't see it. Lot of wildlife sighting including a fox, deer, a lost deer calf :( and plenty of birds (geese, ducks, crows, osprey, robins and woodpeckers). No beavers though. Definetely worth the 2h.

11 months ago

Easy. We thought it was neat how the trail goes through multiple climate zones (thick trees, valleys, open plains). Walked through a herd of elk.

This trail was very nice. Even though we were quite early in the season, it was basically free of snow. We also saw tons of wildlife along the trail...elks, a moose, a beaver, and other animals.

Awesome! Just watch for the bears hanging around the terrace side of the trail!

Great easy trail with a little bit of everything.

hiking
Monday, January 30, 2017

We made this into a loop hike with Imperial Meadows & Fountain Flat Drive. If I figured it out right, that makes 7.8 miles. Parking at the trailhead looks generous, but in the afternoon, might be kind of tight.
This is a good hike for kids. The trail is flat, with no elevation gain. There were bison around, but in the distance. The view of Queen's Laundry is tough with all the steam. If you want, you can take a 0.1 mile stroll to get a closer look.
This is a nice afternoon hike, after the craziness of Old Faithful. We saw maybe 5 people on the trail, not including 2 bikes on Fountain Flat Drive. We also saw a coyote while on the trail.

backpacking
Friday, September 23, 2016

Pros: moderately strenuous, great views
Cons: can hear the road noise, over used, trash in campsites, low lake level

Thursday, September 15, 2016

It's fairly steep the first mile (taking the loop clockwise) but after that it's easy. I had 4g up there so I could tell right where I was on the trail which was pretty cool.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Saw a mule deer at the top towards the lake area

hiking
Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Made the loop, deer and bear present

hiking
Monday, July 25, 2016

Beautiful loop trail. Saw lots of wildlife including bear, and elk.

hiking
Sunday, July 17, 2016

First a warning about this beautiful trail. At the last quarter mile if hiking the loop counter clockwise, there is NO SIGN OR MARKER for a u-turn or switchback going down to reach the end. Instead, the trail continues straight and dead ends at a ridge or hill, looking down at Manmoth hotel. To make matters more confusing, there is a faded trail 30 feet back that goes up a hill and leads nowhere. DONT GO THAT WAY. We got caught in a rain storm and lost the trail up there and had trouble finding our way back. We could have died as we were unprepared for the weather (our fault) and it was dark. We had symptoms of hypothermia and briefly panicked. This faded false trail was a major cause (as well as no marker sign) and is no doubt created by other lost hikers who miss the unmarked switchback and wander up the hill looking for the actual trail. Watch for this fork and if you miss it, retrace to find it. Otherwise it was a beautiful day beforehand and the hike and ponds were just beautiful. When you reach the large pond or lake you'll know it because it's stunningly beautiful. The lush forest surrounding it create an awesome green reflection and you engulfed in a spectacular emerald bowl. And a great viewpoint from the little log bridge. Sit there for a while and soak it in. I would hike this trip again in a minute now that I know the trail. Also, it may seem or actually be longer than 5.6 miles so start early.

hiking
Saturday, February 06, 2016

A lesser-traveled trail in Yellowstone National Park that has its trailheads in the Mammoth Hot Springs area. It features opportunities to see wildlife (beaver, waterfowl, deer, elk, and even the occasional moose). It offers views of the eponymous beaver ponds as well as views of the hot springs. Only saw one other group on the trail, so this is a good opportunity to escape the crowds.

hiking
Sunday, October 11, 2015

This loop trail has two entry points. One is located at the base of Mammoth Hot Springs, within sight of the Devil's Thumb and Liberty Cap. The other is at the base of the old Yellowstone road to Gardiner (a one-way dirt road you can take from Mammoth to Gardiner). There is plenty of wildlife along the trail. We say deer and elk, and we saw MANY animal tracks and game trails.

hiking
Friday, August 07, 2015

A great easy 1:45 minute hike taken in the snows of early April.

Leaving from Mammoth Campground around 2:30 PM, we walked down the hillside, crossed North Entrance road (Highway 89), to make our way to the Lava Creek trailhead. We made our descent down towards the Gardner River.

The trail is not always well marked, so we built a few trail cairns from rocks as we went along in order to mark the way back. It helps to have a good map, and be fairly good at orienteering.

Parts of the trail were in rather poor condition. A heavy rain that had created mud, and then was heavily traveled, not by humans but by the wildlife in the area. We rarely saw a human footprint, so if you would like a lightly human-traveled trail, this is the one. We did not see another person on the trail.

The trail needed some maintenance to be called easy. I would place it at moderate with the conditions we traveled. We did not bring our hiking poles thinking that it would be easier than it was. My suggestion would be to bring a hiking pole for at least the comfort of having it along if needed.

The trail is heavily traveled by unseen wildlife. We saw evidence of a large kill such as elk or bison (vertebrae) by the side of the trail. (See photo.)

The trail was churned up from wildlife use after bad rain and in some places could be an ankle twister if not careful. On our return, the rain started but it was mostly a soft misty rain.

My favorite parts of the hike were the suspension bridge and seeing Undine Falls. My boyfriend's favorite parts of the hike were also the suspension bridge and the elk that we saw on the hike back to the campground. We did a lot of singing on the trail (bear deterrent) and the elk were very curious about us. They just looked though, and didn't move towards us.

NOTE: Great views of Gardiner River and Undine Falls. On the return, a good far off view of Mammoth.

We got back to camp with a bit of cushion before dark; probably around 7 PM. The churned up trail made our hike longer than the 3 hours indicated.

hiking
Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Great hike. Fairly short, but rewarding. It's a loop so you don't have to see the same stuff twice. Ask anybody you see coming the other way if they saw any wildlife. We did that and it lead to a black bear sighting. A passer by told us a specific location to look over a ridge on the side of the trail and sure enough, there was a black bear relaxing on the hillside over the ridge when we got there about an hour after he told us about it. We never would have seen it if we did not ask because it was out of view from the trail. We also saw several elk and some interesting birds.

hiking
Thursday, November 20, 2014

Easy, scenic hike - lots of wildflowers in late spring/early summer. Not much wildlife, but that's okay as hikers are warned grizzlies are common in the area. Nice hike to acclimate to elevation and get the legs working.

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