Explore the most popular horseback riding trails in Yellowstone National Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

This trail offers great views of wildlife and the Northern part of the Yellowstone River's 20 mile long Grand Canyon. Along the way we saw plenty of bison, marmots and a small herd of bighorn sheep. The parking area (Yellowstone River Picnic Area) is the perfect place to have a picnic after a good hike.

Fairly long hike if going straight to the falls in one go, but shouldn't be too bad as long as you're not carrying too much weight. The meadows section was very muddy, and is a guarantee to get your feet and legs wet if you don't have a good pair of boots. Waterfall at the end is pretty incredible.

Challenging hike, it lives up the rating of hard but had some spectacular falls at the end. Road to the ranger station is bumpy so cars with low clearance be aware. Waited 45 minutes for a ranger to show up, ended up being in his rv next door. Spent an hour in the station doing paperwork and watching a safety video. Finally got on the trail with about 2 hours of sunlight left (don't recommend doing if you dont want to hike through the night). First section of the trail is about 4 miles and goes though woods with a mixture of uphill and downhill, a majority being downhill). Then reached a small bridge that went over a nice looking stream. This then led to the meadow section of the trail, about 3-4 miles of this muddy meadow walking. If the meadows weren't covered in mud this wouldn't of been a bad section of the hike but it was pretty terrible walking through foot sinking mid for 3-4 miles. The last section of the trail goes through woods again, mostly flat with a few uphill sections, also about 3-4 miles. If you are trying to get to the bottom of Dunanda falls you must go through campsite 9A3, if you don't you will wind up at the top of the waterfalls on some narrow trails that can be easy to miss. All in all this would've been a great hike had we not had heavy backpacks and been able to pace ourselves instead of racing daylight.

backpacking
4 months ago

great trail.... away from all of the people in YNP... bring deet if hiking in summer.. tons of mosquitoes and flies.. a little difficult when hitchhiking to the trailhead... I hitched from old faithful to the start of the dirt road... then off and on until I got to the trailhead... I think I spent more time hitchhiking to the trailhead than on the trail! haha .. fun trail.. wide river ford at the beginning..

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!

hiking
4 months ago

I have always come in from Fish Lake. This trail features three river crossings, which for me adds to the fun, and skips the elevation gain of the Grassy Lake trail. About the same total distance. Hardly ever meet anyone on this trail.

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.

hiking
5 months ago

Great hike, came back in the dark, couple creek crossings, one big one . The water at Ouzel Pool was amazing. Heading back before the season ends. Falls was beautiful, the pool was the best.

The scenery is worth every step. We started at Cascade trail instead of Grassy Lake and did the Terrace Falls trail then came back to the trail sign and headed up Union Falls. Terrace Falls followed the river so the scenery was completely different than Union Falls. This made it a total of about 19.5 miles. Bring a swim suit and plan on swimming in the warm spring just a .3 mile detour to the left before Union Falls. At Unions Falls there is a trail that will take you down to the falls so you can get right next to it. Worth every step. 1 major river crossing. Heading back the cold water felt AMAZING on sore muscles. Even though this is not a steep trail plan on it taking you twice as long to get back because it is so long.

hiking
5 months ago

I would rate this trail moderate, not hard as in the description.

Coming from the Ashton side, there's about 25 miles on dirt roads, and it will take some time to get there. About one mile in, you will need to ford the Fall River. Depending on the time of year, the river can be anywhere from knee deep to thigh deep. As far as water crossings go, this one isn't bad at all. Trekking poles help a lot.

Beyond that, the trail is pretty straightforward, kind of rolling up and down the hills. There's generally plenty of shade, and plenty of spots to filter water.

The falls, located about 7.5 miles from the trailhead, are worth the effort. This is the second largest waterfall in Yellowstone, and is named for the two streams that converge at the waterfall.

Expect mosquitoes and horseflies from late June through early September (bring plenty of bug spray). Bear spray is also recommended.

Awesome! The hike back is harder than the hike in. Easily one of my favorite hikes!

The thorofare is one of a kind. The beginning is a mix of burn and alpine forest. This trail isn't necessarily hard, if you pace yourself. It's the distance that can be tough. Know your limits.

We went from the 9 mile trail head to 5E8 campsite in a few hours. Shortly afterwards one member of our four man party came down ill and was sick all night into the morning. So, we turned around and hiked out.

Our original intention was to do the thorofare and south boundary trail but a sick member just couldn't. We will return soon.

Overall, beautiful trail and nature. Highly recommended.

Beware the bears in the thorofare.

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.

This was a decent challenge with beautiful views. It was worth the the trip up. It took us 2 hrs with stops.

6 months ago

Great hike up the mountain

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

backpacking
7 months ago

We spent three days hiking along the Slough Creek Trail, the first to campsite 2S3 about five and a half miles in and then backtracking about a mile for the second night at campsite 2S2. Both had easy-to-access water sources but campsite 2S3 had a particularly impressive view of the plateau/river and I'd definitely recommend staying there. The hike to the farther campsite took a little more than two hours.

The trail is fairly flat (save for the first 1/3 mile, but it's nothing crazy) and well maintained. We saw wildflowers, buffalo, deer and several different types of birds (and some horse and buggy travelers). I thought this was a popular trail but we hardly saw anyone during our three days on Slough Creek. Despite the extreme midday heat in early July and the mosquitoes/flies (plan accordingly and bring DEET), I would definitely recommend this trail for backpackers of all levels.

i hiked the thorofare *not south boundary* trail as the yellowstone and snake rivers were completely uncrossable as of 7/2, due to all the snow most of the northwest received this past winter! so i will only be commenting on an out and back portion of this trail extending from nine mile trailhead to the thorofare ranger station and back again. the thorofare had a number of fords, and there were two fords that were extremely challenging and potentially dangerous due to the timing of my visit (very early) and snow accumulation this past winter - i would not recommend these in the near future for those without trekking poles and fording experience. the first of the two most challenging fords was beaverdam creek, about 17 miles in, just after campsite 5E1, which was my first night stay. I was happy to do this fresh and first thing in the morning, as i scoured the creek in about 100yds both upstream and downstream to find the best place to cross (i'm only 5"4' so this activity encompasses most of my fords haha) think 3 to 3.5 feet, with RAPIDLY, RAPIDLY moving water. the best place i found to cross beaverdam was about 100yds upstream, because the flow of the water was broken up by some land, making the very strong and deep current the smallest fraction in total of the actual ford. the second very challenging ford just before my second campsite, 6D2, mountain creek (maybe ~25 miles in? could be wrong, check with a map). this body of water - same story as the first - equally deep and equally swift currents. the best place to ford was quite a bit upstream - if you look on a map the ford would put you crossing the creek between campsites 6D2 and 6D3 (stock only), and you follow a deer path back downstream (75 or 80 yds) past 6D2 to find the trailhead again on the other side of the creek.

When picking up my backcountry camping passes i visited the canyon backcountry office to make permit accommodations. they were the most thorough and knowledgeable regarding trail, campsite, and river conditions, in my experience). my campsites were as follows:
5E1 - I covered 17 miles on my first day to be fresh for the challenging beaverdam ford on day two. this campsite was completely fine. i arrived here in the early evening, tired enough to fend off some mosquitos while i made dinner, hung my bear bag, and set up camp. you are right closed to the edge of a cliff that you descend to ford the creek, and finding a decent place to set up my 1 person tent was not the most straightforward, but i found a nook in the end. no real spectacular views or experiences to share here, BRING BUG SPRAY. My 30% DEET didn't put a dent in the constant companions i had on this trip!
my second night campsite i chose to stay on the other side of mountain creek, 6D2, as i would only have to travel 8 or 9 miles, set up camp, and complete the rest of the thorofare trail to the ranger station and return to 6D2 that evening with a daypack on me for next 13 miles. this was a nice campsite as mountain creek is right next to you for water stock ups. the following morning i was awoken (sore as all get out, for day two encompassed just over 20 miles 'strolling through the woods') by a couple of deer VERY surprised to see me stumbling/hobbling out of my tent a mere 15 feet from them! and again, the added benefit of this campsite was that the start of my day was challenging, and i was able to get the mountain creek ford out of the way first thing.
my last night on the thorofare was spent lakeside at 5E3 - my favorite site of the trek! i was able to trek a lighter ~12.5 miles and end the day by taking a dip in the lake between dinner and bedtime. let me tell you - it was heavenly relief to the quite stinky and sore individual that i was by this point on the trail. never underestimate the power of an evening duke dip, its a cure-all!
day 4 was just over 13 miles, back to my car at nine mile trailhead where i saw my car and almost started crying as i had been particularly hobble-y with some very sore feet for the last 3 miles of that day.

take aways from the trail: 8-10 miles a day is much more sustainable than 17-20. go with friends to lessen the pack load. BRING BUG SPRAY. LOTS OF IT! A mesh bug head net is a great addition to your pack! iodine tablets suffice for water purification as there is no cryptosporidium in the water along the thorofare. that, a filter or boiling will keep you safe from giardia. be ready for changes in weather at the drop of a hat, meaning bring clothes to cover cloudless, sunny skies to rain and thunderstorms, temperatures ranging from high 40s to low/mid 80s on my trip.

views: the thorofare trail is beautiful. forests, forests of recently burnt trees, to meadows filled with wildflowers and beautiful color and mountain views along yellowstone lake and river. the meadow trails get a bit narrow and were mucky from rain. the more wooded trails are wide, drier, and enjoyable.

wildlife: just before beginning the trek the firs

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