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#15 of 60 national parks in United States of America

Best trails in Yellowstone National Park

16,683 Reviews
Looking for a great trail in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming? AllTrails has 247 great hiking trails, trail running trails, mountain biking trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Ready for some activity? There are 117 moderate trails in Yellowstone National Park ranging from 0.8 to 49.5 miles and from 0 to 10,255 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!
Description

Yellowstone National Park is America's first national park. Its landscape is vast spanning three states: Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. The park is home to a variety of wildlife including grizzly bears, wolves, bison, and elk. Yellowstone is most famous for Old Faithful and a collection of the world's most extraordinary geysers and hot springs. Please note the Yellowstone experiences many closures due to weather. July and August are the only months when all facilities, roads, and services are open. All other months portions of the park are closed. Once roads open for the summer season, they are not gated at night and people may enter/exit the park 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Visitors entering Yellowstone's South Entrance will be traveling through Grand Teton National Park first; separate entrance fees are charged or Annual Passes may be used at both parks. Seven-day Passes Good for entry into Yellowstone National Park for seven days from the date of purchase. Private, non-commercial vehicle: $35 Motorcycle or snowmobile: $30 Individual (by foot, bicycle, ski, etc.): $20/person Annual Pass Annual pass providing free entrance into Yellowstone National Park for one year (valid through the month of purchase). On a snowmobile, this pass admits the signer(s). When traveling by snowcoach or shuttle, this pass admits a signer and up to three additional persons (16 and older) for a total of four people. Yellowstone National Park Annual Pass: $70.00 Accessibility: The Interagency Access Pass for free or discounted admission for US Citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities is accepted here. There is wheelchair accessible parking in all of the major areas and some of the overlooks, picnic areas, and exhibits. Accessible bathrooms are located at every major areas except for at West Thumb. Assisted listening devices and manual wheelchairs are available for loan at the nine visitor centers. Trail maps and information guides are available in large-print text and braille formats. Films at three of the visitor centers have closed-captioning but not all. Sign language interpreters are available for ranger-led programs but three-weeks notice is required (call 307-344-2386). Wheelchairs may also be available for loan at the medical centers and lodges for those currently staying there. There are accessible dining rooms and fast food restaurants. Some picnic areas are accessible. Lodges are accessible in all of the park. All campgrounds have at least one accessible camping site execpt for at Fishing Bridge RV Park. There are three medical centers which are accessible. There is an accessible fishing site on the Madison River. There are accessible boating facilities at Bridge Bay Marina and Grant Village. Service animals must be on-leash at all times. Additional accessibility information can be found here: https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/accessibility.htm

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Map of trails in Yellowstone National Park
Park information
Acreage:
2,219,790 acres
Contact
307-344-7381
Top trails (247)
#1 - Grand Prismatic Hot Spring
Yellowstone National Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(1177)
Length: 1.6 mi • Est. 47 m
Come see the surreal colors of the Grand Prismatic Hot Spring! This trail takes you almost entirely on a boardwalk overlooking the striking hot springs. The extremely hot water teems with microscopic life, giving it the incredible colors. Please be careful with children as some of the boardwalk has no railing. This trail is one of the most popular places in the park, so weekdays and early mornings are your best chance to find some solitude.Show more
#2 - Mystic Falls, Fairy Creek and Little Firehole Loop
Yellowstone National Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(549)
Length: 3.5 mi • Est. 1 h 49 m
Please refer to the park page for updates. You can instead do a short walk around Biscuit Basin. Gorgeous waterfall views rewards you after a tough hike up to the overlook, bring your water. This trail is much quieter, which is great for those avoiding the tourist throng in Biscuit Basin. Definitely take the whole loop around for the best views!Show more
#3 - Upper Geyser Basin and Old Faithful Observation Point Loop
Yellowstone National Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(554)
Length: 4.5 mi • Est. 1 h 58 m
A must-do on all outdoor enthusiasts lists, the Yellowstone Geysers are a treat to see. Though kid friendly, please remember that geysers can be dangerous. Accessibility: The trail surface is a boardwalk and it is mostly flat with an estimated average grade of 1%. It is typically at least three feet wide. The steepest section is the last portion of the Observation Point Loop which as over a 12% grade for about a tenth of a mile, but this can be avoided by bearing left at the fork in the trail at about 0.3 miles instead of going right to go on the Observation Point Loop. This intersection is marked with a waypoint on the map. Show more
#4 - West Thumb Geyser Basin Trail
Yellowstone National Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(464)
Length: 1 mi • Est. 27 m
West Thumb is a caldera within a larger caldera. Active hydrothermal features exist on the lake bottom here and elsewhere in the lake. West Thumb Geyser Basin overlooks Yellowstone Lake, the largest lake at high elevation in North America. You can best appreciate its vastness in winter when the frozen surface extends as a white sheet for miles. Summer is the season to appreciate the lake's many moods. Here you can enjoy its calm, quiet mornings or witness the wind-whipped whitecaps of afternoon storms. After storms, look for rainbows arching into the wilderness beyond, a land nearly as wild as when Native Americans and explorers experienced it centuries ago. The surface of the lake hints of what exists below. Surveys of the lake bottom in the 1990s documented hot springs and hydrothermal vents just offshore in West Thumb. Look closely-you may see their swirling patterns in the water. Framed on the east by the Absaroka Range, the lake may be thought of as the heart of Yellowstone. Its waters are the lifeblood for a large network of plant and animal communities. Trumpeter swans and moose thrive on the aquatic growth in shallow waters along the shore. Trout are drawn to zooplankton living in these waters. Cutthroat trout are food for pelicans, otters, eagles, black and grizzly bears, and other wild life. Unfortunately, this population of cutthroat trout is now threatened by non-native lake trout. As you walk among the basin's superheated waters, you may wonder if the lake is warmer here than elsewhere. After all, the geyser basin pours an average of 3,100 gallons (11,733 liters) of hot water into the lake every day. But even here, the lake's average summer temperature is 45ºF (7ºC). The large circular bay of West Thumb is an excellent example of a volcanic caldera. A powerful volcanic explosion approximately 174,000 years ago caused the earth's crust to collapse, creating the West Thumb caldera. The depression produced by the volcano later filled with water to become this large bay of Yellowstone Lake. The West Thumb caldera lies within an even greater caldera, the Yellowstone Caldera, which is one of the world's largest and encompasses the central and southern portions of the park. Much of your visit in Yellowstone may be spent within the boundaries of this huge caldera. This larger caldera, and the lava that eventually filled it, shaped much of the present Yellowstone landscape. It resulted from a massive eruption roughly 640,000 years ago. Since that time, numerous lava flows have filled the caldera. People have long been drawn to West Thumb. Native Americans favored campsites in this area as they hunted bison in the summer. The Crow people gathered medicinal herbs here. Shoshone and Bannock peoples have stories about the formation of the lake. Early scientific expeditions, which corroborated the tales of colorful hot springs mentioned by mountain men, rested here. Visitors in the late 1890s and early 1900s appreciated a refreshing boat ride to Lake Yellowstone Hotel after several dusty days on rutted roads. The rustic log cabin near the parking lot was the original West Thumb Ranger Station built in 1925; it is one of the few such stations remaining. Now it serves as a summer visitor information station and a winter warming hut. The colors you see in the pools of West Thumb are created, in part, by thermophiles (heat-loving microorganisms). Generally, green and brown indicate organisms living in cooler water, orange and yellow indicate those living in hotter water. Only a few microorganisms thrive in the springs where the temperature is close to boiling, so you see the clear, blue water. In these hot springs, the water absorbs all wavelengths of light except blue, which the pool reflects.Show more
#5 - Mammoth Hot Springs Area Trail
Yellowstone National Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(616)
Length: 3.5 mi • Est. 1 h 47 m
Mammoth Hot Springs is a large hot spring complex on a hillside of travertine terraces in Yellowstone National Park. Limestone is the dominant underlying rock in place of rhyolite, which dominates in the other large hydrothermal zones of the park. This region is one of the world's best examples of hot travertine deposits. It is also one of the most dynamic hydrothermal zones in the park: its characteristics are constantly changing. Inactive terraces underlie most of this area, including the hotel and the Albright Visitor Center. The maximum water temperature is 163 ° F / 73 ° C. For hundreds of years, residents of Shoshone and Bannock have collected minerals from the Mammoth hot spring for white paint. These minerals contribute to the beautiful structures of the terrace, as well as to the heat, a system of "plumbing" natural water and limestone. The volcanic heat source for the Mammoth Hot Springs remains a mystery. Scientists have proposed a number of sources, including the large magma chamber underlying the Yellowstone Caldera, or perhaps a smaller heat source closer to Mammoth. In Mammoth, a network of fractures and cracks forms the plumbing system that allows underground hot water to reach the surface. The water comes from the rain and snow that falls on the surrounding mountains and seeps deep into the earth where it is heated. Small earthquakes can keep the plumbing open. Limestone, deposited here millions of years ago when a vast sea covered this region, provides the final ingredient. Hot water with dissolved carbon dioxide prepares a weak carbonic acid solution. When the solution rises through the rock, it dissolves the calcium carbonate, the main compound of the limestone. On the surface, the calcium carbonate is deposited in the form of travertine, the rock that forms the terraces of the Mammoth Hot Springs. Primary Colors: Thermophiles (heat-loving micro-organisms) create tapestries of color where hot water circulates between terraces. Colorless and yellow thermophiles develop in the warmest waters; Thermophiles orange, brown and green grow in colder waters. The colors also change with the seasons. Living Sculpture: These terraces are like living sculptures, shaped by the volume of water, the slope of the ground and the objects on the way to the water. They change constantly and sometimes overnight, but the overall activity of the whole area and the volume of water discharges remain relatively constant. Here, like in other places on the planet, the rock is formed before your eyes. Lower Terraces: You can access these terraces from the sidewalks at their base or from Upper Terrace Drive. Some sections of the sidewalk are wheelchair accessible; the rest of the area has steep stairs or slopes due to the terrain. Upper Terrace Drive: The entrance to Upper Terrace Drive is 2 miles south of the Albright Visitors Center on the Grand Loop Road. This one-way scenic drive winds for 2.4 km through hot springs and travertine formations. Caravans, buses and motorhomes are prohibited on the driveway due to the limited number of parking spaces and a narrow, winding roadway. Park these vehicles on the lot near the Grand Loop road, then enjoy the upper terraces on foot. Please stay on the road and sidewalks.Show more
#6 - Fairy Falls
Yellowstone National Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(299)
Length: 4.9 mi • Est. 2 h 7 m
#7 - Midway Geyser Basin Trail
Yellowstone National Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(399)
Length: 0.8 mi • Est. 22 m
This basin is home to two of the largest geothermal features in Yellowstone: Grand Prismatic Spring & Exelsior Geyser. Midway Geyser Basin is much smaller than the other basins found alongside the Firehole River. Despite its small size, it contains two large features: the 200-by-300-foot-wide Excelsior Geyser which pours over 4,000 gallons per minute into the Firehole River and the 370-foot-wide and 121-foot-deep Grand Prismatic Spring, which is the largest hot spring in Yellowstone. Midway Geyser Basin is located about half-way between the Madison and Old Faithful regions of Yellowstone National Park. From the parking lot, take the trail south and cross the Firehole River. You will see several streams of steaming water pouring from the terrace above into the Firehole River. Show more
#8 - Avalanche Peak Trail
Yellowstone National Park
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(340)
Length: 4.7 mi • Est. 3 h 18 m
This is a fun climb up a tall peak as you enter the park from the east. A short, often windy, hike up a nearby peak as you enter Yellowstone National Park from the east (Cody, WY). You'll pass through beautiful forests with meadows of wildflowers and end up on a windy barren peak with views over Yellowstone below.Show more
#9 - Canyon Rim North Trail to Inspiration Point
Yellowstone National Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray Star(184)
Length: 7.9 mi • Est. 3 h 57 m
Note: As of July 2020, the trail is closed at Crystal Falls due to restoration and construction work. Please check with the park page for more information.Show more
#10 - Artist Point
Yellowstone National Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(347)
Length: 0.2 mi • Est. 6 m
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