Clear Lake Artist's Point Loop Trail

EASY 51 reviews
#21 of 206 trails in

Clear Lake Artist's Point Loop Trail is a 3.8 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October.

DISTANCE
3.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
406 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

kid friendly

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

lake

hot springs

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

muddy

no dogs

hiking
11 days ago

The part of the trail that goes by Uncle Tom’s trail is closed right now. So parking is tricky and you’ll have to either turn and go back instead of looping or walk down the road instead.

hiking
1 month ago

Great short, all around hike that includes so much of Yellowstone scenery. Only down side was construction on the trail so had to change course a bit and hike on road to pick up the trail again. Otherwise super hike for all abilities.

1 month ago

I merged this trail with point sublime, and view into Hayden Valley and doubled back instead of doing the loop to get full experience - nice walk and suprisingly quiet given the number of people at artist point.

hiking
1 month ago

I did a modified version of this trail because of construction. The South Rim portion of the trail and the parking lot near Uncle Tom's were still closed as of 7/1.

I started at Artist's Point and continued on the Point Sublime trail to the end. On the way back, I went past Lilly Pad Lake and continued on to Clear Lake, then turned around. Overall this worked out to be about 5 miles and 600 ft of elevation climb. I'd highly recommend this option while there's still construction. You get awesome views of the canyon and get to see lots of different features and terrains on an easy and secluded hike.

The parking lot is incredibly busy because of Artist's Point, but there's high turnover since most people just go to the point and then leave. If you can brave the crowds for those view minutes between the parking lot and the point, you'll be rewarded with secluded hiking from there onward. I saw a total of 10 people or so, all on the Point Sublime portion of the trail. The views of the canyon are absolutely breathtaking, probably my favorite part of the park that I saw. There are lots of rocky outcrops where you can get different views as you walk along the canyon. This part of the trail has some elevation climb and is steep in a few parts, but pretty easy. There are some lots to climb over and roots on the trail which keep it interesting. If you decide to continue to Point Sublime, note that the views at the Point itself are not great. However, the views all along are pretty spectacular and it's only 0.5 miles past the fork going to Clear Lake, so I'd still recommend it if you have the time.

The trail going to Clear Lake is a hidden gem. Lilly Pad lake is fine, but if you go past it you'll see really interesting terrain. The best way I could describe it would be a "forest desert." I think it must be wildfire-damaged area, as there are lots of dead trees there but you're otherwise surrounded by forest. This part of the trail is mostly flat. You pass by some sulfur pools and bubbling mud pits, plus a few small hot springs. The whole area is eerily beautiful and an interesting change of pace from the forest along the canyon. Clear Lake itself is also beautiful, but I'd say it was the least exciting part as I hiked along many other lakes on my trip. I walked to the lake and then turned around, so I can't speak to the part of the trail past it back towards the road.

I'd highly recommend this hike for an interesting, secluded hike with lots of different scenery. You'll have to brave the crowds in the parking lot, but it's well worth it. I did this hike in the afternoon and Artist's Point had emptied out by the time I finished (around 5 PM) so I got some additional photos without the crowds at the end.

1 month ago

We started at the Wapiti TH and hiked to Clear Lake, then through the geothermal area, then up to Ribbon lake where we found a good spot to eat lunch. We hiked back the same way. Great trail through, forest, geothermal areas, meadows and beautiful lakes. It really lets you take in some of the varied terrains that YSNP has to offer without the crowds. Very quite, the bubbling of the mud pots and the calls of nearby elk were all we heard.

hiking
10 months ago

We started the trail from Wapiti Lake Trail head since the parking lot and part of the trail near Henry’s Trail is closed for renovations. It’s was an easy hike to Clear Lake which was stunningly beautiful, definitely worth seeing. You can continue to Lilly Pad Lake and or Ribbon Lake but the scenery wasn’t as nice past Clear Lake. We ended up turning around before Lilly Pad Lake.

hiking
10 months ago

Great hike, great views all the way to the top where Artist Point is. There were even artists painting up at the top. Our original plan was to take the Canyon Rim North Trail to Inspiration Point but that trail was closed. This trail had the opposite point of view from inspiration point, you could see inspiration point on the other side! Very happy we chose to do this hike since we couldn’t do the other. Don’t miss out on this hike! Highly recommended.

hiking
11 months ago

Like another reviewer mentioned, this trail covers pretty much all of the features Yellowstone is famous for in this relatively short and easy hike. We saw lakes, meadows, forest, geothermal activity, and stunning views of the canyon all within less than 4 miles. Would highly recommend!

hiking
Sunday, August 13, 2017

Nice short trail that gives you views of the canyon and a small lake to relax at. There is also some geothermal activity along the trail that you can view up close. Not a must do trail in Yellowstone but certainly not disappointing.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

We hiked the clear lake trail to sublime point, then to artist point. Clear lake is a wonderful trail. I didn't know what to expect, but was wowed by it. The trail covers almost every geological feature that makes Yellowstone so special. The trail encompasses beautiful flowered meadows, scenic vistas, colorful lakes at clear lake and lily pad lake, and then hydrothermal features. The trail then leads to the south rim with incredible views of the canyon. This was a stunning hike. One major benefit is avoiding the parking lot at artist point since the trail starts from the wapiti lot. Be aware, though, since the south rim and uncle tom's trails are closed that the only way back to the parking lot is either back the way you came, or down the road.

hiking
Sunday, July 16, 2017

Spectacular views.

hiking
Saturday, July 08, 2017

This hike was a great excursion away from the crowds at Artists Point. Keep in mind that the origin of the trail head is closed. You'll have to enter from the Ribbon Lake trail head at the back of Artist's Point. Overall the hike is easy and the views are fantastic. However, it is extremely buggy and the mosquitos will come after you. I suggest lots of bug spray to keep them at bay. Also were able to see wildlife in the distance on the trail as well.

hiking
Tuesday, July 04, 2017

A lovely escape from the crowds of Yellowstone. We thoroughly enjoyed this trail. Right off the bat, we saw lots of wildlife from a distance! We hiked in mid-June and had some muddy conditions through the valley and some mosquitos near the lake, but such a beautiful trail to the always popular Artist Point. Wear bug spray and you'll be fine and LOVE IT!

hiking
Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Ditto on the construction. Had to finish on road but interesting hike. You experience lots of different scenery along the way. Saw two bison in meadow area pretty close to trail. Views in canyon were breathtaking!! Left from Wapiti Lake parking area. Bring water and sunscreen. Took us 2-1/2 hours.

hiking
Saturday, June 24, 2017

This was a great trail at the beginning but the end of the loop is closed due to construction and we had to finish with one mile on the road.

hiking
Thursday, October 13, 2016

There's a little bit of everything Yellowstone has to offer on this mellow loop trail - meadows, geothermal activity, ponds, canyon, waterfalls, river... Added on Uncle Tom's trail, several reading breaks, and a couple offshoots to bring this up to 5 miles in 2 hours.

hiking
Saturday, September 03, 2016

Going counter-clockwise, we learned that Clear Lake isn't very clear right now. But the view when you loop back onto the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone makes it worth while. Much less crowded than the South Rim trail.

hiking
Friday, September 02, 2016

Started from Wapati parking lot then went to clear lake through some great meadows. Didn't see any bears. Then into the forest through some neat landscape and mud pots and vents. Then to sublime point artist point through a little rain storm and thunder. Then along south rim trail back to Wapati.

hiking
Tuesday, August 09, 2016

A great hike. Easy to do

Monday, May 16, 2016

This was one of our favorite hikes due to the relative ease and variety. Picturesque Hayden valley, lakes, mud pots, and of course the canyon! On a decent sunny to partly cloudy day it's just gorgeous.

Friday, September 25, 2015

This is a must hike in Yellowston! We started at artists point and headed along the canyon to lily pad lake. There were amazing views of the canyon along this part. From lilly pad to clear lake the path is filled with mud pots, vents, and other geothermal features. BRING BEAR SPRAY! There was tons of bear "evidence" everywhere! From clear lake I would recommend adding the extra mile to the fishing bridge. This mile gives you amazing views of Hayden Valley! If you take that extra mile the trail will end at a picnic area with a bathroom. From there cross the street and follow the South Rim Trail along the Yellowstone River back to the beginning! Along the South Rim Trail you will see the beautiful river and rapids before the upper falls. After some amazing views of the upper falls you pass Uncle Toms Trail and then the upper falls before your back. Best way to see all of the canyon area in one go!!

hiking
Friday, August 07, 2015

Head south first, before you've seen the canyon. Welcome the fantastic vista as you walk north and see the canyon for the first time.

hiking
Monday, February 16, 2015

This is such a beautiful hike. It's not too treacherous, it's dog/kid friendly, and it's a good cool option when it's really hot in the valley.

hiking
Saturday, February 16, 2013

In a distance of about three miles, a hiker is treated to canyon vistas, forest, two lakes, a moonscape of mud pots, and a vibrant meadow. Only in Yellowstone, I've experienced such diversity of landscape on a short hike. Take time at Lily Pad Lake and perhaps you may spot a family of ducks swim by a few yards away. Additionally, despite that Artist Point is closer where its difficult to tune into the sound of the Lower Falls over the flurry of visitor activity, at quiet Lily Pad Lake listen for the low-pitched roar of a massive volume of descending water. Such moments are transcendent where the rhythms of life are unhurried allowing ones senses to catch up to sights and sounds of the surroundings.

hiking
13 days ago

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