Tower-Roosevelt to Canyon Village Drive

MODERATE 8 reviews
#80 of 197 trails in

Tower-Roosevelt to Canyon Village Drive is a 17.6 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming that offers scenic views and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for nature trips and scenic driving and is best used from May until October.

DISTANCE
17.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3536 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

nature trips

scenic driving

views

Yellowstone National Park PO Box 168 Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168 307-344-7381 (recorded information and an option to speak with someone) Additional info: http://www.nps.gov/yell/contacts.htm

scenic driving
5 months ago

Driving through snow from Roosevelt in late June, we drove south toward Mt. Washburn, stopping at Tower Falls (a storm had washed away part of the trail to the foot of the falls), and the view from the upper viewing area was nice but partially blocked by trees. We drove on to Chittenden Road just after ascending the switch back of Mae West curve, found out the road was closed (maybe due to bears, or road needing repair), and drove on to stop at the Dunraven Pass elevation 8895 to hike Mt. Washburn (3 mi. RT) in the misty light snow. We journeyed forth along the old stagecoach trail up the mountain, met some hikers on the way down who said visibility was nil on top and cold and windy. We ventured further, saw a pheasant, got growled at by a grizzly and finally decided to turn around as the wind was blowing the snow horizontally. We had probably gone about 1 mile up. From Washburn, we drove back down to Canyon, made a stop at Calcite Springs Overlook and a sensational view of the Narrows. Then we went back along both rims of the Canyon of the Yellowstone, one of the highlights of the trip. On the 2 mile one-way north rim drive we stopped at Inspiration Point, Grandview Point, Lookout Point and took the great trail down to Red Rock Point (highly recommended!) getting us closest to the lower falls on the north rim, the Brink of the Lower Falls trail was closed for repair, then went on the Brink of the Upper Falls trail (the river is extremely powerful and wild diving over the upper cliffs), onto the South Rim road, taking the trails to Artist Point (beautiful palette of reds, whites and yellows in the sunlight, one of most famous views in park) and Uncle Tom’s trail to the lower falls (we took this trail down 328 steps and back up). The view was great at the bottom. The lower falls is 308 feet high; the upper is 109 feet high. We saw a small group of bison munching in the field near the Clear Lake Trail. We stopped at the Wapiti Trailhead for our standard PB&J trail lunch. It was about 4PM and we went back to Chittenden Road to find it had not opened, so went back to go it alone up the trail from Dunraven, knowing Mr. Bear was up the path. I took the walkie-talkie and kept in range for about one-fourth of a mile, but it soon became only a good way to let the bears know I was coming using the call button. I got about a half-mile further than we did the first time, could see the top, but the snow was picking up again, the trail was getting narrower, closed-in and the light was fading, so I decided to turn around once more. I had seen much of the trail, except for the steep switchbacks at the top, so felt somewhat satisfied with the venture. We headed back to Norris and on up to Mammoth, saw a herd of elk, and drove into Mammoth and ate burgers at the Terrace Grille. We next headed back to Canyon and ran into a herd of seven bison coming up the road (they owned the road), and we politely got over in the other lane to oblige. Quite a day's adventure, will get to the top of Mt. Washburn next time! The Canyon area is a great place to stay.

scenic driving
Friday, February 19, 2016

This 19 mile section of road contains the highest consistent elevation of any of the main (figure 8) roads in the Yellowstone Park loop. Personally, I've seen more bear activity in this stretch of road than any other place in my multiple trips to the park. Be on the lookout for a lot of hiker activity and slowing traffic near the Mount Washburn trailhead. Mount Washburn is the highest point in the park and the Mt. Washburn trail is widely considered the most hiked trail in the park. Give it a shot if you have the time; the views from the summit are incredible.

scenic driving
Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Beautiful drive. Unique and lots of wildlife.

scenic driving
Sunday, October 05, 2014

scenic driving
Monday, July 28, 2014

Pretty drive. Great mountain views. High elevation at certain points.

scenic driving
Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Mt Washburn pass is the best part of this drive

scenic driving
Sunday, March 17, 2013

Much of Yellowstone has burned over the years. I was there in 1968, and there was little sign of fires. In 2012, I would guess over half has burned.

scenic driving
Tuesday, March 08, 2011

After visiting the rest of the park, we came into Tower-Roosevelt from the west. Black Bears, Grizzly Bears and Bison were easy to see, even from the road. After staying over at Tower-Roosevelt, with side trips up the Lamar Valley, we got our first experience of Dunraven Pass as we drove out to spend a night in Cody, WY. The large, plowed snowbanks on either side of the pass looked interesting, but didn't cause any concern. We continued down the Hayden Valley and out to the East Gate. The return to Tower-Roosevelt was uneventful, but beautiful. I could easily see myself driving along the Hayden Valley daily for the scenery and wildlife. When we left Tower-Roosevelt, it had been raining since the day before. We had been forewarned that the conventional wisdom said that rain in Tower-Roosevelt meant snow was likely in Dunraven Pass. I made the brilliant decision to start for the pass, promising my wife to turn back and go the long way if it snowed too badly. What an idiot! By the time I realized that the snow was too heavy, we were in the pass with no place to turn around. Snowflakes the size of silver dollars, and the tracks of the one speed-demon who passed us were buried within five minutes. As we drove, a grizzley sow and cub climbed up on the road and almost did a double-take, astounded by my stupidity in driving Dunraven in the snow! Anyway, all's well that end's well. We got an adventure and got down to Canyon Village safely - as I watched the rangers close the road gate in my rearview mirror. Less the Dunraven snow adventure, I can't wait for our next visit to Yellowstone - in less than nine months, for New Years Eve!