DISTANCE
17.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3,172 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

birding

nature trips

scenic driving

views

waterfall

wildlife

snow

no dogs

scenic driving
Saturday, April 08, 2017

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.