Explore the most popular paddle sports trails near 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.

Not a hard walk. Elevation incline is not huge. We walked counter clockwise which is best I think. Only wildlife spotted was 1 x Llama and chipmunks and squirrels with occasional birds. But beautiful scenery up to Shoshone Lake. Highly recommend.

We did this hike three days ago. Started pretty early and had it mostly to ourselves. Very easy practically flat with changing scenery throughout. Forest to open meadows and then of course the lake area. Huge bull bison hanging out right off the trail about a half mile in. The area around the lake is lovely and quiet. Lots of lily pads so seems like a good place for moose although we didn’t see any. We’d do this hike again just for the scenery.

Take your fly rod. Lots of small Cutts and Arctic Grayling. See if you fish better than the Ospreys flying overhead.

This beautiful trail is approximately 29.5 miles long. I backpacked this trail over 6 days in a group that included several kids between the ages of 12-14. The difficulty was perfect as it challenged them but did not kill them. We stayed two nights at one of the campsites.

The trail offers dense pine forests, rocky beaches, massive meadows, wildflowers, vistas, geothermal features, swamps, and many rivers and streams. The trail has many ups and downs as far as altitude goes, it was much less flat than I expected. There are about a dozen different campsites (reservations required) along the trail. Each site offers an uncovered pit toilet with a spectacular view so you can enjoy the scenery and take care of business at the same time.

We were informed that there are bears in the area. We did see a lot of bear sign, but never did see any bears or any large game of any kind. I was surprised at how many wild berries we found growing near the trail including wild blueberries, wild raspberries, and whortleberries. There is one section of trail, approximately a quarter of a mile long to the east of the geyser basin, where the trail passes through a knee-deep muddy swamp. We attempted to pass through in flip-flops, but the mud sucked them off and caused the straps to tear. We found it easier to pass through barefoot.

We did the hike in mid-August and went counter-clockwise. The mosquitoes were terrible in some areas and almost non-existent in others. Mosquito repellent is highly recommended.

Apart from the thunder, lightening, rain and hail, this is one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve been on in a long time! The last part of the hike was rainy so the trail was flooded but the views made it worth it! Got eaten alive by mosquitos so definitely would suggest bug spray! We clocked it at 11.2 miles.

Trail is nicely maintained. There is not a lot to see- rather uneventful. Mosquito’s bad at end of lake.

Beautiful and well maintained trail. We turned around so we did not have to walk on the highway otherwise it was nice and easy trail.

Relatively easy summer hike with some gorgeous river/lake views. Not busy at all, we only ran into two other hikers. A big thank you to Nikhil's review, without which we wouldn't have brought the bug spray. Mosquitos were brutal.

We took the cascade creek trail head (about a mile west of cascade lake trail head) to cascade lake. Comparable distance, saw our only moose of the trip. Heard from other hikers this is a good wildlife hike.

Beautiful hike! Longer than what it says here. Can't get far without a Bug spray though, the mosquitoes will suck you dry!

Cut this one short despite cool temperatures due to the mosquitoes. Very isolated and pretty views of the lake. Might do it again with bug spray but pretty intolerable once you start getting close to the lake.

backpacking
4 months ago

Only did a partial hike (about 12 miles to the west side of Shoshone Lake). It was absolutely beautiful and I would definitely do it again. The only downsides would be a few water crossings and the mosquitoes were voracious.

We had to abandon the ice lake walk because we went anti clockwise and walked straight into a swamp about 10 mins in. If you go the right way then could be a muddy end. If you have got walking boots on it won’t matter too
Much.

An easy hike into the lake, beautiful views once you arrive

Amazing views and great trail. Be ready for a very wet hike if you go in June. I had to wade 2+ miles through 6 inch water. It was definitely worth it but it might be better later in the summer.

Decent hike. Definitely easy - not sure why it’s rated as moderate. Beautiful fields and hills. The area around the lake was flooded though and super muddy. Our boots got totally soaked through.

hiked 6/21/18. I clocked 11.5 miles. we walked clockwise doing the 6.5 miles first. trail was flooded in places. took shoes and socks off twice on the way to the lake but was dry after that. gorgeous views the whole way. watch out for falling trees if windy. trail is obvious.

great trail with minimal elevation. we just hiked to the lake and back and clocked 6.4 miles. great views along the way as you walk through a pine Forest. slightly muddy but no water crossings. plenty of wildflowers

Stunning

hiking
9 months ago

Definitely one of the best trails to take if you want a quick hike that puts you out in what feels like the middle of no where. Also the fishing was great!

Beautiful trail, rugged but pretty straight forward and connects to multiple others for an easy choice of length.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

We went on this Ranger led trail in July 2016. It was quite interesting and led to Shoshone lake that can only be seen by hiking to it. The trail was one of the original trails from the 1800's.

fishing
Thursday, August 17, 2017

The hike and the drive are worth it to cast to hungry trout and grayling that don't get much pressure. Catch and release! Fly only

walking
Friday, August 11, 2017

Most of the trail has a monotonous view. The falls and lake are very pretty. If you want a shorter hike, head to the right at the trailhead, then back the way you came.

hiking
Saturday, August 05, 2017

The trail is a nice, easy walk to a lake. Most of the trail is through open meadows. We hiked it late in the day and it was windy so walking through meadows was not too hot. You'll see many beautiful wild flowers if hiking this trail in August. The lake is just okay. Don't hike this if you're goal is to see a fantastic lake.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Hands down the best adventure I have ever been on was to Shoshone Lake. Begin rowing around Lewis Lake early (7/8). The way that Shoshone Lake is situated causes it to create its own microclimate which means you have to time your arrival to Shoshone Lake perfectly in order to avoid the ocean like swells that arise every day around 1. If you hit the lake at this time expect some difficult rowing- especially if you have one of the camping sites that are further in. Make sure to get a permit!

We didn't use a guide (and didn't need on) but it is important for you to do your research before making this trip and to have some experience in the great outdoors. Also, listen to the park rangers when you go to pick up your permit.

hiking
Sunday, June 04, 2017

To be fair, I did this in 4 feet of snow, but this was probably one of the worst hikes I've ever done. A park ranger told us that it was really good so that's why we did it. I'm sure it'd be a lot better if there weren't any snow, but I didn't find the hike rewarding at all.

scenic driving
Saturday, April 08, 2017

3 days earlier in late June, we had made it to West Thumb just ahead of a snowstorm, bagged our first bison spotting and made it out to the farthest point next to the lake in a scattered snow shower- quite surreal with the hot steamy pools and bubbling geysers. As we started to head back to the visitor bookshop, the snow started blowing horizontally with big flakes. We all rushed inside the little cabin, and the ranger fired up the woodstove. We warmed ourselves and checked out books and souvenirs as our inner temperatures re-adjusted. We then high-tailed it as a big tour bus was pulling up. We had just logged our first Yellowstone “experience.” For the return visit, after starting from Canyon Lodge, heading south, we stopped at LeHardys Rapids, just before Fishing Bridge, which is where the next caldera eruption will start, as it rests on a huge fault line. The river area was covered with newly hatched bugs - fly larva and great food for cutthroat trout. From there we stopped at Bridge Bay on Yellowstone Lake, skipped stones on the lake and saw folks fishing for cutthroats. We stopped again at West Thumb, now one of our favorite spots, for another look in the sunshine. On this second visit, we were really rewarded, as the pools were bright green, clear and sparkling and we again were the only ones on the boardwalk. Yellowstone is a great first NP trip for kids, wildlife is abundant and there is never a dull moment. Fishing Bridge to West Thumb is a must-do section of the Grand Loop.

paddle sports
Wednesday, October 05, 2016

This was a 3 day guided canoe trip. If you enjoy disconnecting from civilization for a few days and seeing some wonderful sights without too much hiking, this is an excellent trip.

The first lake is great practice and leaving in the morning increases your odds of good weather. The river is pleasant but the last mile or so is tugging your canoe up a gentle currant as the water level is low. The first several hundred yards of this is fairly rocky, so good shoes are recommended. You make camp on Shoshone lake - there are only a dozen or so reserved campgrounds, so you have tons of space to yourself. On day 2 you head to the end of the lake where there is a very dense cluster of thermal features - very interesting stuff! You head back to camp. Day 3 is basically just heading back to where you started. Depending on the time of year (water level) you might even be able to stay in your canoe down the whole river.

We had a great guide who did the planning for us. I highly recommend finding a guide to do this trip as they'll know the ins and outs, which permits are needed, food, etc!

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