Yellowstone hiking is one of the best things to do while on vacation in the park. There are more than 1,100 miles of trails suitable for all levels of hikers, from experience trekkers to young children or those on their first major hikes. If you’re interested in a more challenging excursion, Yellowstone backpacking and backcountry hiking are sure to provide the type of outdoor adventure you’re looking for.
For visitors interested in Yellowstone day hikes, many of the park’s trails include easy, moderate, and difficult levels and vary in miles. Yellowstone day hikes can range from two-day hikes to longer excursions up to eight days that provide plenty of time for off-trail hiking adventures.
If you’d like to learn more about the natural setting, consider a hiking tour—Yellowstone hiking tours provide vacationers with an up-close experience of the park. Through hikes in Yellowstone National Park, visitors can see breathtaking vistas of the Lamar and Hayden valleys, meadows filled with wildflowers and wildlife as well as witnessing eruptions of backcountry geysers.
If you’d like to base your entire Yellowstone vacation around the park’s trails, consider an all-inclusive multi-day Yellowstone backpacking tour that combine professional guides, local transportation, meals, and complete hiking and backpacking gear. On these trips you can learn about the wildlife, ecosystems, plants, and issues that threaten the environment through educational Yellowstone hiking tours.
Backcountry hikes in Yellowstone National Park can cross scenic trails that go past waterfalls and geyser basins, through valleys, and across mountain ridges. The hundreds of miles of trails in Yellowstone are located throughout the park, and whether you’re staying in the northern, central, or southern area of the park, you’ll have no trouble finding excellent day hikes.
One of the easiest Yellowstone day hikes is at Wraith Falls located on the Mammoth-Tower Road. This one-mile trek is easy and suitable for hikers of all ages and levels of experience. For more experienced hikers, the ten-mile moderate hike along Bunsen Peak Trail has a gradual climb of 1,300 feet to the summit. Along the way, hikers have views of Swan Lake Flats, Gallatin Mountain range, Blacktail Plateau, and the Yellowstone River Valley.
An optional descent to the trailhead takes hikers on an eight-mile hike past the scenic 150-foot Osprey Falls where you will also see 500-foot canyon walls. This hike is rated difficult and suited for more experienced hikers.
A popular excursion is the Blacktail Deer Creek-Yellowstone River Trail hike. This 25-mile moderate trail is located seven miles east of Mammoth. The first half of the hike takes you near the Yellowstone River where you will descend 1,100 feet surrounded by ancient trees. At the Yellowstone River, hikers cross the river using a steel suspension bridge continuing on to Knowles Falls.
No matter what level of trail you choose, hikes in Yellowstone National Park are challenging and can be dangerous due to wildlife, inclement weather, rugged mountain trails, loose rock, turbulent streams, thermal areas, and cold-water lakes. Before beginning a Yellowstone backpacking or day trip hiking adventure, do your best to prepare by checking with a ranger station or visitor center for an update on weather, wildlife sightings, and trail conditions.
Before venturing on any trail, be aware of park regulations, guidelines, required permits, and safety plans, and whether you’re going for a day hike or an extended trip, bring fresh water, sunscreen, insect repellent, rain gear, flannel shirt, warm hat, map, guidebook, and first aid kit. For safety reasons, it is best to hike with a partner.