Everything You Need to Know About Hiking in Yellowstone National Park

If you’ve never been hiking in Yellowstone National Park, you are missing out on the experience of a lifetime. With 2.2 million acres of lush forests, flowing alpine rivers, and dramatic canyons, it is an incredible sight to behold. The park is also renowned for its excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. You may spot bison, elk, birds of prey, bighorn sheep, moose, beavers, and even bears! With 900 miles of hiking trails, there is truly something for every outdoor enthusiast. Here are a few of our favorite hikes to get you started!

After you go hiking in Yellowstone National Park, you’ll want to check out the other great hiking trails in the area. Be sure to request our complimentary Vacation Guide for a complete list of them! The guide is full of insider’s tips about the best things to do and see near Yellowstone National Park and Cody, WY.   

Where to Go Hiking in Yellowstone National Park

Between the diverse terrain and spectacular views, hiking in Yellowstone is an experience like no other. From easy walking paths to the most difficult treks, we’ve put together a list of the best hiking in Yellowstone National Park. Before you hit the trails, make sure to read up on the park’s best safety practices and regulations. When you arrive, you’ll also want to stop by a ranger station or visitor’s center for current information about the trails. Don’t forget to bring your camera!

Easy Hikes

Wraith Falls: Are you hiking in Yellowstone with kids? Located near Mammoth Hot Springs, Wraith Falls is a hike that the whole family will enjoy. This 1-mile round-trip hike winds through sagebrush meadows, marshland, and forests. At the end of the trail, you’ll find yourself at the base of a beautiful cascading waterfall.

Brink of the Lower Falls Trail: The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is one of the most photographed areas in the national park, and this 1.5-mile round-trip hike will take you right to it. While we have listed this as an easy hike, the trail can be steep in certain areas. The trailhead starts at the Canyon North Rim Drive and is marked very well. Once you reach the end, you’ll be able to enjoy close-up views of the thundering Lower Falls. 

Fairy Falls Trail: This Is another one of our favorite easy day-hikes in Yellowstone. Located just a few miles North of Old Faithful, the trail is 5 miles round-trip. You will pass Midway Geyser Basin and Grand Prismatic Spring, which is Yellowstone’s largest and most colorful hot spring.

Moderate Hikes

Mount Washburn:  The awe-inspiring views are well worth the hike to Mount Washburn. To get to the lookout, you can take the 2.5 mile Chittenden Road Track or a 3-mile hike from Dunraven Pass. Once you reach the summit, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic mountain views of the Gallatin’s, Absarokas, Beartooth Plateau, and Tetons. This hike is 5-6 miles round-trip.

Mystic Falls: This moderate trail begins at the west end of the Biscuit Basin boardwalk and is 2.4 miles round-trip. For the first part of the trail, you will walk alongside the Little Firehole River. Then, the trail becomes very steep and leads to the overlook of Mystic Falls. To loop back around, follow the trail above the switchbacks to Little Firehole Meadows Trail. Then, make sure to stop at the overlook and enjoy the views of Old Faithful.  

Beaver Ponds Loop: Do you want to see beavers in their natural habitat? You have an excellent chance at viewing a few of them when you traverse Beaver Ponds Loop. You can find the trailhead between Liberty Cap and Mammoth Hot Springs. Follow it all the way to Clematis Creek until you reach the beaver ponds. You may also spot muskrats and water birds! This trail is 5 miles round-trip.

Difficult Hikes

Avalanche Peak: Avalanche Peak arguably offers some of the most amazing views in the park. Begin your trek at Fishing Bridge in the Lake Village Area. The trail winds through forests and meadows, past bubbling streams, and leads to a peak with excellent views of Lake Yellowstone. Although it is only 5 miles round-trip, this hike is moderate to strenuous.

Undine Falls at the Lava Creek Trail: When it comes to difficult hiking trails in Yellowstone, Undine Falls should be at the top of your list. The 8-mile trek begins on Lava Creek Trail near the Mammoth Campground. Follow the pathway down to the Gardner River, which you will pass over on a narrow swinging footbridge. Then, you will continue through a steep canyon all the way to Undine Falls.

Sky Rim Trail: If you are looking for a long and challenging hike, the Sky Rim Trail is a great option. The 21-mile loop begins at the Daily Creek Trailhead and you’ll gain more than 3,000 feet in elevation. Along the way, you can enjoy spectacular views of valleys, mountain ranges, and wildlife.

Get Ready for More Adventures at Monster Lake Ranch

After a thrilling day outdoors, come kick off your hiking boots and relax in one of our comfortable guest rooms. Located just 60 miles east of Yellowstone, Monster Lake Ranch offers the ideal accommodations for your stay. Our ranch provides boundless year-round recreation and is near all of the best attractions in Cody, WY. You can enjoy some of the best fly-fishing and pheasant hunting right on the ranch, as well as horseback riding, hiking, and more. We also offer an incredible Yellowstone Wildlife & Photo Tour!

Camp under the stars in our tipi encampment, or relax and unwind in one of our comfortable guest rooms. No matter which of our lodging options you choose, we guarantee that your family vacation will be one for the books! During your stay, make sure to stop by Restaurant Bliss for a delicious meal prepared by Chef DeWitt. Then, head over to the Cutthroat Saloon for your favorite drinks and entertainment. Contact us to book your stay today. We can’t wait to hear which Yellowstone hiking trails are your favorite!