Ten Yellowstone Backcountry Dayhikes

Short and Sweet
  |  Gorp.com
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Avalanche Peak

This relatively short hike (4 miles round-trip) climbs 2,100 vertical feet in 2 miles, with a big reward at the end. The view from the top is one of the most gorgeous, 360-degree panoramas available in the park. Start at the trailhead across the highway from the picnic area at the west end of Eleanor Lake, 2 miles east of Sylvan Lake on the East Entrance Road.

The path heads along the right side of a small stream and climbs steeply, right off the bat. Don't be tempted by the old trail about a half mile up that continues up the drainage, but switchback west instead across an old avalanche chute, up through a stand of whitebark pine, and on through steep scree to the shoulder of the south ridge. From there, follow the summit ridge to the peak and big view.

Delacy Creek

An easy, beautiful jaunt with little elevation gain, and the shortest route to the shores of Shoshone Lake. Park across from the trailhead in the pullout 8 miles east of Old Faithful on the Old Faithful-West Thumb road. The trail winds through mature lodgepole forest for the first mile, then breaks out into broad meadows along Delacy Creek. Wildflowers are often fantastic in the meadows, and it's common to see moose and coyote in the open valley, especially as you get closer to the lake. Sandhill cranes congregate here, too. Mosquitoes can be fierce at midsummer, so bring bug dope as a precaution. After 3 miles the trail joins the North Shore Trail at the gravelly beach along Shoshone Lake. It's a great lakeshore picnic spot to enjoy before heading back to the car.

Dailey Creek/Black Butte Trail Loop

A lovely, little-traveled 6-mile loop in the northwest corner of Yellowstone, on the flanks of the Gallatin Range. Start at the Dailey Creek trailhead roughly a mile south of the park boundary on highway 191. Hike in two miles, climbing gradually through meadows and hillsides, to the Black Butte cutoff trail. Turn south and cross a ridge, passing a Forest Service patrol cabin, to join the Black Butte trail at 4 miles. Another 2 miles, through some burned forests, brings you back to highway 191 about 1.5 miles south of where you first parked.

Select a Hike Introduction, Remote Geysers, Moderate Hikes, Dawn-to-Dusk Marathons


Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 7 Nov 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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