GRANITE PEAK PUBLICATIONS: Accompanying travelers to the national park since 2002

How to Find Great Hikes in Yellowstone

Lone Star Geyser

Lone Star Geyser (2005)

If you’re ready for a workout on your vacation, you might enjoy backcountry hiking, either taking day hikes or backpacking for some miles and camping. For advice about these hikes there are several good guides out there. My favorites are Exploring the Yellowstone Backcountry by Orville Bach, Jr., and Yellowstone Trails by Mark C. Marschall and Joy Sellers Marschall. Both were written and since recently revised by long-term park rangers. For these great hikes you’ll also want to buy the appropriate topographic maps from the U.S. Geological Survey.

If you have less time or energy, however, or have small children in tow, you might want to go just a mile or somewhat more on a great hike to find beautiful scenery and few people. Then you’ll do well to use Yellowstone Treasures as a guide. Here are some details about using the book in this way.

On pages 369–71 of the sixth edition you’ll find a chart called “54 Recommended Short Walks in Yellowstone,” where hikes are arranged in the same order that their trailheads are found in the book. Below is the first page of the chart in the previous edition. Click on the image to view at a readable size.

Walks Chart thumbnail

54 Recommended Walks
(Click or tap to enlarge)

Let’s take the Lone Star Geyser Trail as an example. (The photo shows the geyser erupting.) As you can see at the bottom of the chart, this trailhead is near the road from Old Faithful Village to West Thumb Junction. It’s a level, 5-mile (8 km) round trip. The location of the trailhead is shown on the guidebook’s map on page 100. When you turn to that map, you can confirm from the map’s scale that this trail is somewhat more than 2 miles long. Then on page 102 you can read more about the trail.

Another way to use Yellowstone Treasures to find trails is to have one person following the road log as you drive. Here’s an example: Say you’ve just visited Tower Fall and are driving toward Canyon Junction, but the kids are getting restless. On page 218 you can see that at 13.5 miles from Tower Junction there’s a recommended trail (shown by a red hiker symbol). You might decide to stop and see the views and the profusion of wildflowers on the Mount Washburn Trail.

And then there are the fifty-two other great trails to take!

ON THIS WEBSITE: Some of the other trails are mentioned in

CREDIT: The photo is by Jens Paape.

Copyright Janet Chapple. All Rights Reserved. Updated August 30, 2023 to reflect the 6th edition