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

Six Hikes near Yellowstone Lake

Canada geese at Yellowstone Lake

Yellowstone Lake

On a visit to Yellowstone, you may be staying near beautiful Yellowstone Lake, the remarkable body of water that takes up much of the southern part of the park (see the map). There’s a large campground at Bridge Bay, an RV campground at Fishing Bridge, and the comfortable hotel and many cabins at Lake Village. You can find at least six delightful hikes in this area.

Along the lakeshore, you might walk on the former roadbed from west of the hotel all the way to the outlet of Yellowstone Lake at Fishing Bridge, enjoying the lake and mountain views, the multitude of wildflowers, and lots of waterfowl, such as the Canada geese shown here. Take care to keep well out of the way of the bison who like this area, too!

Also near the lake are Pelican Creek and Storm Point Nature Trails. The first is a very short loop, and the second is a little longer (2 miles or 3.2 kilometers). It starts at steep-walled Indian Pond, which was created by a steam explosion thousands of years ago. See the National Park Service information about these hiking trails and five others at “Day Hikes in the Lake and Fishing Bridge Area.”

With its trailhead near the Fishing Bridge gas station, a segment of the historic Howard Eaton Trail takes you along the wide placid Yellowstone River to LeHardy’s Rapids, where trout spawn early in the summer season. If you do visit at that time, be sure to check first at the visitor center across the road, since grizzly bears may be enjoying the trout.

Natural Bridge

Natural Bridge (early 1900s)

The Natural Bridge, shown here on an early twentieth-century postcard, is a level three-mile (4.5 km) round trip hike or bike ride from the Bridge Bay campground.

For the more ambitious hiker, there’s Elephant Back Trail, an 800-foot (250 m) climb up the mountain of the same name that affords you a spectacular view of the lake and environs.

CREDITS: The Yellowstone Lake photo is by Bruno Giletti, the Natural Bridge postcard by Detroit Publishing Co.

IN THE GUIDEBOOK: Pelican Creek and Storm Point Nature Trails are listed on the Recommended Short Walks chart in Yellowstone Treasures, pages 369–71 of the sixth edition.

ON THIS WEBSITE: You can find out more about the birds you will see in the area in Yellowstone for Birders.

Copyright Janet Chapple. All Rights Reserved. Revised August 30, 2023.