Yellowstone National Park is an American landmark, and a favorite destination for families and lovers of the outdoors. Boasting no less than a thousand miles’ worth of trails to hike and explore, Yellowstone National Park has a varied range of hiking experiences available for any level of expertise. Hiking and camping at Yellowstone can be an exciting, rewarding experience.
In today’s age of GPS and cellphone navigation, there really isn’t a need any more for printed maps, which may contain out-of-date information. The Park is really huge; be prepared so you don’t get lost. This can be a very dangerous situation for anyone, including those with high-level outdoor survival skills, talents, and knowledge. Spending a little extra time in preparation will save you from a potential nasty situation down the line, and it allows you to truly relax and enjoy what Yellowstone has to offer to its fullest potential.
Remember to bring along any essential gear that matches to scope of your hike, as well as plenty of water. However, take care not to overburden yourself with more than you’ll need. Dragging around too much weight can actually create some of the situations that you’re looking to avoid, so make sure you’re being careful without overthinking the dangers of the situation.
If you do happen to find yourself lost, the best thing to do is to find a river or stream as soon as you can and follow it in a single direction. This helps to keep you oriented on a single path, as if you keep the water on the same side at all times, you can have a clear sense that you’re not inadvertently backtracking or getting yourself even more lost. Additionally, many people enjoy canoeing and light boating in Yellowstone’s waterways, so your chances of finding help are much, much greater using this method.
Detailed here are several areas to check out, as well as some general information on hiking in Yellowstone National Park.
Located in the Tower-Roosevelt Area of Yellowstone, the Lost Lake Trail is a short but scenic hike, totaling at less than two miles total. This hike, which can begin either around Roosevelt Lodge or in the vicinity of Petrified Tree, will bring the hiker, for a large portion of their hike, right along a beautiful lakeside view.
Lone Star Geyser Basin
The Lone Star Geyser is a popular attraction in Yellowstone National Park. The main trail leading here is an easy hike, having been initially in place for vehicle use, and is about three miles long total. The trip to the geyser is scenic and rewarding, and the geyser itself erupts around every three hours.
The trail to Osprey Falls is generally considered to be in the intermediate to difficult level. Roughly a mile of the eight-mile hike is remarkably steep, dropping over 700 feet in the course of this single mile. This area can be dangerous if the trail is wet, so any hiker should take care during this stretch. Once at the falls, the real trip begins on the way back out, as that steep drop must now be climbed instead of descended.
This four-mile, fairly difficult hike begins at Avoca Spring. The trail spends a fair amount of time on a steep incline, culminating in a spectacular view of the Mystic Falls waterfalls. On the return trip, keep your eye out for a great view of Old Faithful.
There are a few things to keep in mind on any hiking circuit through Yellowstone National Park. While this is a popular destination, the Nation Park is still considered wilderness. Wild animals, exposure to the elements, dangerous and treacherous trails, and a host of other dangers await the unprepared hiker. It is important to take any hike seriously, no matter how “easy” it may seem. The unforeseen can (and does) happen, and you may find yourself in a life-threatening situation. Take particular care if you are visiting Yellowstone on a family vacation. However, with proper preparation and responsible safety measures, even the most difficult hikes listed here can be more than worth the effort it takes to complete them.