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Hike to Avalanche Peak

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

5.0/5
based on 2 reviews

Details

Distance

4.6 miles

Elevation Gain

2100 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Description

Added by Nicole Atkins

This lesser-known hike offers some of the best views of the park. From Avalanche Peak you can see the valley, Yellowstone Lake, and several neighboring mountain peaks. At only 4.6 miles, you don't want to pass this up.

Avalanche Peak is a short hike up to one of few peaks in Yellowstone National Park accessible by trail. At about 870 feet per mile it’s a leg buster. But with sweeping views of Yellowstone and neighboring mountain ranges, it’s worth it. 

This hike isn’t as well known as others in Yellowstone. Part of that might be because it demands at least some athletic ability. Part of it is because it’s off the beaten path. The reward is that you won’t be fighting for space on the trail, and you’ll earn one of the best views in the entire park.

The first section of the hike takes you through a lodgepole pine forest straight out of a scene from Snow White. At about 0.75 miles in, you’ll reach a field of vibrant wildflowers (if you’re there in the summer). Keep your eye out for bears, as they’re known to frequent Yellowstone’s forests. Make sure you carry bear spray with you at all times. At just over a 1.25 miles you’ll be standing at the bottom of a small basin. If you look up, you’ll see your destination, Avalanche Peak. Follow the trail to your left.

You’ll hike through a short section of dead trees. The trees don’t offer much shade, but they do provide a backdrop for creative photography. At about 1.5 miles you’ll exit the forest and come upon an opening where you’ll climb your final leg.

From here you’ll be hiking up scree. If it’s summer you may see more wildflowers along the way. It can be very windy on the way up, and at the peak, so be careful walking along the ridges. There are some wind barriers in place at the top to give you a much-needed break.  

Once you reach the top, take a 360 degree look around. You're standing at 10,568 feet. To the west, you’ll see Yellowstone Lake. To the south are the Tetons and Mount Sheridan. And to the east/northeast, you’ll be looking at the Absarokas.

Head down the way you came. Revel in your accomplishment and the amazing scenery you’ve taken in. Another peak bagged, another feat gained.

Getting to the trailhead

The trailhead is located across the street from (the west end of) Eleanor Lake, near the east entrance of the park. 

Parking coordinates: 44.470557, -110.142679

From the south/west/north:

Follow Hwy20 18 miles east from Fishing Bridge, park in the lot on the right side of the road. Cross the road to the trailhead.

From the east:

Follow Hwy20 8 miles west of the East Entrance, park in the lot on the left side of the road. Cross the road to the trailhead.

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Features

Photography
Running
Hiking
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Romantic
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

We have been traveling the US for 10 months and this is easily in our top 10 hikes! Incredible summit hike with breathtaking 360 degree views. The top can get windy but an absolute must do if you are traveling in Yellowstone NP.

Thanks for the review!

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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Wyoming’s wide-open spaces make it easy to get off the grid and on a trail, through a park, into a forest, up a mountain or down a river. During your journey through Wyoming’s Black to Yellow Region, discover geologic marvels, dense evergreen forests and sprawling prairielands.

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