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Yellowstone National Park

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Park Trails

There are many trails throughout the park which lead to various features and into the back country. Most visitors walk along the self-guiding trails which have been laid out in the more popular scenic areas. These include the Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces, Norris Geyser Basin, Calcite Springs Overlook and Tower Fall (1.5 miles south of Tower Junction), and the Mud Volcano Trail which is 6 miles north of Fishing Bridge, leading to several thermal features including Dragon's Mouth. Walking trails wind along both rims of the Grand Canyon. The South Rim Drive takes you to the trailhead for Uncle Tom's Trail.

For those who want to experience more of the wilderness in the park, there are many trails which lead from the loop road or the entrance roads to the mountains and into the central part of the park called the Thorofare Area. For long hikes and overnight trips, it is necessary to register with one of the park ranger stations. The trailheads for some of the most popular (and moderately-easy) hikes are found in the Yellowstone Loop Road logs (pages 216-219). A good guide to the full range of trails in the park is Yellowstone Trails, A Hiking Guide by Mark Marschall. You can purchase this book in the park visitor centers.

Yellowstone Guided Hikes

Yellowstone's Ranger Adventure Hike Program has been expanded for 2002.

Interpretive Park rangers are offering 10 half-day hikes every week from June 17 through August 31. Hikes are at at Old Faithful, Mammoth Hot Springs, and the Tower/Roosevelt areas.

With hikes limited to 15 participants, the cost is $15 for adults, $5 for youth 7 to 15, and free for childrfen 6 and under. The hikes are rated from easy to difficult, and some are not recommended for people with heart or breathing programs.

Information on the hikes is available at all visitor centers in Yellowstone.


Viewing wildlife is problematical at times. Early morning and late evening are the best times to view the park's wild animals. Elk are seen at Mammoth Hot Springs (sometimes on the lawn) and north and south of Madison. Bison feed in the Lamar Valley, in the northeast corner of the park, in the Hayden Valley north of Fishing Bridge and north of Old Faithful. Yellowstone has around 300 bighorn sheep which are seen on the rocky slopes and cliffs, mainly in the Mount Washburn area. Moose are often seen in the Fishing Bridge area, north and south of Madison and near the south entrance to the park. The grizzly and black bears inhabit the backcountry and are not normally seen by park visitors. Pronghorn antelope live in the northern reaches of the park, above the north road which leads from Mammoth Hot Springs to the northeast entrance.

Boating and Fishing

Permits for all boats and fishing are required. Permits may be obtained at the South Entrance, Lewis Lake, Grant Village, Bridge Bay Marina, the Lake Ranger Station and Mammoth Hot Springs. Yellowstone Lake has the largest supply of cutthroat trout in the world but because of bear problems, parts of the lake have been closed to fishing. Consult the Lake ranger station or the Fishing Bridge Visitor Center for fishing closures.

Camping in the Park

The Park campgrounds are located in the major areas of interest, while lodge and motel accommodations are available in major park centers.

There are 12 Campgrounds in the Park

Xanterra Parks and Resorts, the park concessionaire, operates 5 reservation campgrounds (1,700+ sites) including Madison, Fishing Bridge RV Park, Bridge Bay, Canyon, and Grant Village (see details at bottom of page). You can make reservations online or by calling or writing (see below).

The National Park Service operates 7 first-come, first-served campgroundsampgrounds (450+ sites) including Mammoth, Norris, Tower Fall, Indian Creek, Pebble Creek, Slough Creek, and Lewis Lake (see details at bottom of page). Campgrounds may be filled by 11 a.m.; arrive early to obtain a site.

Camping Reservations:

Go to: www.YellowstoneNationalParkLodges.com

Write: Yellowstone National Park Lodges, PO Box 165, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190.

Call: 307-344-7311 or 1-866-GEYSERLAND (439-7375) for future reservations
Call 307-344-7901 for same-day reservations
Call 307-344-5395 for TDD service (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf)

 Summer Season Lodgings

  • Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, with rooms and cabins, open from late-May through mid-September.
  • Old Faithful Inn, with rooms, open from early May through mid-October. The Old Faithful Inn is open from early May- mid- October 14 for the summer season.
  • Old Faithful Lodge, with cabins, open from late May through mid-September.
  • Old Faithful Snow Lodge, with rooms and cabins, open from mid-May through late October.
  • Grant Village, with rooms, open from early June through late September.
  • Lake Lodge, with cabins, open from mid-June through mid-September.
  • Canyon Lodge, with cabins, open from mid-June through Labor Day.
  • Roosevelt Lodge, with cabins, open from early June through Labor Day.

Winter Lodgings in the Park

  • Services at Old Faithful Snow Lodge are scheduled to be open from mid-December to mid-March.
  • Winter services at Mammoth Hot Springs are scheduled from late-December to early-March.

For all of these indoor accommodations, reservations should be made (well in advance for summer bookings) through TW Recreational Services (307) 344-7311.

Accommodations close to the park entrances are available in West Yellowstone and Gardiner, Montana; at Pahashka Indian Village, a large motel near the west gate, and in Cooke City, just outside the northeast gate.

There are also cabin and motel accommodations in Grand Teton National Park -- just south of Yellowstone. Unless you're visiting the park for just a day or two, and camping, a trip to Yellowstone takes some planning in order to fully enjoy your stay.

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