Yellowstone National Park Trails near Tower-Roosevelt

Begin your hike by stopping at a ranger station or visitor center for information. Trail conditions may change suddenly and unexpectedly. Bear activity, rain or snow storms, high water, and fires may temporarily close trails.

Lost Lake Trail

This loop trail departs from behind Roosevelt Lodge and climbs 300 feet (91 m) onto the bench. Here the trail joins the Roosevelt horse trail and continues west to Lost Lake. (If you take the trail east, you loop back to the Roosevelt corrals on the horse trail or continue on to Tower Fall Campground.) From Lost Lake, the trail follows the contour around the hillside to the Petrified Tree parking area. Cross the parking lot and climb the hill at its northeast end to loop back behind Tower Ranger Station. Cross the creek and return to the Roosevelt Lodge cabins.

Offering views of Lost Lake, waterfowl, wet meadows, sagebrush hilltops, wildflowers, and quite often black bears, this trail has a bit of everything. Parts of the trail are used by horse parties. For your safety when meeting horses, we recommend you move to the downhill side of the trail and remain still until they have passed.

Trailhead: Behind Roosevelt Lodge

Distance: 4 miles (6.4 km) roundtrip

Level of difficulty: Moderately strenuous

Garnet Hill and Hellroaring Trails

To access the Garnet Hill Loop Trail, park in the large parking area to the east of the service station at Tower Junction. Walk down the road toward the Northeast Entrance Road (approximately 100 yards/91 m) and head west on the dirt stagecoach road about 1.5 miles to the cookout shelter. Continue north along Elk Creek until nearly reaching the Yellowstone River. Here the trail divides, with the west fork joining the Hellroaring Trail and the east fork continuing around Garnet Hill and eventually returning to the Northeast Entrance Road where it is a short walk back to Tower Junction.

The Hellroaring Trail can be reached from the fork of Garnet Hill Trail (see above) or you can start from the Hellroaring parking area 3.5 miles (5.6 km) west of Tower Junction. Follow the trail over the Yellowstone River Suspension Bridge, cross a sagebrush plateau, and drop down to Hellroaring Creek. The Yellowstone River and Hellroaring Creek are both popular fishing areas.

Note : This trail can be hot and dry during the summer months. Please remember to take water! Also, watch your footing if you go off-trail and onto the smooth river boulders along the Yellowstone River.

Trailhead: Tower Junction or 3.5 miles (5.6 km) west of Tower Junction

Distance:

1) Garnet Hill Loop: 7.5 miles (11.8 km) roundtrip

2) To Hellroaring Creek and back via Garnet Hill: 10 miles (16 km) roundtrip

3) To Hellroaring Creek and back via Hellroaring Trailhead: 4 miles (4.6 km) roundtrip

Level of difficulty: Moderately strenuous

Yellowstone River Picnic Area Trail

This often overlooked trail along the east rim of the Yellowstone River offers views of the Narrows of the Yellowstone, the Overhanging Cliff area, the towers of Tower Fall, basalt columns, and the historic Bannock Indian Ford. Tower Fall itself is not visible, but the store and highway across the river can be seen for reference purposes. The trail ties into the Specimen Ridge Trail above the Bannock Ford. (Continue up to Specimen Ridge only if you are prepared for a longer hike with few trail markers.) Otherwise continue north about one mile (1.6 km) to the Specimen Ridge Trailhead. Walk west along the road for another 0.7 mile (1.1 km) to the Yellowstone River Picnic Area. Watch for bighorn sheep along this trail but please don't approach them! Use caution along the river canyon with its steep dropoffs.

Trailhead: Yellowstone Picnic Area, 1.25 miles (2 km) northeast of Tower Junction on the road to the Northeast Entrance and Cooke City

Distance: 3.7 miles (5.9 km) roundtrip

Level of difficulty: Moderately strenuous

Slough Creek Trail

This is both a scenic walk and a fishing trail, a favorite of catch-and-release anglers from around the country. The trail follows a historic wagon trail up Slough Creek through several meadows and over Plateau and Elk Tongue creeks. From the trailhead, the trail switchbacks up a moderately steep trail and rejoins Slough Creek in about 2 miles (3.2 km) at the first meadow. While wildlife do not abound in this meadow during the summer, moose are commonly seen. Grizzly and black bears also use this valley. As on all Yellowstone trails, be alert for the possibility of bears in the backcountry. You may encounter the horse drawn wagons of Silver Tip Ranch, a private ranch north of the park boundary that has a historic right of access.

Trailhead: Near the vault toilet on the road to Slough Creek Campground

Distance: 2 miles (3.2 km) one way to First Meadow; 5 miles (8 km) one way to Second Meadow

Level of difficulty: Moderately strenuous for first 1.5 miles (2.4 km), then easy.

Mt. Washburn Trail

The hike to the top of Mt. Washburn is one of the most popular hikes in Yellowstone. Two trails, each 3 miles (4.8 km) in length, switchback to the summit where expansive views of much of Yellowstone unfold below on clear, summer days. An enclosed observation area allows you to get out of the wind. Bighorn sheep are seen quite frequently during the summer on the upper parts of the trails. Harsh alpine conditions contribute to short growing seasons for the fragile alpine vegetation on the mountain. Please stay on the trails and do not approach sheep or other wildlife to help preserve the wildness of this area.

The northern trail begins at the Chittenden Road parking area. The southern trail begins at Dunraven Pass parking area. More parking is available at the Chittenden Road Trailhead, although hikers using this trail may encounter bicycles and occasionally vehicles accessing Mt. Washburn for maintenance purposes.

Trailheads: Chittenden Road Parking Area, 8.7 miles (13.9 km) or Dunraven Pass Parking Area, 13.6 miles (21.8 km) south of Tower Junction on the Tower-Canyon Road

Distance: 6 miles (9.6 km) roundtrip

Level of difficulty: Moderately strenuous

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