Yellowstone Hikes

Oct 29th, 2009, 04:55 PM
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Yellowstone Hikes

I'm researching some relatively short (no more than 3 or 4 miles) for next August.

In addition to the Upper Basin tour, Geyser Hill to Observation Point ans just about all of the Canyon overlooks, I've also selected Mystic Falls (selected this over Fairy Falls).

I've been reading about Mount Washburn and I'm considering passing on it due to it's elevation gain being more than I'd like.

I've read conflicting descriptions of the Yellowstone Picnic Trail. It's about 3.5 miles out and back. Some descriptions are great while others are quite bland. Some describe it as easy and others have it more difficult with steep drop-offs. And so on. Anybody hike this?

I'm more interested in hikes for the scenery and sights and less for the actual hike.

I'd be interested in reading what other think of these and other relatively easy hikes.

For Grand Teton I've selected Hidden Falls / Observation Point and some of Cascade Canyon and also possibly Lake Taggert. However, I want to limit this thread to Yellowstone.
Myer is offline  
Oct 29th, 2009, 05:32 PM
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The only real hiking we did was around Canyon. We had planned to hike the .5 mile trail to Tower Falls, but Rosie and her cub was in that area (you could even see the pair from the road). Tower falls was what I considered the prettiest in the park, and I would have liked to have seen it closer.

We had planned on hiking Hell Roaring Creek(it is nearby Picnic Trail, i think). It looked really good, so maybe someone who has actually hiked it could touch on this a bit, as I hope to return sometime. It looks like to me you can turn around at several places. The hike to the suspension bridge was about 1.5 miles, but you could go a lot further. I prefer loops, but this is an out and back. We did talk to a couple who said Mount Washburn was a great hike, but I am not sure it would be worth the elevation gain either.

We did do a lot of hiking along the geyser, springs, paintpots. I considered these more walks as they were on pavement or boardwalk(several miles each day though).

There was one other place, that I don't think anyone has touched on. It was a very small cavelike place that makes a tremendous low scary sound every 15 seconds or so. The cave sortof rumbles and belches. It is right on the road and worth a stop. I don't recall the name of it.
spirobulldog is offline  
Oct 29th, 2009, 05:34 PM
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I look at youtube when trying to decide on a hike. You can find just about ever hike on youtube. this gives me at least an idea of what to expect.
spirobulldog is offline  
Oct 29th, 2009, 07:22 PM
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We've hiked the picnic trail, and IMO, it is a nice walk, but as you said a bit bland. Relatively flat through grassy areas. If you go to the edge of the gorge, of course there's a drop off, but the trail isn't very close to the edge so it's not a problem.

We especially liked the Mystic Falls hike, which leaves from Biscuit Basin. Continued past falls to overlook, via some switchbacks, but thought it was worth it as we saw Old Faithful go off in the distance.

The level, 2.5 mile trail to Lone Star Geyser is also nice when you can see that geyser go in a much more secluded setting than geyser basin with lots of people around. I think there were only about 6 others at Lone Star to watch it.
Clousie is offline  
Oct 30th, 2009, 12:50 AM
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In addition to Lone Star Geyser,
Cascade lake is nice, easy, with "floral symphony"(it's in the Canyon area);
Fairy falls and Imperial geyser is an easy hike, to a nice falls and a small but colorfull geyser(it's in the old faithfull area)
Ice lake and Little Gibbon falls is quiet, to a nice lake(swimming possible) and then hiking in woods with a nice view on nice falls(between Norris and canyon).
There is a good Falcon guide by B.Schneider : best easy day hikes in Yellowstone which is very helpfull.
monpetit is offline  
Oct 30th, 2009, 03:20 AM
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Trout Lake was a nice hike that would probably fit your criteria.
maj is offline  
Oct 30th, 2009, 04:26 AM
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On our Yellowstone trip, we had planned to do a good deal of hiking but found ourselves spending most of our time photographing/viewing wildlife and thermal features. We spent hours wandering through the Norris and Old Faithful geyser basins (OFI is especially amazing in the pre-dawn hours). Even with 6 full days in Yellowstone, we ran out of time for doing any real hiking and instead took our time on all the boardwalks seeing all of the thermal areas in depth. They are really quite spectacular - the colors, sounds and even smells are unlike anything we've experienced.

Planned hikes turned into an hour spent watching Rosi teach her cubs how to harvest pine nuts from the tree tops, or a grizzly dining on an elk carcass, or two bison battling it out on the roadside, or driving the Beartooth Hwy. We threw our plans out the window and spent our time just being spontaneous - cruising for wildlife, photographing everything, walking among boiling mudpots and geysers, viewing wolves, coyotes, eagles, bighorn sheep, moose..... there is just so much to do, we needed way more than a week to see it all. We personally found the Canyon area/overlooks to be the most crowded and least interesting. The falls are very scenic but it was no fun battling the crowds at the overlooks, and we've seen plenty of gorgeous canyons and waterfalls in our travels. In YNP, I think you'll find that your plans will often need to be tossed or altered for lots of reasons. I just hope you will enjoy the spontaneity of Yellowstone's unique and fascinating features.
sharondi is offline  
Oct 30th, 2009, 07:04 AM
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Spiro. Good idea about Youtube. I'll check it out. Also, Hell Roaring Creek looks like it has potential.

Sharondi. I suspect that my normal, detailed planning will get side-tracked. You mentioned taking photos. Are those from your trip posted anywhere?

While I'd like to see wildlife, I'm not obsessed about it to the point that I'd wait hours with a spotting scope in the hopes of seeing a wolf 2 miles away.

I am somewhat taken by waterfalls, colors, scenery and mountains. Yes wildlife too.

I've never been to overcrowded places. Last May Arches wasn't bad. I guess in Canyon the best vantage points with the least crowds will be the most difficult to get to. Uncle Tom's Trail and Red Rock Point might qualify there.

Thanks to those who've responded so far.
Myer is offline  
Oct 30th, 2009, 07:14 AM
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Your hike to Inspiration Point will be with hundreds of people, yes hundreds. Even so, it is still a nice hike. I would take the boat at least one way as it is pretty from the lake as well. I think heading past that and into Cascade Canyon will be marvelous. I am sure that 90% of the people don't keep going after Inspiration Point. This hike isn't hard, but did require more effort than we expected. If you place a jacket or bag on the ground, you can bet one of the little squirrels will be in it. They are so food driven, they even will run on your lap when you sit down. Pretty shocking to eat a cracker and have it nearly stolen out of your hand. We were there in June and the trail past Inspiration Point had a ton of snow still. There was a ranger hiking it that day to determine if they could open part of the trail.
spirobulldog is offline  
Oct 30th, 2009, 07:46 AM
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hope this link works. Our Yellowstone/Teton pics. sorry there are no titles on the pics
spirobulldog is offline  
Oct 30th, 2009, 07:48 AM
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Myer, sharondi is my wife and I believe I
posted a link to the images in one of your
other threads but here it is agian:

As far as spotting wolves; it may be easier
than you think. Watch for a cluster of folks
with scopes all set up and, odds are it will
be one of the paid wolf spotters along with all
the wolf pack fans. They will be looking at
wolves if there are any and will let you take
a look through their scopes.

If you want more detailed info and advice from
serious 'Yellowstoners' I urge you to post your
questions on the forums at

Advice from there will be more concise and current
than what you'll get here...they are specialists.
peterboy is offline  
Oct 30th, 2009, 08:09 AM
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Peter, your pics of the photographers reminded me of unusual I thought it was to have so many professional looking photographers at yellowstone. Most places I feel like I am the only one with a decent camera. If you don't have a tripod and a $3000 lens at yellowstone you feel a little out of place. The bear at the lake looks pretty close to you.
spirobulldog is offline  
Oct 30th, 2009, 08:29 AM
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My trip to Yellowstone was what prompted
me to upgrade my camera equipment. Not
so that I would fit in but because I felt
that I missed so may shot opportunities
due to my equipment...especially in the
telephoto range. Now I need to get back
there for another visit with my new camera
and lenses.

There was a ton of camera gear that made
me drool. If you take a look at the images
posted at, it will be a
humbling experience. Here's the galleries
of Hélène van Dijk, a lady from the Netherlands
who has been visiting Yellowstone at least
once a year since 2001. She's a regular poster

he bear at the lake WAS pretty close as it
ran by...what you don't see is me shooting
the picture from inside the car.
peterboy is offline  
Oct 30th, 2009, 08:39 AM
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Serious good pictures!! But hey, I might be that good if I had been there since 2001. lol
spirobulldog is offline  
Oct 30th, 2009, 10:07 AM
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Peter. Yes, I remember looking at your photos. Thanks again.

Which camera were you using and what did you get?

Spiro. Thanks for the photo link. They're great.

You're right. Most of the time my SLR looks professional compared to what I see on trips.

My Canon 350xt is now getting old. I'm behind about 3 generations by now. But it's still shooting. I've taken over 18,000 shots with it.

I usually travel with my travel lens. It's a Sigma 17-70 that's equivalent to about 28-105 on a 35mm camera. For most travel a moderate wide/moderate zoom is sufficient. Last year at Fisher Towers when I saw some rock climbers was the only time I wished I had more reach.

Several months ago I got a 55-250. That's equivalent to a 90-400. I'm not used to changing lenses on the fly. I guess I'll have to practice some.

There's a county park about 10 minutes from my place with an island in the middle and all kinds of birds. I actually got some in flight. Beginner's luck. The next week I went back again and thought I'd be better at it and get more. Not so. It's hard to track them in flight and then get them in the viewfinder.

Myer is offline  
Oct 30th, 2009, 10:08 AM
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I forgot to mention. I guess the Inspiration Point you're referring to is Grand Teton and not YNP.
Myer is offline  
Oct 30th, 2009, 11:38 AM
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Camera then (06) was a Sony DSC-f717...very nice
image quality but limited tele and wide angle.

Camera now is Olympus e510 (now obsolete) 14-42 f3.5-5.6 (28-84 in 35mm equivalency), 40-150 f3.5-4.5 (80-300) 50mm f2 macro/portrait lens (100mm) one of the sharpest digital lenses ever tested, and the 11-22 f2.8-3.5 (22-44mm in 35mm equivalency). I chose Olympus for their high quality lenses and for their very effective sensor dust buster. I change lenses whenever needed (except when in blowing dust) and haven't had a need to clean the sensor in over 2 years. The first two lenses I listed are 'kit' lenses that came with the camera but both are very good with enough light...especially the 40-150 but nothing can touch the 50mm f2 for sharpness...for example:

My advice Myer...bring that 55-250 and use it.
Don't worry too much about your old Rebel...use
it up and upgrade your body...only the lenses are
peterboy is offline  
Oct 30th, 2009, 11:47 AM
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There is an Inspiration Point at the Grand Canyon of the is listed here:

and I think I took this image from there (after elbowing my way through the crowd).

There are probably hundreds of Inspiration Points in the world I'd imagine
peterboy is offline  
Oct 30th, 2009, 02:28 PM
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Yes, I'm talking about the trip across or around Jenny Lake, then to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. Then you can head further to Cascade Canyon. At least, that's the way I rememer it. We didn't hike around the lake, but did the boat both ways. In Yellowstone, GT you will definately want to keep your zoom handy for wildlife encounters. Then just pray they stay still for the 30 seconds it takes you to fish out a lens and get it on your camera.
spirobulldog is offline  
Oct 30th, 2009, 02:45 PM
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We really liked the Canyon and Tower areas. Our least favorite was Mammoth. I guess if I had seen it first, I might have been more impressed. We enjoyed the geysers far more around old faithful than we did the Norris area. Man, it's a shame August is a long time from now, I am looking forward to what you think of the area
spirobulldog is offline  

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