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Big Horn Peak

Yellowstone, Wyoming

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Big Horn Peak

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  • Black Butte Parking.- Big Horn Peak
  • Black Butte Trailhead (WK2).- Big Horn Peak
  • Open forest just off of the trailhead.- Big Horn Peak
  • Young lodgepoles.- Big Horn Peak
  • View of King Butte (9315 ft) from a large meadow en route to Big Horn Peak. - Big Horn Peak
  • Creek crossing to the WF1 backcountry site.- Big Horn Peak
  • Communal area at WF1.- Big Horn Peak
  • Meadow for tents at WF1.- Big Horn Peak
  • Lodgepole forest.- Big Horn Peak
  • Open sage hillside with sparse tree coverage.- Big Horn Peak
  • View of King Butte from the trail.- Big Horn Peak
  • Wolf lichen (Letharia vulpina).- Big Horn Peak
  • Ruffed grouse.- Big Horn Peak
  • Hiking along the forested spine.- Big Horn Peak
  • Looking east at Meldrum Mountain.- Big Horn Peak
  • The Sky Rim follows Yellowstone's northern boundary.- Big Horn Peak
  • Observing the Tom Minor Basin to the north.- Big Horn Peak
  • Steep drop-offs on both sides for about 20 feet.- Big Horn Peak
  • Knife-edge crossing.- Big Horn Peak
  • Rocky cliffs of Big Horn Peak.- Big Horn Peak
  • Sky Rim Trail toward Sheep Mountain.- Big Horn Peak
  • USGS Marker on Big Horn Peak.- Big Horn Peak
  • Mountain goats on the Sky Rim Trail.- Big Horn Peak
  • - Big Horn Peak
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Wildlife sightings. Incredible views.
Cons: 
Tough climb. Little shade.
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Alerts: 
Lightning caused a nearby fire on Fawn Pass in early August, 2016. Parts of Fawn Pass Trail and Bighorn Pass trail and backcountry campsites WB1, WB3, WB4, and WB6 were closed. Those extending their hiking trip in the area take extra care with planning.
Region:
Yellowstone, WY
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
3,245.00 ft (989.08 m)
Parking Pass: 
National Park Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Summer
Suitable for:
Hiking, Horseback
Total Distance: 
12.40 mi (19.96 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
6,845.00 ft (2,086.36 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

The hike to Big Horn Peak from the Black Butte Trailhead is a long dayhike through sage meadows, lodgepole pine forests, and across a perilous mountain ridge. As the tallest mountain on Yellowstone’s famous Sky Rim trail, Big Horn Peak has sensational views and its fair share of Yellowstone’s hidden wildlife.

The early trail follows a gently rolling open forest along Black Butte Creek. As you approach the 2 mile mark, you enter a large meadow with King Butte Mountain to the north and reach the junction with the Dailey Creek Patrol Cabin Trail. Continuing east across the meadow, you’ll find welcome shade at the forest edge and a sign for the WF1 backcountry site.

If you will be staying at WF1, follow the spur trail across two forks of Black Butte Creek. The site is in great condition with a large fire ring, easy access to water, and a well-constructed food pole.

The trail quickly gains elevation from the meadow junction with the scenery changing from lodgepole forest to sage meadow several times. Just before the 5-mile mark you will begin walking along the forested ridge to the Sky Rim junction. As you near the junction the trail fades into the mountaintop meadow, but posts and blazes help keep you on track. From the junction, cross the knife-edge trail to the east for the true summit of Big Horn Peak. See the Tom Minor Basin, Gallatin Petrified Forest, and a multitude of peaks from the Absaroka, Gallatin and Madison Ranges.

Keep an eye out for wildlife on the craggy cliffs along the Sky Rim. Big Horn Peak is named after the many bighorn sheep that frequent its steep walls. Other notable trailside animals include grouse, bears, and non-native mountain goats.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(5 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(31 within a 30 mile radius)

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