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Black Canyon of the Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone, Wyoming

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Black Canyon of the Yellowstone

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  • Blacktail Creek Trailhead.- Black Canyon of the Yellowstone
  • Blacktail Pond.- Black Canyon of the Yellowstone
  • Blacktail Deer Plateau.- Black Canyon of the Yellowstone
  • Enjoying the wildflowers.- Black Canyon of the Yellowstone
  • Aproaching the canyon.- Black Canyon of the Yellowstone
  • Spur trail for backcountry campsite 1Y8.- Black Canyon of the Yellowstone
  • Backcountry campsite 1Y8.- Black Canyon of the Yellowstone
  • The Black Canyon of the Yellowstone.- Black Canyon of the Yellowstone
  • Hiking the Yellowstone River Trail.- Black Canyon of the Yellowstone
  • The Yellowstone River.- Black Canyon of the Yellowstone
  • Backcountry Campsite 1Y8.- Black Canyon of the Yellowstone
  • The walls of the Black Canyon are full of dark shale.- Black Canyon of the Yellowstone
  • The Yellowstone River Trail.- Black Canyon of the Yellowstone
  • Crevice Lake, near Knowles Falls, is a great side trip for extending the hike.- Black Canyon of the Yellowstone
  • Checking out the nice beach at backcountry campsite 1Y4.- Black Canyon of the Yellowstone
  • Hiking out and back to Knowles Falls adds 4 miles to the trip.- Black Canyon of the Yellowstone
  • A friendly butterfly hitched a ride on our packs for miles.- Black Canyon of the Yellowstone
  • Columnar basalt is formed during rapid cooling of lava and is a common sight in the Black Canyon.- Black Canyon of the Yellowstone
  • Looking down the Black Canyon of the Yellowstone.- Black Canyon of the Yellowstone
  • Marveling over the giant 2,000-foot basalt walls.- Black Canyon of the Yellowstone
  • Backcountry campsite 1R1.- Black Canyon of the Yellowstone
  • Backcountry campsite 1R1.- Black Canyon of the Yellowstone
  • Aproaching the Buffalo Plateau in the Hellroaring Creek area.- Black Canyon of the Yellowstone
  • Fording Hellroaring Creek.- Black Canyon of the Yellowstone
  • The suspension bridge over the Yellowstone River on the Hellroaring Trail.- Black Canyon of the Yellowstone
  • The view near the Hellroaring Trailhead.- Black Canyon of the Yellowstone
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Best early season backpacking in park. Great backcountry campsites. Large game.
Cons: 
Biting flies. Mosquitos. Heat.
Region:
Yellowstone, WY
Congestion: 
Low
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Day-Use/Parking Pass Required:
National Park Pass
Total Distance: 
14.00 mi (22.53 km)
Trailhead Elev.: 
6,777 ft (2,066 m)
Net Elev. Gain: 
1,740 ft (530 m)
Trail Uses:
Hiking, Horseback
Trail type: 
One-way/Shuttle
Dogs allowed: 
No
Current Local Weather:
Powered by Dark Sky

Today

Partly cloudy starting in the evening.
65°F
24°

Tue

Partly cloudy until evening.
62°F
34°

Wed

Partly cloudy starting in the evening.
66°F
36°

Thu

Breezy until afternoon and snow (1–2 in.) in the evening.
47°F
31°

Fri

Snow (< 1 in.) overnight.
47°F
29°

Sat

Mostly cloudy until evening and windy until afternoon.
56°F
37°

Sun

Mostly cloudy throughout the day.
58°F
35°
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

The Black Canyon of the Yellowstone is a classic early season backpacking trip in Yellowstone National Park. The canyon, a well hidden 2,000-foot-deep river canyon is nestled on the north side of the Blacktail Deer Plateau. There are 12 different backcountry campsites within the Black Canyon of the Yellowstone. Depending on which site you choose, and how far you want to travel each day, the hike is worthy of one to three nights in the backcountry. For a good challenge, reserve campsite 1R1 or 1R3 and do the trip in two days and one night. The canyon is wild: Large game is evident throughout the canyon, and birds of prey are abundant along the river as well.

The backcountry campsites are private and situated in beautiful places along the river and its tributaries. This trip used backcountry campsite 1R1 and 1Y8, for a two-night, three-day trip through the Black Canyon of the Yellowstone. Campsites 1R2, 1Y1, 1Y2, 1Y4,1Y5, 1Y9, and 2H3 are also highly recommend backcountry campsites along the way. The route leaves from Blacktail Creek Trailhead to Helloroaring Trailhead and works as a one-way hike with a shuttle.

From Blacktail Creek Trailhead the trail crosses the Blacktail Deer Plateau before descending into the Black Canyon. An impressive suspension bridge crosses the river and meets the Yellowstone River Trail. Head east to continue toward the Hellroaring Trailhead, or, if you have some extra time and energy take the 4-mile round trip out-and-back, hike to Knowles Falls. To continue east, hike the river trail for about 5 miles before it ascends out of the Black Canyon and into the Hellroaring Creek area. The trail leads to a ford on Hellroaring Creek. If you are uncomfortable with the ford, simply hike north on the Hellroaring Creek Trail to the footbridge, cross the creek, and hike back down the creek to the trail. This option will add 4 miles to the hike. Once you leave Hellroaring Creek the trail heads back to a suspension bridge, crossing the Yellowstone River. The Hellroaring Trailhead is about 1.5 miles south of the suspension bridge.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(9 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(36 within a 30 mile radius)

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