Yellowstone River Picnic Trail

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone, Wyoming

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Yellowstone River Picnic Trail


  • Looking north toward the trailhead. - Yellowstone River Picnic Trail
  • Pines and sagebrush line the first mile of trail.- Yellowstone River Picnic Trail
  • Calcite Springs just above the Yellowstone River.- Yellowstone River Picnic Trail
  • Beautiful canyon views for the first 2 miles.- Yellowstone River Picnic Trail
  • To the northeast, see peaks from the Beartooth Mountains.- Yellowstone River Picnic Trail
  • Sweeping landscape views at about 1.6 miles in.- Yellowstone River Picnic Trail
  • The mighty Yellowstone River roars in the canyon below.- Yellowstone River Picnic Trail
  • Continuing the hike up this foothill can take you to Specimen Ridge or to Agate Creek.- Yellowstone River Picnic Trail
  • Make this trail a loop by turning north at the fork and traversing the open expanse.- Yellowstone River Picnic Trail
  • - Yellowstone River Picnic Trail
Overview + Weather
Wildlife. Canyon views. Thermal features.
No foot trail by road.
Yellowstone, WY
Pets allowed: 
Net Elevation Gain: 
400.00 ft (121.92 m)
Parking Pass: 
National Park Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
3.70 mi (5.95 km)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
6,252.00 ft (1,905.61 m)
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

Don’t let the image of a boring picnic trail turn you off this hike. The Yellowstone River Picnic Trail in Yellowstone National Park is a true gem in the Tower-Roosevelt area, offering both wildlife sightings and scenic views of the canyon and its thermal features.

The first half of the trail follows the Yellowstone River, winding along the top of a steep canyon wall amidst sagebrush, pines, and large boulders. Also, keep your eyes peeled for this hike’s two thermal features: Nymph Spring and Calcite Springs. Calcite Springs was one of the scenes painted by Thomas Moran and presented to Congress in 1872, resulting in the establishment of America’s first national park.

About 1.9 miles in, the trail forks. Turning left (north) will complete the loop and take you through a wide grassy expanse to the Specimen Ridge Trailhead (2K7). A short roadside walk will get you back to 2K4. Turning right (east) at the fork takes you up a steep climb, where you can choose to continue to Specimen Ridge or Agate Creek.

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(9 within a 30 mile radius)

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(44 within a 30 mile radius)

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