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Jesse Weber | 09.29.2017

Yellowstone National Park is known the world over for its erupting geysers, herds of buffalo, thundering waterfalls, and mountain peaks. Many miles of road connect its most famous features, but this massive national park also has some of the largest tracts of undeveloped landscape anywhere in the Lower 48. The number of natural wonders you can see from the road is indeed impressive, but the amount you can't see is almost mind boggling. You will only get a feel for the park's true hugeness by leaving the road, heading down a trail, and setting up camp.

There are more than 1,000 miles of trail and 300 backcountry campsites connecting truly wild places unseen by anyone other than those who earn it. With endless adventure combinations out there, narrowing it down to a shortlist of the "best" is, of course, impractical, but there are certain routes that stand out for their diversity and density of uniquely Yellowstone experiences. Here are six of our favorites to explore, but what's really best is to get out there and discover for yourself.

  • Firehole Meadows: This connects some of Yellowstone's finest--geysers, hot springs, waterfalls, alpine meadows, and wildlife--in one manageable trek.
  • Shoshone Lake: Hike to the Lower 48's largest backcountry lake, where you can find complete solitude on its remotest shores by foot or by boat.
  • Specimen Ridge and Agate Creek Trails: Route finding, river crossings, and ridge scrambling--this area has everything for adventure seekers.
  • Black Canyon of the Yellowstone: Explore the more hidden of Yellowstone's deep canyons, complete with big game, a wild suspension bridge, and a bounty of backcountry campsites.
  • Sky Rim Trail: A committing but rewarding loop along panoramic ridges to link some of Yellowstone's highest peaks and farthest views.
  • Ribbon Lake: Beginning at one of the park's most popular and impressive overlooks, this beginner-friendly backpacking route quickly leaves the crowds behind for "sublime" views over the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and tranquil backcountry lakes.


Mount Washburn is a beautiful easy 3 - 5 hour trek. Well worth the trip
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