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Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
2.00 mi (3.22 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The thermal wonders of the West Thumb Geyser Basin are a big draw for crowds during the busy months at Yellowstone National Park. There is a quick and rewarding escape that is ignored by most visitors that starts right in the West Thumb parking lot.

From the small sign marking the Lake Overlook Trailhead, the trail heads due west, crossing small meadows that are often filled with elk and the main park loop road. The first part of the trail is usually snowy and muddy in May and June, but the trail soon starts to climb and dry out. Once the trail rises above the tree tops, the views start to get interesting. The last quarter mile is up a grassy hill, the top of which offers a bench and great views to the east across Yellowstone Lake. There is also a loop trail that runs around the meadow at the top of the hill for additional views.

NOTE: The day hike map handed out at the visitor center is inaccurate for this trail. It is actually 1 mile from the parking lot to the top of the hill, not 0.3 miles as the map claims.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

National Park Pass

Pros

Great views. Fairly easy.

Cons

Trail can be wet early in the summer.

Trailhead Elevation

7,780.00 ft (2,371.34 m)

Net Elevation Gain

255.00 ft (77.72 m)

Features

Big Game Watching
Wildlife
Big vistas
Wildflowers
Geologically significant
Big Game Watching

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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