The 7 Best Hikes in Yellowstone National Park

best waterfalls in yellowstone
iStock.com/Bartfett

Written by August Croft

Updated: July 7, 2023

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If you are planning a trip to any of our fantastic National Parks in the United States, you may be wondering what some of the best hikes in Yellowstone National Park might be. But what should you know about hiking in Yellowstone compared to other National Parks, and what might some of the top choices for hikes be, depending on what you’re looking for? 

The Fairy Falls Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Yellowstone National Park. The entire hike is just under 5 miles and relatively easy to traverse.

In this article, we will give you a brief overview of what it’s like to hike in Yellowstone National Park, as well as provide you with some information on 7 of the best hikes found in this area. Whether you are an experienced adventurer or simply want to know what some of the top activities are in Yellowstone, you’re in the right place. Let’s get started and talk all about hikes in Yellowstone National Park now! 

Best Hikes in Yellowstone National Park

There are over 900 miles of potential hiking trails throughout Yellowstone National Park, open depending on the season.

Yellowstone National ParkHiking Facts and Figures
Easiest HikesGrand Prismatic Overlook Trail, Fairy Falls Trail, Lower Falls Trail
Hardest HikesAvalanche Peak Trail, Mount Washburn Trail, Electric Peak
High Elevation TrailsAvalanche Peak Trail, Sepulcher Mountain Trail, Observation Peak Trail, Bunsen Peak Trail, Mount Washburn Trail
Amount of Trails in YellowstoneOver 900 miles of hiking, with more than 15 miles of boardwalk or interpretive hikes!
Hiking TipsBring bear spray, plenty of water, and a friend for company and safety!

Hiking Trails in Yellowstone National Park

Best Hikes in Yellowstone National Park

In addition to hiking trails, there are also at least 15 miles of interpretive boardwalk hiking opportunities, giving everyone in the whole family an outdoorsy opportunity, no matter their age or capabilities! 

It’s important to note that these 7 trails are just the beginning in terms of your potential opportunities in Yellowstone National Park. There are over 900 miles of potential hiking trails throughout the park, open depending on the season. In addition to hiking trails, there are also at least 15 miles of interpretive boardwalk hiking opportunities, giving everyone in the whole family an outdoorsy opportunity, no matter their age or capabilities! 

So long as you pack water, bear spray, and bring a friend along with you for safety, you should be ready to tackle just about any hike in Yellowstone National Park. With all that said, let’s take a look at 7 of our favorite hiking trails found in Yellowstone now. 

Mount Washburn Trail

Mount Washburn YELLOWSTONE

Mount Washburn Trail leads to the peak of Mount Washburn and takes an average of 4-5 hours to reach.

Even though it is a hike of moderate difficulty, the Mount Washburn Trail is one of the most recommended hikes in all of Yellowstone National Park. Beginning with a hike through Dunraven Pass, the hike to the peak of Mount Washburn takes an average of 4-5 hours. Spanning 7 miles round trip and growing in elevation, this isn’t a hike for everyone. However, it offers visitors expansive views of Yellowstone! 

Grand Prismatic Overlook Trail & Boardwalk

Best Hikes in Yellowstone National Park

So long as you pack water, bear spray, and bring a friend along with you for safety, you should be ready to tackle just about any hike in Yellowstone National Park.

Less of a hike and more of a pleasant walk, the Grand Prismatic Overlook Trail is a fantastic choice for those of you looking for something short, sweet, and memorable. Seeing the Grand Prismatic Spring is a must should you choose to visit Yellowstone, and the Overlook Trail is only a mile and a half in length. 

This hike overlooks the Grand Prismatic Spring, but you can also choose to descend onto the interpretive boardwalk trail, which winds around the spring itself. Keep in mind that this is one of the busiest hikes in the entire park, given its ease of access and the fact that it shows off the Grand Prismatic Spring best!

Avalanche Peak Trail

Avalanche Peak trail

The Avalanche Peak Trail has an incredibly steep incline that is not recommended for everyone.

Speaking of challenging trails, the Avalanche Peak Trail is only four and a half miles round-trip, but the incline is so steep that it isn’t recommended for everyone. However, this is one of the best ways to avoid crowds, should that be something you are interested in, and you are rewarded with some of the most beautiful views in the entire park. 

Upper Geyser Basin Loop

Best Hikes in Yellowstone National Park

The Old Faithful observation deck is included on this loop, but just make sure you don’t stop there.

One of the main reasons to hike in Yellowstone National Park is to see hydrothermal features, and the Upper Geyser Basin Loop is one of the best ways to see these works of art. The Old Faithful observation deck is included on this loop, but just make sure you don’t stop there. There are countless other geysers and thermal waters to explore beyond this point! 

Lamar River Trail

Lamar River in Yellowstone National Park 1998

The Lamar River Trail will run along the Lamar River and stays on the east side of the river through the Lamar Valley.

While the entirety of the Lamar River Trail spans 7 miles, it’s easy to explore this region without committing to a 7-mile hike. You can traverse grasslands and see a number of different animal species on this particular hike, but make sure to pay special attention to the trail. It’s easy to get lost on this one, given the number of creeks that you must cross, as well as a lack of signs! 

Fairy Falls Trail

Best Hikes in Yellowstone National Park

The entire hike is just under 5 miles and relatively easy to traverse, and the first half of the hike is actually the Grand Prismatic Overlook Trail.

Perfect for the whole family, the Fairy Falls Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Yellowstone National Park. The entire hike is just under 5 miles and relatively easy to traverse, and the first half of the hike is actually the Grand Prismatic Overlook Trail. This gives you the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone and hike from the Grand Prismatic Overlook area all the way to a fantastic waterfall! 

Lower Falls Trail

Best Hikes in Yellowstone National Park

The Brink of the Lower Falls Trail is a fantastic hiking option given the fact that it is under a mile in length.

Speaking of waterfalls, the Brink of the Lower Falls Trail is a fantastic option given the fact that it is under a mile in length. However, it does have a fairly steep descent, so keep this in mind if you are wary about hiking. The hike itself gives you a fantastic reward: once you reach the bottom of the trail, you are overlooking the Lower Falls, arguably the most famous waterfall in all of Yellowstone National Park!

Summary of The 7 Best Hikes in Yellowstone National Park

RankBest Hikes
1Mount Washburn Trail
2Grand Prismatic Overlook Trail & Boardwalk
3Avalanche Peak Trail
4Upper Geyser Basin Loop
5Lamar River Trail
6Fairy Falls Trail
7Lower Falls Trail
Summary Table of The 7 Best Hikes in Yellowstone National Park


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About the Author

August Croft is a writer at A-Z Animals where their primary focus is on astrology, symbolism, and gardening. August has been writing a variety of content for over 4 years and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Theater from Southern Oregon University, which they earned in 2014. They are currently working toward a professional certification in astrology and chart reading. A resident of Oregon, August enjoys playwriting, craft beer, and cooking seasonal recipes for their friends and high school sweetheart.

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