Easy Hikes in Yellowstone

Easy Hikes in Yellowstone National Park: Exploring Nature’s Beauty

Let me take you on an unforgettable journey through the natural wonders of Yellowstone National Park. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast seeking adventure without the strenuous trails, you’re in the right place! Join us as we explore the beauty and tranquility with a curated list of easy hikes in Yellowstone, that promise both stunning scenery and a relaxed pace.

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Yellowstone National Park, established in 1872, is a true wonder of the natural world. This pristine wilderness, spanning over 2.2 million acres across Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, boasts dramatic landscapes, abundant wildlife, and geothermal marvels. Among the many ways to experience Yellowstone’s enchantment, you will find some of the best hikes in Yellowstone that offer an accessible and immersive journey. We’ll delve into the best day hikes in Yellowstone, highlighting short and easy paths, uncrowded trails, and some of the easiest hikes in Yellowstone National Park. 

Whether you are a beginner hiker or simply looking for a leisurely stroll amidst the park’s awe-inspiring landscapes, these easy hikes in Yellowstone are sure to leave you with lasting memories. So, lace up your hiking boots, grab your camera, and let’s embark on a breathtaking exploration of this remarkable national treasure, with contributions from fellow hikers.

Easy Hikes in Yellowstone National Park

Observation Point Trail

| Distance: 2.6 kms (1.6 miles) | Difficulty: Easy | Dog Friendly: No |
| Out & Back | Elevation: 82 metres (270 feet) | Washrooms: Yes |

While Old Faithful is a must-see, don’t miss the easy hike in this area. First, catch a glimpse of Old Faithful from the main boardwalk, to see the eruption at ground level.. Then take the Observation Point Trail for an incredible view of Old Faithful erupting. This hike is considered to be ‘moderate’ as you do go uphill to get to the observation point. 

Visitors stand at an elevated vantage point, poised to witness the mesmerizing display of Old Faithful’s eruption. The geyser’s predictable schedule allows for ample time to find the perfect spot and soak in the surroundings.

When Old Faithful finally erupts, it’s a reminder of the remarkable beauty and geothermal activity that defines Yellowstone, making the Observation Point Trail a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and adventurers alike. It was a treat to venture along this trail and see Old Faithful erupt from afar!

View of Old Faithful from Observation Point

Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook Trail

| Distance: 2.4 kms (1.6 miles) | Difficulty: Easy | Dog Friendly: No |
| Out & Back | Elevation: 61 metres (200 feet) | Washrooms: No |

Visiting the Grand Prismatic Spring is a sensory experience to begin with. First take the boardwalk through the Springs and get the close up view of this geothermal wonder. Then you can venture on one of the short and easy hikes in Yellowstone to the overlook, for a stunning aerial view of the rainbow-hued thermal pool.This moderately challenging trail provides visitors with a unique opportunity to witness the stunning beauty from an elevated vantage point. 

As you embark on this adventure, you can expect a well-maintained path that winds through a combination of boardwalks and gravel sections, making it accessible for most hikers. It’s one of the best hikes in Yellowstone National Park for experiencing the park’s unique geothermal features. Those colors are so amazing no matter where you are!

Grand Prismatic Spring Trail

Norris Geyser Basin Trail

For those looking to see Yellowstone’s stunning geothermal features, the Norris Geyser Basin trail is an excellent option. With plenty of geysers located along the 2.9 mile boardwalk, the Norris Geyser Basin will give you a lot of bang for your buck! The Norris Geyser Basin is located on the Western side of the park, near the intersection of Grand Loop Road and Norris Canyon Road. 

When hiking the Norris Geyser Basin, you can choose to do the entire length or choose from the Back Basin or Porcelain Basin. The trails do connect, but you can easily exit back to the museum and parking area. 

The Steamboat Geyser, the world’s tallest active geyser, is one of the key features of this route. Eruptions are unpredictable and rare, but if you are lucky enough to catch it you will be in for a treat! If not, there are plenty of other frequently erupting geysers along the trail to witness! 

The Norris Geyser Basin trail was a favorite because of the large number of geothermal features found along a relatively flat and easy boardwalk, making it doable for any age group or hiking level. As with most of the popular hikes in Yellowstone, aim to arrive early in the morning to find parking and avoid the heavy crowds.

Norris Geyser Basin Trail

Mud Volcano Trail

The Mud Volcano Trail is found in eastern Yellowstone National Park between Canyon Village and Yellowstone Lake. The whole trail is made of a boardwalk and is one of the easiest hikes in Yellowstone. We love this hike because it is so easy and has so much geothermal action to see. 

There is a lower loop that is wheelchair friendly that is a 0.3 mile/0.5 km loop. To get to the upper loop, you will have to use a set of stairs. If you do the loop clockwise, it is less steep than if you go counterclockwise.

The area is full of steaming springs, old geysers, and boiling mud pots. Make sure to stay on the boardwalks as the crust is very thin and it is easy to break through. The third time we did this hike, the boardwalk was closed by a Park Ranger due to some bison wandering through the area. We had to run to our cars and use the doors like a shield because the bison came so close!

Mud Volcano Trail - Easy Hikes in Yellowstone

Yellowstone River Picnic Area Loop

The Yellowstone River Picnic Area Loop, tucked near Tower Junction, offers a serene retreat for nature lovers seeking a less-explored trail. Along the river, we encountered diverse wildlife, from birds and marmots to bison and traces of bears. Parking at the Yellowstone River Picnic Area is limited, so an early arrival is advised for trail access.

The path starts with a gentle incline, leveling out for most of the way. While labeled as a loop, we recommend turning back when the trail veers from the canyon to relish the canyon views both ways. Alternatively, completing the full loop leads to a return journey along the road.

Numerous opportunities along the trail allow for appreciation of the canyon’s natural beauty. Notably, the Calcite Springs, with an official viewing area, provide a captivating spectacle. Keep an eye out for unique bird species like osprey and tanagers, listen for the chirping of marmots, and watch for bison waste.

The Yellowstone River Picnic Area Loop is an ideal escape for nature enthusiasts, offering tranquility away from bustling crowds. Whether captivated by wildlife or entranced by the canyon’s natural wonders, this easy uncrowded Yellowstone hike promises a serene experience in the heart of nature.

Yellowstone River Picnic Loop

Mammoth Hot Springs Trails

Mammoth Hot Springs Trails is located just 5.9 miles away from the North Entrance of Yellowstone National Park. The hiking trails can be found right on-site at one of the most dynamic hydrothermal zones in the park, Mammoth Hot Springs.

The area is divided into two sections — Upper and Lower Terrace. The Lower Terrace consists of about 1.75 miles of trails on a wooden boardwalk, most of which are wheelchair accessible. Along the trail, keep your eyes peeled for popular sights like Minerva Terrace, Palette Spring, and Liberty Cap.

To reach the Upper Terrace, you can either climb a set of (steep) stairs or travel by car via the 0.8-mile one-way road known as Upper Terrace Drive. Enter the drive and there will be a small parking lot on the left that will provide you with the closest boardwalk to Canary Spring, another notable feature to see when visiting Mammoth Hot Springs.

One of the best parts about hiking these trails is the potential to see wildlife. During my last visit, I was lucky to see a herd of elk nearby. They are essentially one of the locals!

Tip: Plan on visiting in the morning or evening to avoid the crowds and the heat (if you come in the summer), especially since the trail offers minimal shade.

Mammoth Hot Springs Trail

Morning Glory Pool

Morning Glory Pool is a beautiful rainbow-colored hot spring, basically a smaller version of the Grand Prismatic Spring. We love exploring natural springs close to home, and Morning Glory Pool did not disappoint.

You can reach Morning Glory Pool from two different parking lots, Old Faithful or Biscuit Basin (you will need to cross Grand Loop Road to get to the Artemisia Trailhead). The trail is a mix of pavement, boardwalk, and level gravel/dirt. You will learn that it is one of the short and easy hikes in Yellowstone. We have walked it with young kids and we have also biked down to Morning Glory Pool.

The trail is a combination of the Biscuit Basin Trail, Waterton Valley Trail, and the Upper Geyser Basin Trail. It sounds complicated, but it is easy to follow straight through, or you can take a different path back and see more of the park.

The best part about this trail is that there are so many things to see along the way including geysers, pools, springs, and the Firehole River.

Morning Glory Pool, one of the easy hikes in Yellowstone

Tips & Things to Know for Hikes in Yellowstone National Park

  • If you are visiting Yellowstone during a peak season (especially June – August), plan to arrive early to beat the crowds and the heat
  • Ensure you are prepared for hiking and download this hiking checklist so you have all your gear
  • Follow the Leave No Trace Principles to minimize your impact
  • Yellowstone National Park requires all visitors to stay at least 25 yards away from most wildlife, including bison, elk and deer. Bison are especially unpredictable and can run three times faster than humans!
  • Bears are active in the summer months. Carry bear spray for protection when hiking
  • Stay on boardwalks and trails in thermal areas and ensure children do not run

Yellowstone National Park is a treasure trove of natural wonders, and it’s easy to find some of the best day hikes in Yellowstone, allowing you to partake in its beauty. If you are looking for uncrowded or easy hikes in Yellowstone, there’s definitely a trail here for you.

As you venture on a  trip through Yellowstone, take time to marvel at Old Faithful and the Grand Prismatic Spring, but don’t forget to explore the quieter corners and hidden gems that make Yellowstone truly special. So, embark on your adventure and relish the connections you will find with easy hikes in Yellowstone, on a trip I promise you will never forget.

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