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Yellowstone National Park: Garnet Hill Loop

Explore Yellowstone National Park’s lower elevations on a moderate 8-mile loop that circles Garnet Hill, visits the Yellowstone River, and traverses bison-filled grasslands.

Trip Tools

Garnet Hill Loop is perfect for early or late season in Yellowstone. From the parking turnout on NE Entrance Road, cross the highway and start hiking on a well-defined trail that winds through Pleasant Valley, a rolling grassland speckled with sage and seasonal wildflowers. Give a wide berth to the herds of bison that graze the area, and scan the sagebrush-covered hills for elk and bison.

After a mile, the Yellowstone River appears for the first time—take in expansive views of the rugged Absaroka Mountains to the north and Specimen Ridge to the southwest. From here, the trail descends 2 miles to the Yellowstone River, passing a secluded valley perched on a grassy bench.

Drop your packs and take a quick break before starting the ascent up Elk Creek valley, a timbered, wildlife-rich drainage (you may spot signs of wolf activity). The loop finishes with a 1.8-mile stretch through Pleasant Valley and a 0.3-mile road walk back to the parking turnout.

GUIDEBOOK AND MAP Yellowstone Treasures, by Janet Chapple ($24,

CONDITIONS For current conditions and updates, go to

PERMIT Overnight camping in Yellowstone National Park requires a backcountry permit. Check out the latest fees and more details at

MORE PARK INFO Yellowstone National Park, (307) 344-7381;

FREE TRIP PLANNERS Get news on vacation deals and lodging at

-Mapped by Jason Kauffman

To Trailhead

From Tower Junction, WY, head northeast on NE Entrance Rd./US 212. Go 0.3 mile to a small turnout on the right (east) side of the road (big enough for several cars). Additional overflow parking is located at the service station just southwest of Tower Jun

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