This picturesque, 14.4-mile hike in Yellowstone National Park traverses the vast meadows where members of the fleeing Nez Perce tribe captured park visitors in the summer of 1877. Forced from their lands by the ensuing U.S. Army, the Nez Perce abducted a total of 25 Yellowstone visitors to obtain supplies for their flight north to Canada.
From the trailhead, hike east through open meadows dotted with grazing bison. The trail skirts several thermal features and the meandering Nez Perce Creek—home to rainbow and brown trout. About 2 miles in, cross the creek on a rustic bridge, then hop over Magpie Creek 2.5 miles later. From here, continue east another 2.2 miles to Cowan Creek, named for George and Emma Cowan, two of the visitors abducted by the Nez Perce. Soak up the scenery, then turn around for the return trip to the trailhead.
PERMIT: Overnight camping in Yellowstone National Park requires a backcountry permit. Check out the latest fees and more details at nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/backcountryhiking.htm.
MORE PARK INFO: Yellowstone National Park, (307) 344-7381; nps.gov/yell/.
-Mapped by Jason Kauffman