Yellowstone National Park: Electric Peak

This 20.6-mile out-and-back in the northern reaches of Yellowstone National Park culminates with panoramic views from the rocky crown of Electric Peak.
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This 20.6-mile out-and-back in the northern reaches of Yellowstone National Park culminates with panoramic views from the rocky crown of Electric Peak.

Featuring a memorable mix of plains, peaks, and wildlife, this 20.6-mile trek scales the scree-laden slopes of Electric Peak for unobstructed views across Yellowstone National Park. The route begins on the south side of Kingman Pass at Glen Creek Trailhead and travels east through the sagebrush grasslands. (Keep an eye out for grizzly and bison that roam the area.)
Cruise past a few trail junctions and remain on the path that points directly for the pyramid-shaped Electric Peak. Past the plains, the trail continues up a small river valley and then ducks into a thick forest of Douglas fir. At mile 6, continue straight at a 3-way junction to spend the night at campsite 1G3 or 1G4.
Next day: Backtrack to the 3-way junction and turn left to tackle the climb up Electric Peak. Near the summit, veer left at a noticeable notch to bypass a crumbling fin of rock and traverse the loose scree at its base. After 10.3 miles, the route crests Electric Peak. Gaze out across Yellowstone National Park; look south for views of the Tetons. Follow the same route back 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 Jeff Chow

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 33.2

Waypoints

ELE001

Location: 44.932162, -110.728133

Bunsen Peak/Glen Creek Trailhead: Cross the road and follow Glen Creek to the northeast.

ELE002

Location: 44.933594, -110.731829

Continue straight at the trailhead sign and junction with Howard Eaton Trail, heading northwest. The trail travels toward the Electric Peak massif.

ELE003

Location: 44.95606, -110.74499

Stay left @ fork toward Sportsman Lake, then continue straight at the next two junctions with Snowpass Trail. Enter the Glen Creek Valley dotted by spruce as you begin the gentle climb.

ELE004

Location: 44.967116, -110.755213

Cross the small stream at the dip in the trail before reaching the junction with Sepulcher Mountain Trail. Stay left toward Sportsman Lake @ fork. Cross the meadow and enter the lodgepole pine forest.

ELE005

Location: 44.978475, -110.78845

Veer away from the creek bed and enter the thick Douglas fir forest.

ELE006

Location: 44.980517, -110.792895

Stay left @ fork toward Sportsman Lake, avoiding Cache Lake.

ELE007

Location: 44.972472, -110.803857

At the junction with S.E. Electric Peak Trail, continue straight to the campsites; return here in the morning to begin your summit attempt. Heading up the mountain you will walk from forest to field and back.

ELE008

Location: 44.973199, -110.810107

1G3 campsite on the left.

ELE009

Location: 44.973394, -110.81208

1G4 campsite on the right.

ELE010

Location: 44.974521, -110.811474

The 1G4 campsite is next to a stream at the edge of a small patch of grassland.

ELE011

Location: 44.982065, -110.819006

The warm-up is over as the trail makes an abrupt turn up the steep ridge. From here on out it's an upwards hike on the edge of grass and trees.

ELE012

Location: 44.988803, -110.823128

Pass through patchy woods before hitting the barren ridge up to the summit.

ELE013

Location: 44.990845, -110.825829

Cross over the soft, sandy soil to the next ridgeline. From here, it's a straight shot up the peak.

ELE014

Location: 44.994858, -110.830529

Cut left of the rock wall.

ELE015

Location: 44.997298, -110.832294

Cross the second rock wall from right to left.

ELE016

Location: 45.001114, -110.833629

Take a short rest on this small ledge. An outcrop to the east is a popular hang-out for mountain goats.

ELE017

Location: 45.002566, -110.835088

Cross the Wyoming-Montana border.

ELE018

Location: 45.00331, -110.836086

Prepare for challenging terrain ahead. Do not climb over the rock fin that towers above the route; veer left at a noticeable notch and traverse the scree field at the base of the fin.

ELE019

Location: 45.005282, -110.837556

Electric Peak Summit: From this Montana summit, gaze out across Yellowstone National Park; views stretch south to the Tetons. Follow the same route back to the trailhead.

Electric Peak

Location: 45.003499, -110.836129

Trailhead

Location: 44.932162, -110.727993

The Distant Peak

Location: 44.933541, -110.731738

Traversing the Trail

Location: 44.933679, -110.731929

Plains Before Peaks

Location: 44.934507, -110.733005

Entering the Forest

Location: 44.958816, -110.747423

Sprawling Grassland

Location: 44.959173, -110.747737

Trail Sign

Location: 44.972893, -110.803053

Trail Views

Location: 44.973299, -110.808578

Campground Sign

Location: 44.973201, -110.809629

Electric Peak

Location: 44.978885, -110.811753

Misty Peak

Location: 44.979407, -110.812286

Clouds Sweep the Summit

Location: 44.984987, -110.820894

Flanked by Firs

Location: 44.988819, -110.823019

Trail Views

Location: 44.990177, -110.8251

The Approach

Location: 44.990541, -110.825658

Goat on the Slope

Location: 44.994092, -110.829735

Family Outing

Location: 44.994517, -110.830078

Foot of Electric Peak

Location: 44.99587, -110.831611

Rest

Location: 44.996672, -110.832084

Ram on the Rocks

Location: 44.996338, -110.83187

Stare Down

Location: 44.997005, -110.832181

Forest Below

Location: 44.998492, -110.832696

Fin

Location: 45.001202, -110.833503

Scaling the Scree

Location: 45.001599, -110.834219

Peak in Reach

Location: 45.001899, -110.834607

Slick Slope

Location: 45.003101, -110.835657

Misty Monolith

Location: 45.003765, -110.836236

Base of Boulders

Location: 45.004129, -110.83673

Frosted Footing

Location: 45.004387, -110.836891

Summit Views

Location: 45.005278, -110.837486

The Descent

Location: 45.004941, -110.837417

A Look Back

Location: 45.004725, -110.837224

Cloud Shroud

Location: 45.003901, -110.836387