Yellowstone National Park: Grizzly Lake

On this 6.7-mile shuttle hike in Yellowstone National Park, you'll cruise through golden grasslands, tour the charred relics of the 1988 forest fires, and visit Grizzly Lake.
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On this 6.7-mile shuttle hike in Yellowstone National Park, you'll cruise through golden grasslands, tour the charred relics of the 1988 forest fires, and visit Grizzly Lake.

This quiet mountain lake in northwest Yellowstone is oftentimes overlooked by park visitors. Located roughly 20 minutes south of the North Entrance, the gentle, 6.7-mile shuttle hike winds through golden grasslands and the charred relics of trees burned in the 1988 forest fires. Drop a shuttle car at the Mount Holmes Trailhead before starting the hike at the Grizzly Lake Trailhead.
The trail reaches the grassy banks of Grizzly Lake after 2 miles. Take in the sparkling blue waters tucked between two ridges and scan the far hillsides for wildlife. From here, the path winds to the north, paralleling Straight Creek and Winter Creek. (Hikers can turn the trip into an overnight by camping at one of two idyllic campsites along these two creeks.) The route ends at the Mount Holmes Trailhead. Pick up your shuttle car and return to Grizzly Lake 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: 10.8

Waypoints

GRZ001

Location: 44.798896, -110.745232

Grizzly Lake Trailhead: Follow the trail north before crossing a small stream into an open meadow.

GRZ002

Location: 44.804341, -110.748882

Turn left at junction with Howard Eaton Trail and begin a switchback climb. Pass by the bare stalks of trees burned from the massive Yellowstone wildfires.

GRZ003

Location: 44.812242, -110.7596

Enter fragrant stands of Douglas fir.

GRZ004

Location: 44.815051, -110.764997

The first views of Grizzly Lake appear to the west. Begin the descent down to water level.

GRZ005

Location: 44.817208, -110.768484

Reach the grassy shores of Grizzly Lake, a finger-shaped lake tucked between two ridges. Take a moment to enjoy the deep blue waters that stretch out before you; keep an eye out for bears on the barren hillsides. Veer right to head around the northern tip of the lake.

GRZ006

Location: 44.817971, -110.76953

Water crossing: Cross in the shallows or maneuver across the log jam (make sure the logs are stable).

GRZ007

Location: 44.825728, -110.770125

Pass Campsite 1C1. Ahead: Travel between the hillside and Straight Creek.

GRZ008

Location: 44.834379, -110.766735

Pass the beautiful Campsite 1C2, which is located next to Straight Creek in a grove of trees.

GRZ009

Location: 44.836692, -110.766757

Cross Winter Creek and continue to travel through the valley to the flood plain.

GRZ010

Location: 44.841242, -110.765539

Veer right at the junction to Mount Holmes.

GRZ011

Location: 44.848605, -110.741351

Trail turns right, crossing Winter Creek again, and follows the contour of the hillside to the right. Follow the path across a small stream back to the road and your shuttle car.

GRZ012

Location: 44.838154, -110.732608

The route ends at the Mount Holmes Trailhead. Pick up your shuttle car and return to Grizzly Lake Trailhead.

Grizzly Lake Trailhead

Location: 44.798948, -110.74531

Squirrel

Location: 44.812227, -110.75945

Views of Grizzly Lake

Location: 44.815058, -110.764836

Deadfall

Location: 44.815679, -110.765292

Grizzly Lake

Location: 44.81686, -110.767987

The northern tip of Grizzly Lake.

Grizzly Lake

Location: 44.816957, -110.76837

Campsite

Location: 44.833636, -110.767695

Winter Creek

Location: 44.8367, -110.766639

Broken Sign

Location: 44.837576, -110.766752

Meadow

Location: 44.848505, -110.754226

Incoming Storm

Location: 44.848985, -110.742205