Perched on the edge of Sheepeater Canyon and Golden Gate Canyon near the Wyoming-Montana border, Bunsen Peak’s 8,564-foot summit reveals sweeping views across the northwest corner of Yellowstone National Park. From the Bunsen Peak Trailhead, turn left at the first trail junction to start the clockwise loop.
The first mile winds east across a sagebrush-dotted landscape to the base of Bunsen Peak. After 1.3 miles, the switchback climb begins up Bunsen’s northwest ridge—look to the north for the first views of Cathedral Rock, a towering rock formation. Crest the summit after 2 miles and stop to savor the views that stretch out in all directions. Electric Peak rises to the northwest, the Absaroka Range to the northeast, and Mount Holmes to the southwest.
From here, the trail zigzags down Bunsen’s northeast ridge toward Sheepeater Canyon. Turn south off the ridgeline near mile 4 to navigate around the base of the peak. The final 3.2 miles of the loop travel southwest through sagebrush grassland back to the trailhead.
MORE PARK INFO: Yellowstone National Park, (307) 344-7381; nps.gov/yell/.
-Mapped by Jeff Chow
- Distance: 11.3
Location: 44.932145, -110.727725
From the parking lot, turn left onto Bunsen Peak Trail, heading east. Ahead, the climbing gradually becomes steeper.
Location: 44.9337875, -110.7243562
Pass views of Golden Gate (named for the golden-hued rocks flanking the road).
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Look southwest across Swan Lake to views of the majestic Gallatin Range. Prepare for the switchback climb ahead.
Location: 44.9341445, -110.7093894
Maneuver up the loose, rocky terrain (trekking poles recommended).
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Hike past the radio hut and tower on this false peak.
Location: 44.932161, -110.706995
Crest 8,564-foot Bunsen Peak, named after Robert Bunsen who conducted early research on geysers, and invented the Bunsen burner. Enjoy the 360-degree views of the park, and look for the register in the metal box.
Location: 44.934342, -110.693602
Trail enters sparse forest. Continue the steep descent on numerous switchbacks.
Location: 44.9369926, -110.687052
Turn right (south) to head around the base of the peak.
Location: 44.9229406, -110.7020617
Veer right at Bunsen Peak Loop Road to continue on the double track dirt road.
Location: 44.922716, -110.709402
Pass the Sheepeater Trail on left, which leads to Sheepeater Canyon.
Location: 44.922002, -110.719759
Pass a small green lake on the left-hand side of the trail. Ahead, continue hiking northwest to complete the loop at the parking lot.
Views from Bunsen Peak
Location: 44.9312963, -110.7065034
Bunsen Peak Trailhead
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Views from Bunsen Peak Trail
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Look to the north for a view to the town of Mammoth and further to Gardiner, Montana.
View near Cathedral Rock
Location: 44.9353521, -110.7114065
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An assortment of notes from previous hikers sits at the peak in an old metal box.
Location: 44.9321545, -110.7069165
Sunset on Bunsen Peak
Location: 44.9311975, -110.7064605