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
- Distance: 33.2
Location: 44.932162, -110.728133
Bunsen Peak/Glen Creek Trailhead: Cross the road and follow Glen Creek to the northeast.
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.
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.
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.
Location: 44.978475, -110.78845
Veer away from the creek bed and enter the thick Douglas fir forest.
Location: 44.980517, -110.792895
Stay left @ fork toward Sportsman Lake, avoiding Cache Lake.
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.
Location: 44.973199, -110.810107
1G3 campsite on the left.
Location: 44.973394, -110.81208
1G4 campsite on the right.
Location: 44.974521, -110.811474
The 1G4 campsite is next to a stream at the edge of a small patch of grassland.
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.
Location: 44.988803, -110.823128
Pass through patchy woods before hitting the barren ridge up to the summit.
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.
Location: 44.994858, -110.830529
Cut left of the rock wall.
Location: 44.997298, -110.832294
Cross the second rock wall from right to left.
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.
Location: 45.002566, -110.835088
Cross the Wyoming-Montana border.
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.
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.
Location: 45.003499, -110.836129
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
Location: 44.959173, -110.747737
Location: 44.972893, -110.803053
Location: 44.973299, -110.808578
Location: 44.973201, -110.809629
Location: 44.978885, -110.811753
Location: 44.979407, -110.812286
Clouds Sweep the Summit
Location: 44.984987, -110.820894
Flanked by Firs
Location: 44.988819, -110.823019
Location: 44.990177, -110.8251
Location: 44.990541, -110.825658
Goat on the Slope
Location: 44.994092, -110.829735
Location: 44.994517, -110.830078
Foot of Electric Peak
Location: 44.99587, -110.831611
Location: 44.996672, -110.832084
Ram on the Rocks
Location: 44.996338, -110.83187
Location: 44.997005, -110.832181
Location: 44.998492, -110.832696
Location: 45.001202, -110.833503
Scaling the Scree
Location: 45.001599, -110.834219
Peak in Reach
Location: 45.001899, -110.834607
Location: 45.003101, -110.835657
Location: 45.003765, -110.836236
Base of Boulders
Location: 45.004129, -110.83673
Location: 45.004387, -110.836891
Location: 45.005278, -110.837486
Location: 45.004941, -110.837417
A Look Back
Location: 45.004725, -110.837224
Location: 45.003901, -110.836387