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
- Distance: 10.8
Location: 44.798896, -110.745232
Grizzly Lake Trailhead: Follow the trail north before crossing a small stream into an open meadow.
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.
Location: 44.812242, -110.7596
Enter fragrant stands of Douglas fir.
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The first views of Grizzly Lake appear to the west. Begin the descent down to water level.
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.
Location: 44.817971, -110.76953
Water crossing: Cross in the shallows or maneuver across the log jam (make sure the logs are stable).
Location: 44.825728, -110.770125
Pass Campsite 1C1. Ahead: Travel between the hillside and Straight Creek.
Location: 44.834379, -110.766735
Pass the beautiful Campsite 1C2, which is located next to Straight Creek in a grove of trees.
Location: 44.836692, -110.766757
Cross Winter Creek and continue to travel through the valley to the flood plain.
Location: 44.841242, -110.765539
Veer right at the junction to Mount Holmes.
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.
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
Location: 44.812227, -110.75945
Views of Grizzly Lake
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The northern tip of Grizzly Lake.
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