BOOKS/MAPS: Select Peaks of Greater Yellowstone, by Tom Turiano ($45, indomitusbooks .com) and Hiking: Yellowstone National Park, by Bill Schneider ($17, falcon.com).
USGS TOPO QUADS: Lake Butte, Frank Island, Sylvan Lake, Trail Lake, Plenty Coups, and Eagle Peak ($8 each, store.usgs.gov)
SEASON: You can easily do this hike between July and early September, but the last half of July and first half of August are your best bet for windows of reliable weather and blooming flowers.
PERMITS: Required (free, $20 if reserved more than 48 hours in advance). Note: Getting approval for at-large camping in a spot this remote involves convincing skeptical rangers that you have what it takes to venture off the beaten track. Turiano recommends coming prepared with an annotated map and a trip resumé to establish your creds. He says, “If you can show the experience level to match the route—and this is not a beginner traverse—rangers will usually say, ‘OK, just follow LNT ethics and bear protocols,’ and send you on your way.”
MORE INFO: Yellowstone National Park, (307) 344-7381; nps.gov/yell/.
- Distance: 68.0
Location: 44.505764, -110.275354
Hike south from Lake Butte trailhead, paralleling the shores of Yellowstone Lake.
Location: 44.487719, -110.276899
Bear right at fork.
Location: 44.473726, -110.280161
Continue straight at 4-way junction. Continue south, passing Elk Point on the right in less than half a mile.
Location: 44.435557, -110.290546
Bear right toward Park Point.
Location: 44.426777, -110.286169
Turn right at cross Meadow Creek.
Location: 44.387642, -110.234284
Cross Alluvium Creek.
Location: 44.328576, -110.199695
The trail traces the edge of a marshy area that flanks the Yellowstone River.
Location: 44.298145, -110.153561
At the Cabin Creek Patrol Cabin, turn left/east and hike off-trail toward Colter Peak.
Location: 44.301708, -110.109637
Location: 44.303612, -110.081012
Turn right for out-and-back to tk.
Location: 44.29108, -110.058889
Head northeast toward the Table Mountain summit.
Location: 44.296118, -110.055242
Crest 11,065 foot Table Mountain. Next, descend to the saddle southeast of the summit, then ascend an unnamed highpoint.
Location: 44.289176, -110.049469
Crest an unnamed point. From here, descend back to the saddle, then traverse west back to Waypoint 11.
Location: 44.303612, -110.080798
Turn right, heading northeast.
Location: 44.308956, -110.076292
Start climb to the ridgeline.
Location: 44.317677, -110.068181
Follow the ridgeline north.
Location: 44.33269, -110.062151
Crest Mt. Humphreys and continue north.
Location: 44.342189, -110.071399
Crest Mt. Schurz and continue north.
Location: 44.37591, -110.067751
Location: 44.390249, -110.069468
Plenty Coups Peak
Location: 44.406868, -110.108843
Location: 44.452072, -110.143025
Top Notch Peak
Location: 44.466229, -110.130515
Route ends at E. Entrance Road/US 20 at Sylvan Pass.