Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
This mellow 5.7-miler climbs a quiet access road to a lookout tower at the top of the 10,243-foot Mount Washburn. From the trailhead, head south on Chittenden Road for a steady climb up Washburn’s north ridge. As you hike, scan the surrounding slopes for bighorn sheep and vibrant wildflowers. At mile 0.9, crest a ridge and head southeast toward an unnamed 9,664-foot summit. From here, the trail leaves the ridge and cuts across the mountain’s open slopes. One mile later, the road switchbacks to left, heading east for a 300-yard stretch, then turns to the south for the final 0.8-mile stretch to the summit and lookout tower. At the top, take time to visit the interpretive center and the observation deck (both located in the tower), before retracing your route to the trailhead.
MORE PARK INFO: Yellowstone National Park, (307) 344-7381; nps.gov/yell/
-Mapped by the National Park Service
- Distance: 4.6
Location: 44.8245201, -110.4445724
Follow Chittenden Road to the south. The gravel road climbs up Mount Washburn’s north ridge.
Location: 44.8168945, -110.442421
Follow the road as it curves to the southwest and wraps around the ridge. Scan open slopes for bighorn sheep and vibrant wildflowers.
Location: 44.8137283, -110.4393921
Crest the ridge, then head southeast toward an unnamed 9,664-foot summit.
Location: 44.8097343, -110.4362488
Trail leaves the ridge and cuts across the slopes below the unnamed summit. Keep climbing.
Location: 44.8017807, -110.4391556
Follow the hairpin turn to the left, heading east for a 300-yard stretch.
Location: 44.8021164, -110.4359131
Hike south up Mount Washburn’s northern slopes. The summit and lookout tower rise in front of you. Only 0.8 mile of climbing remains.
Location: 44.7977982, -110.4324417
The road switchbacks to the right 100 yards below the summit.
Location: 44.7975693, -110.4338684
Mount Washburn (10,243 ft.): Mountainous views surround you on this open summit. An interpretive center and an observation deck are located in the lookout tower. Retrace route to trailhead.