Avalanche Peak

Yellowstone
View Photos

Avalanche Peak

Distance: 5.0mi
Elevation: 2,297ft
Time: 3-5h

Difficulty Rating:

The trail up to Avalanche Peak is one of the highlights of walking in Yellowstone National Park. The hike up is steep, but it all becomes worth it at the top, where plentiful mountain views and gorgeous alpine valleys fill the horizon.

Getting there

Drive towards the east entrance to the park. From Fishing Bridge (the north end of Yellowstone Lake), drive 27km to the east towards Cody, Wyoming. After you pass Sylvan Lake, but before you pass Eleanor Lake, the signs for the trailhead will direct you to park on your right. Here there is limited parking and picnic tables. The trailhead is directly across the road from the parking lot.

About

When to do

June through September

Backcountry Campsites

No

Toilets

At parking lot and partway up the trail

Family friendly

No

Route Signage

Average

Crowd Levels

Moderate

Route Type

Out and back


Elevation


Detailed Description

This entire trail is very steep. Right from the beginning you will start climbing. Initially you travel through a densely-wooded forest, passing through several small meadows. Around halfway through the climb you will reach a small plateau where you will be able to see your objective up to the left – a long rocky ridge.

The trail veers to the left and continues to climb. Here you will encounter some scree, so take care. You will shortly come to the southern side of the ridge leading to Avalanche Peak. You’re not done yet, however the rest of the trail is mostly flat.

Continue along the ridge until you reach the northern tip of the crest and bask in the beautiful views that expand in every direction. Across the valley to the southeast you will be able to see Hoyt Peak, and the cirque that extends beyond it. Looking back the way you came, you will be able to spot Grizzly Peak directly across Sylvan Lake, and Top Notch Peak directly to the south. Across the plain to the west you will be able to spot the massive Yellowstone Lake expanding into the horizon.

The best views are north, of Silvertip Peak and the range of mountains that extend to its east. Don’t worry; people have made wind shelters at the top so you can prolong your stay. Bring a warm coat and a windbreaker. Return the way you came.

Insider Hints

  • Starting early is paramount for this hike. Climbing in the cool temperature makes the elevation gain feel a lot easier.

Similar adventures

South Rim

Difficulty:
2.8mi
656ft
1.5-2.5h

The South Rim is our favorite way to view the incredible Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, providing a variety of…

Brink of the Lower Falls

Difficulty:
1.2mi
328ft
0.5-1h

The Lower Brink of Yellowstone Falls trail is a steep climb down to the viewpoint of the Grand Canyon of…

Upper Geyser Basin

Difficulty:
5.1mi
623ft
2-3h

One of the classic hikes in Yellowstone National Park, you cannot miss the Upper Geyser Basin trail. Starting at Old…