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.
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.
|When to do|
June through September
At parking lot and partway up the trail
Out and back
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.
Starting early is paramount for this hike. Climbing in the cool temperature makes the elevation gain feel a lot easier.
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