The Hoodoos Trail

Difficulty
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Moderate
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
2-3h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
8.5 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
247 m
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Directions to Trailhead
The Hoodoos Trail

The Hoodoos Trail is a fascinating hike in Yellowstone National Park. This moderately challenging trail takes you through the site of an ancient landslide that formed hoodoo-like towers of limestone boulders. This trail is a good route for lightly experienced hikers and families with older children.

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Route Description for The Hoodoos Trail

The Hoodoos Trail is a neat hike in the northeastern corner of Yellowstone National Park. This trail does not have much shade, so be sure to wear a good sunhat and layer on the sunscreen before heading out. Although this hike is not long, bring more water than you think you’ll need. Nothing will ruin your hike like sunburn and dehydration. As with any hike in Yellowstone, be bear aware on your adventure: carry bear spray, know how to use it, and make sure everyone in your hiking party is family with bear safety protocols before hitting the trails.

Although the hoodoos of Yellowstone National Park are not real hoodoos in the geologic sense, these formations are intriguing and impressive in their own rite. These large stacks of limestone boulders were formed after a landslide from nearby Terrace Mountain. A hike through the hoodoos offers so much to see and explore and is a great way to spend the afternoon discovering the wonders of Yellowstone National Park.

To hike the Hoodoos Trail, begin at the Bunsen Peak Trailhead, cross Grand Loop Road and follow the Fawn Path Trail west for a quarter of a mile to a divide. At the divide, take the path on your right and follow the trail northeast to the Hoodoos. Travel the trail and take your time exploring these unique geological formations. Approximately 4.3 km from the trailhead, you will reach a junction of several trails. This marks the turn-around point for the Hoodoos Trail. From here, simply retrace your steps back through the hoodoos to the Bunsen Peak Trailhead, where you began.

If you are looking for more to explore in the area, check out the Bunsen Peak Trail.

Trail Highlights

The Hoodoos

The hoodoos of Yellowstone National Park are, in fact, not actually hoodoos. Like those found in Bryce Canyon National Park, real hoodoos are formed by the erosion of soft rock topped with caps of hard, erosion-resistant rock. This erosion causes odd pinnacles and towers with irregular shapes to form. The “hoodoos” of Yellowstone National Park are named just for their resemblance to actual hoodoos. These “hoodoos” were not caused by erosion but by a landslide. Hundreds of years ago, a landslide on nearby Terrace Mountain caused these large limestone boulders to crowd and stack on top of each other to create the hoodoo-like formations we see today.

Insider Hints for The Hoodoos Trail

  • This hike can get overgrown in some places, bring a map to help with route-finding
  • Keep an eye out for elk along the trail
  • Bring along a flashlight to explore all the nooks and crannies of the Yellowstone hoodoos

Getting to the The Hoodoos Trail Trailhead

This hike begins at the Bunsen Peak Trailhead on the east side of Grand Loop Road, approximately 6.1 km south of the Mammoth Hot Springs and Visitors Center in Yellowstone National Park.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    No

  • When to do

    April to October

  • Pets allowed

    No

  • Family friendly

    Older Children only

  • Route Signage

    Poor

  • Crowd Levels

    Low

  • Route Type

    Out and back

The Hoodoos Trail Elevation Graph

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