Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lost Lake Hike (Yellowstone National Park)

The Lost Lake Hike is a great hike to a secluded 6 acre lake that is hidden away from the main roads in Yellowstone National Park and is only accessible through a hike. The Lost Lake Hike offers some amazing scenery to those who undertake this adventure in Yellowstone National Park. This is a spectacular day hike that the whole family will enjoy and it is well worth the trip.

Directions to Trailhead: To get to the trailhead for the Lost Lake Hike, from Tower Junction drive south toward the Roosevelt Lodge. If you are coming from Mammoth Hot Springs, head north toward the Roosevelt Lodge. Park near the Roosevelt Lodge. It is the same parking lot with the restrooms and recycling stations just short of the gas station there at Tower Junction. Walk past the gate up the road all the way to the Roosevelt Lodge. Do not turn, continue straight up to the road and on the back side of the Roosevelt Lodge you will run into the trailhead, it is not visible from the front side of the Roosevelt. Click Here for an interactive map of Yellowstone National Park. There is an entrance fee for Yellowstone National Park, but no permit is required to hike to Lost Lake.

Description of Trail: The hiking trail to get to Lost Lake was in great shape when we did this hike, except towards the end of the loop when the trail got confusing to follow due to the construction of the new ranger station near the Roosevelt Lodge. Other than that, the trail was in great shape and for most of the hike you are in the back country of Yellowstone National Park. The hike is 2.8 miles roundtrip and has about 300 feet of elevation gain to it. Lost lake is a beautiful mountain lake that covers roughly 6 acres. To reach the lake from the trailhead you head up a series of switchbacks from the Roosevelt Lodge. At the crest of the hill you have a choice to go right or left on the trail (there is a trail sign there as well), make a right and head to Lost Lake. The trail is a loop and you will end up coming right back to the Roosevelt Lodge. Another point of interest along this hike is the petrified tree that is about halfway around the loop.

Further Thoughts: This was probably the most enjoyable hike for myself while at Yellowstone National Park during this most recent trip. It was great for several reasons. First, was because of the elk and bison we saw while on the hike. Second, was because while we were hiking it began to snow a little from a thunderstorm that was on top of Mt. Washburn. Lastly, the views of the hike combined with the clouds of the thunderstorm on top of Mt. Washburn were spectacular. You will not be disappointed with the scenery this hike offers.

Lost Lake was very pleasant and while we were there, we noticed wolf tracks in the mud. They were very big canine tracks. One thing that is great about this hike is the views of the valley when you begin to come back down toward the Roosevelt Lodge. It is a great place to take pictures and to take in the sweeping views of the area. Lastly, we also saw a marmot on the hike. It was one of several marmots we saw while hiking in this area. Black bears are also known to frequent this area from time to time. Note, there is no fishing in Lost Lake. Bottom-line, this is a fun short hike in Yellowstone National Park.

Rating: Elevation Gain: 300 ft. (Easy), Distance: 2.8 Miles Roundtrip (Easy).

Time to Complete Hike: 1.5 - 2 hours.


View Lost Lake in a larger map

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Boiling River Hike (Yellowstone National Park)

The Boiling River hike is one of the more popular hikes in Yellowstone National Park. It is a fun short hike that everyone in the family can do while visiting Yellowstone National Park. It follows the scenic Gardner River and goes to an area that you are allowed to swim in where hot water mixes with the cool water fron the Gardner River. Make sure to bring your swim trunks on this fun short hike in Yellowstone National Park as the reward is swimming in the Gardner River where a hot spring mixes with the cold river water.

Directions to Trailhead: To get to the trailhead to hike to the Boiling River, from the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel drive north to Gardner, Montana (The north exit of the park). In about 2 miles the trailhead parking area is on both your right and left hand sides. The Boiling River Hike actually starts on the right hand side. If you have passed the sign talking about being at the 45th parallel you have gone too far. This is a popular trail and you will likely see other people parked at the trailhead as it is popular. The Boiling River trail is open from 5am to 9pm. Click Here for an interactive map of Yellowstone National Park. There is an entrance fee for Yellowstone National Park, but no permit is required to hike to the Boiling River.

Description of Trail: The Boiling River trail is well maintained and is virtually flat for the whole hike. This is a popular hiking trail for Yellowstone National Park visitors and it is a short hike that is easy for the whole family. It is only a half a mile to the swimming hole, or a one mile roundtrip hike. There is also a vaulted restroom at the trailhead. Even though it is a short trail, remember it is still in the heart of Yellowstone and you can encounter wildlife at anytime while hiking this trail. The swimming hole has benches to sit on for those that do not wish to get into the water. Getting in the river is about finding the right balance of hot and cold water. The river itself is cold and the several streams of water coming from the hot spring are very hot. It is about finding the balance between hot and cold and when you do the water is great. Obviously only people that can swim should get into the water. Additionally, during periods of high snow melt this hiking trail closes because the river can get too swollen with water. Additionally, Soap (including biodegradable), food, and beverages are not allowed in the hot springs and this goes without saying, no nudity.

Further Thoughts: The boiling river hike was a great short hike in Yellowstone National Park. The hiking trail follows the Gardner River and you are rewarded with great views and the sounds of the river right beside you. On this trail we saw a 7 foot gopher snake which was pretty cool and there was plenty of evidence that Bison and Elk like to use the trail as well. An interesting fact about the trail is that it begins at the 45th parallel of latitude which is exactly half way between the equator and the North Pole.

Because of the popularity of the hike, the park service has prohibited pets, bicycles, soap, beverages or food on the trail. I would also suggest changing into your swimming attire before you head out to the trailhead and make sure to bring a towel because it can be cold when you get out of the water. The Gardner River does have a strong current, so if you have kids that are going to be swimming in the river watch them carefully so they don't leave the swimming area and go into the Gardner River.

The Boiling River (which does not boil) is created by a massive discharge of hot water from a local hot spring. The discharge of hot water is a couple feet deep and about 6 feet wide. It mixes with the Gardner River in two locations and creates two good locations to get into the water and enjoy this unique thermal feature. This spot is a local favorite and people have been coming here to swim for a long time.

Rating: Elevation Gain: minimal (Very Easy), Distance: 1 Mile Roundtrip (Very Easy).

Time to Complete Hike:  20 - 30 minutes, plus however long you stay to enjoy the water.


Boiling River (This Post)

View Boiling River (Yellowstone NP) in a larger map

Friday, May 21, 2010

Yellowstone Wildlife Pictures

I have had the chance to visit Yellowstone National Park in 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2013 (With Ashley).  Yellowstone National Park is a must visit for anyone. It is a national park that is overflowing with wildlife and May - June is a great time to visit Yellowstone National Park to see the over abundance of wildlife in the park. This section is a collection of pictures from the four trips listed above. While in Yellowstone, every time we have gone we have seen grizzlies, black bears, wolves, herds of elk, herds of bison, big horn sheep, herds of prong horn antelope, coyotes, marmots and much much more! Bottom-line is if you have never been to Yellowstone National Park it is time to book your trip. Great Hiking + amazing wildlife + being on top of a super volcano = a great time. Below are a small sample of the pictures of Animals we saw while on our trips. 

Grizzly and Cub
Two Grizzly Bears
Grizzly Eating Dead Bison (Taken Through Spotting Scope)
Fox near its Den
Big Horn Sheep
More Big Horn Sheep
More Big Horn Sheep
Wolf with a radio Collar (There is an elk the wolf pack injured and drove into the lake)
The Elk with the Wolf in the corner
The injured Elk
Mother Moose and Baby
Black Bear
Rosy the Black Bear and 2 Cubs
An unfortunate Elk
Pronghorn Antelope
Pronghorn Antelope
Male Pronghorn
A Marmot
7 foot Snake
3 Bald Eagles
Mom and Baby Elk
Mom Black Bear and Two Cinnamon Cubs
American Badger
Baby Bison
American Badger and Cub
Pronghorn Antelope
Wolf  and Bison
Heard of Bison Running Off Wolf
Bighorn Sheep