Beaver Ponds Trail (Yellowstone National Park)

One of the best hikes in Yellowstone National Park is the Beaver Ponds Trail which begins at the Mammoth Hot Spring Hotel.  This is a great day hike in Yellowstone National Park which we had the chance to do on a recent family trip to Yellowstone National Park. The Beaver Ponds Hiking Trail is a great hike near the Mammoth Hot Springs area of Yellowstone National Park that the whole family can enjoy together. For more pictures check out our Facebook Page.

Directions to Trailhead: The Beaver Ponds Trail is located right near the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel. The trailhead is located just below the main hot springs by the Liberty Cap. The hiking trail is located on the north edge of the thermal area. There is ample parking near the Mammoth Hot Springs thermal area, so parking should not be an issue. The other option is to use the trailhead that is located in the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel Cabin area. Since this is a loop hike you will finish at either one of these two locations and will walk through the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel area to get back to your car. This is a great hike to do if you are staying at Mammoth Hot Springs. Click Here for a map of Yellowstone National Park. There is an entrance fee for Yellowstone National Park, but no permit is required to hike the Beaver Ponds Trail in Yellowstone National Park.

Description of Hike: When we hiked the Beaver Ponds Trail, we found that the actual trail itself was in great shape. It is a well maintained and well marked dirt hiking trail. The Beaver Ponds hike is a total of 5.1 miles roundtrip with approximately 350 feet of elevation change. It is a fun day hike to do in Yellowstone. You have an excellent chance of seeing Elk, Bison, and Black Bear while on this hike. There are multiple game trails which the Beaver Ponds Trail crosses. Make sure to have your camera ready to take pictures of wildlife. The loop goes by 5 individual ponds and offers a great chance to view waterfowl.

Further Thoughts: This was a family trip to Yellowstone National Park which Ashley was not able to attend because she was finishing her finals at school. We saw plenty of animals while hiking on this trail. We saw a herd of Elk as well as a small heard of about 10 Bison. We had to wait 15 minutes while on this hike waiting for the Bison to cross the Beaver Ponds trail. We saw a couple of deer as well as a beaver at the Beaver Ponds. This area of the park offers great wildlife viewing opportunities.

The Beaver Ponds consist of several marshy lakes graced by cattails and a few lily pads. There are several small ponds in this area with the largest of them being several acres big. Make sure to be on the lookout for beavers in this area. We did have the opportunity to see one and take its picture.

This hike offers sweeping views of the Gardner River Valley as well as the Absaroka Mountain Range to the north in Montana. It was also neat to start this hike in the state of Wyoming and cross into Montana to see the Beaver Ponds and then cross back into Wyoming.

When you are doing this hike the elevation gain is primarily one way. If you start the hike at the Mammoth Hot Springs thermal features you gain the bulk of your elevation quickly over the next mile and a half. The good thing is that it is relatively downhill the rest of the way. However, if you start the hike at the trailhead near the Mammoth Hot Spring Hotel Cabins the hike gradually gains elevation over 3.5 – 4 miles.

Yellowstone National Park is such an amazing area to go hiking. It offers unparallel opportunities to view geothermal features as well as the opportunity to see wildlife. This is a great hike in our nation’s first National Park.

Rating: Elevation Gain: 350 ft. (Easy), Distance: 5.1 Miles Roundtrip (Easy - Moderate).

Time to Complete Hike: 2.5 – 3.5 hours.

Artists Paintpots

Beaver Ponds Trail (This Post)


  1. hello during the summer of 2011 i went on a road trip and me and my dad visited yellow stone. i thought it was the most beautiful place ever. i am a huge nature freak so when we headed towards mammoth springs i heard about this great hiking trail it was called beaver pond trail. i decided to take the trail and i loved the entire trail. i have to admit i love the photos you took i can remember seeing the exact same scenes. good work

  2. Great description of the trail. I think this is a great trail for families also. I also start this trail from the Liberty Cap area. Last time I was there, I saw sandhill cranes, blue grouse, and several other birds. I scared up some elk and deer too as I was going along the path.


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