STORM POINT TRAIL

Trailhead: Pullout at Indian Pond, 3 miles east of Fishing Bridge Visitor Center
Distance: 2 mile (3 km) loop
Level of Difficulty: Easy

A view of Yellowstone Lake from the Storm Point Trail, looking to the southwest. By Bruce Gourley.

 

If you would like to get a good view of Yellowstone Lake off the beaten path, without expending much effort, this could be the trail for you. This easy trail starts at the Indian Pond parking area, meanders through a large open meadow where wildflowers and waterfowl are common (as well as bison), then drops into the tree line until you reach Storm Point. Storm Point is a windy projection of rock that juts out into Yellowstone Lake. The view is great, with Stevenson Island and Mount Sheridan being to the south. Also, there is a marmot colony on Storm Point. The critters are usually easy to spot and are fun to watch, especially for kids. You can go back the way you came, or head west down the sandy shores of Yellowstone Lake, following a trail that leads along the Lake and then into the woods to the west, bringing you back to your starting point after a total of about 4 miles of hiking. WARNING: This area is known for its grizzly activity, and the trail is often closed because of grizzlies. Check at the Lake or Fishing Bridge ranger station before setting out. Make noise as you hike.

PELICAN CREEK TRAIL

Trailhead: West end of Pelican Creek Bridge, 1 mile (1.5 km) east of Fishing Bridge Visitor Center
Distance: 1 mile (1.5 km) loop
Level of Difficulty: Easy

Yellowstone LakeThis very short but scenic trail passes through a forested area to the shore of Yellowstone Lake before looping back across the marsh along Pelican Creek to the trailhead.  The trail offers good bird watching, and bison frequent the area.

Photo: Yellowstone Lake by Bruce Gourley.

NATURAL BRIDGE TRAIL

Trailhead: Bridge Bay Marina parking lot near the campground entrance road
Distance: 3 miles (5 km) roundtrip
Level of Difficulty: Easy

The natural bridge is a 51 feet high cliff of rhyolite rock that has been cut through by the process of erosion in nearby Bridge Creek. The trail from the campground traverses a forested area for 1.2 mile before it joins the road and continues to the right (west) for 1 mile before reaching the Natural Bridge. A short but steep switchback trail to the top of the bridge starts in front of the interpretive exhibit. The top of the bridge is closed to hiking in order to protect the fragile rock. However, good views may be attained next to the bridge.

A bicycle trail to the bridge begins just south of the marina off the main road. The trail is closed from late spring to early summer due to bear management, as grizzlies feed on spawning trout in Bridge Creek during this time of year.

ELEPHANT BACK MOUNTAIN TRAIL

Trailhead: Pullout 1 mile (1.5 km) south of Fishing Bridge Junction
Distance: 3 mile (5 km) loop
Level of Difficulty: Moderately strenuous

This trail climbs 800 feet in 1-1/2 miles (2.4 km) through a dense lodgepole pine forest. After a mile, the trail splits into a loop. The left fork is the shortest and least strenuous route to the top. Although the ascent does not afford much in the way os scenery, the overlook at the end of the trail does provides a sweeping panoramic view of Yellowstone Lake and the surrounding area.

AVALANCHE PEAK TRAIL

Trailhead: West end of Eleanor Lake across the road to the east of the small creek
Distance: 5 miles (8 km) roundtrip
Level of Difficulty: Strenuous

This steep trail climbs 1,800 ft in 2.5 miles without the benefit of switchbacks, passing through a forested area and into an old avalanche slide area. It continues through a whitebark pine forest to a small meadow at the base of the bowl of Avalanche Peak, offering some of the most spectacular views in the park. The trail continues up a scree slope along the narrow ridgeline of Avalanche Peak, and an unmarked trail drops down the northeast side of the bowl and returns to the meadow. Whitepark pines are a source of food for grizzlies; be sure to check for any posted signs concerning grizzly activity.