• An aerial view of Old Faithful erupting taken from Observation Point with the Old Faithful Inn to the side.


    National Park ID,MT,WY

Day Hikes Near Madison

Begin your hike by stopping at a ranger station or visitor center for information. Trail conditions may change suddenly and unexpectedly. Bear activity, rain or snow storms, high water, and fires may temporarily close trails.

Purple Mountain

This trail ascends through intermittent burned lodgepole pine forest and ends with a nice view of the Firehole Valley and lower Gibbon Valley; some views of the Madison Junction area are also visible. Close to Madison Campground.

Trailhead:1/4 mile north of Madison Junction on the Madison-Norris road, limited parking
Distance: 6 miles (10 km) roundtrip
Level of Difficulty: Moderate with steady climb of 1,500 feet

Harlequin Lake
This is a gentle ascent through burned lodgepole pines to a small, marshy lake popular with mosquitos and waterfowl (but not harlequin ducks). Nice quick hike to escape the road for a little bit.

Trailhead:1.5 miles west of Madison Campground on the West Entrance road
Distance: 1 mile (1 km) roundtrip
Level of Difficulty: Easy

Two Ribbons Trail
This is a completely boardwalked trail that winds through burned lodgepole pine and sagebrush communities next to the Madison River. Good examples of fire recovery and regrowth as well as buffalo wallows. There are no interpretive signs or brochures other than the wayside exhibits at the trailheads.

Trailhead: Approximately 5 miles east of the West Entrance, no marked trailhead, look for wayside exhibits next to boardwalk in large pull-outs
Distance: Approximately 1.5 miles (2 km) roundtrip
Level of Difficulty: Easy, mostly accessible

Gallatin Area
There are many excellent hiking opportunities in the Gallatin area (Gallatin National Forest homepage). Most of these, however, are longer and steeper than the average day hike. They include Daily Creek, the Sky Rim, Black Butte, Specimen Creek, Crescent Lake/High Lake, Sportsman Lake, Bighorn Pass and Fawn Pass. For more information, consult a Visitor Center or one of the hiking trail guides available from the Yellowstone Association. Books, maps and other items are available for purchase online at the association's bookstore. Proceeds help support park programs and services.

Did You Know?

Bear Cubs

Even though the animals of Yellowstone seem tame they are still wild. Feeding the animals is not permitted in any way, and all visitors must keep 100 yards away from wolves and bears, and 25 yards from other animals.