Day Hikes Near Norris
This trail passes through a twice-burned lodgepole pine stand (1976 and 1988) and through nice meadows. The lake is long, narrow, and heavily wooded. It can be difficult to access beyond the trail end of the lake. Marshiness and mosquitos can make travel difficult early in the season. The lake is popular with anglers due to a strong population of small brook trout.
Trailhead:1 mile (1 km) south of Beaver Lake on the Mammoth-Norris road
Distance:4 miles (6 km) roundtrip
Level of difficulty:Moderate with some short, steep climbs and rolling terrain. A log jam crossing is required to continue past Grizzly Lake.
The trail follows Solfatara Creek for a short distance to the junction with Ice Lake Trail, it then parallels a power line for most of the way to Whiterock Springs. It climbs a short distance up to Lake of the Woods (difficult to find as it's off trail a bit) and passes Amphitheater Springs and Lemonade Creek (don't drink it). These are small, but pretty thermal areas in the otherwise non-descript lodgepole pine forest. The trail then continues on to meet the road. There is no trail connection back to the campground except the way you came. Parking a car at both ends is desirable. This is a good place to send folks who don't want to see many other hikers, but it can be under bear restrictions so check before you send people.
Trailhead: Beginning of Loop C in Norris Campground and 3/4 mile south of Beaver Lake Picnic Area on the Mammoth-Norris road
Distance: Campground to trailhead on the Mammoth-Norris road it is 13 miles (20 km) roundtrip
Level of Difficulty: Easy to moderate with one climb and descent of about 400 feet.
Ice Lake Trail (direct route)
Ice Lake is a lovely, small lake nestled in the thick lodgepole pine forest. Some of the area was heavily burned in 1988. Hikers can continue from Ice Lake to Wolf Lake, Grebe Lake, and Cascade Lake, and then on to Canyon.
Trailhead: 3.5 miles east of Norris on the Norris-Canyon road
Distance: 0.3 miles (0.5 km)
Level of Difficulty: Easy, handicapped accessible backcountry site on lake, may need assistance to reach lake due to some terrain level change
Wolf Lake Cut-off Trail
The trail follows the Gibbon River for at least 1 mile (1 km), passing Little Gibbon Falls. Dense, partially burned lodgepole pine forest is your main companion the rest of the way to Wolf Lake.
Trailhead: Big pull-out about 1/4 miles east of Ice Lake Trailhead on Canyon-Norris Road. There is no trailhead sign due to lack of regular maintenance on the trail, but orange markers can be seen once hikers cross the road from the trailhead.
Distance:6 miles (10 km) roundtrip; 1 mile (1.6 km) to junction with Wolf Lake Trail, then 2+ miles to Wolf Lake
Level of Difficulty: Moderate due to stream crossings and downfall; trail may be difficult to find at times
Cygnet Lakes Trail
This trail travels through intermittently burned lodgepole pine forest and past small marshy ephemeral ponds to the lush meadows surrounding Cygnet Lakes (small and boggy). Day use only! Trail not maintained beyond Cygnet Lakes.
Trailhead: Pullout on south side of Norris-Canyon road approximately 5.5 miles west of Canyon Junction
Distance: 8 miles (14.4 km) roundtrip
Level of Difficulty: Easy
This is one of the overlooked yet wonderful short hikes of Yellowstone. The trail winds across a wet meadow on boardwalk then enters a partially burned lodgepole pine forest. The thermal area within the short loop at the end of the trail contains some of the most colorful hot springs and small geysers found in the area. Two mudpots at the top of the hill allow closer access than Fountain Paint Pots. Caution for flying mud! Remind folks to stay on the trail throughout the area.
Trailhead: 4.5 miles south of Norris on the Norris-Madison road
Distance:1 mile (1 km) roundtrip
Level of Difficulty: Easy with one steep uphill/downhill section, trail erodes easily so may be rutted after rains
Monument Geyser Basin
This trail meanders along a gentle gradient following the Gibbon River then it turns sharply uphill and climbs 500 feet in 1/2 mile to the top of the mountain! Footing is on eroding geyserite and rhyolite, somewhat reminiscent of ball bearings. The geyser basin is a very interesting collection of dormant cones of varying sizes. One resembles a thermos bottle! Most of the activity here has dried up; hikers looking for exciting thermal activity will be disappointed, but those looking for adventure will find it. Remind folks to stay on trail!
Trailhead: 5 miles south of Norris Junction on the Norris-Madison road, just after Gibbon River Bridge
Distance: 2 miles (3 km)
Level of Difficulty: Deceptively easy, then difficult!
Did You Know?
There were no wolves in Yellowstone in 1994. The wolves that were reintroduced in 1995 and 1996 thrived and there are now over 300 of their descendents living in the Greater Yellowstone Area.