Last updated: April 12, 2021
Information Kiosk/Bulletin Board, Toilet - Vault/Composting, Trailhead
This is a popular backcountry trailhead, from which you can adventure along one trail:
- Heart Lake Trail
Heart Lake Trail
A moderate 17.4-mile (28-km) one-way trail that leads past thermal areas and to Heart Lake. Heart Lake is about 7.2 miles along the trail from the north end of the trail and 10.2 miles from the junction with the South Boundary Trail. NOTE: Due to bear activity, this trail is closed from April 1 through June 30.
Permit required for fishing, boating, riding, and overnight camping. More information at the Center Backcountry Office: (307) 344-2160.
Hike in groups of 3 or more; keep your group together. Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return. Know your route, carry a map, and be able to navigate. Do not hike after dark. Stay on established trails; off-trail travel prohibited in thermal areas.
Fishing and Boating
Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) inspection required for all watercraft including boats, float tubes, and stand up paddle boards. Felt soles prohibited.
Riding and Packing
Proof of negative Coggins test within last 12 months required.
Food Storage and Camping
These regulations apply to ALL backcountry users. Sleep 100 yards (91 m) from your food storage and cooking areas. Do not leave food, trash, toiletries, backpacks, coolers, water bottles, or any potential attractant unattended. Store food in an approved bear resistant container or hang on a food pole 10 feet (3 m) above the ground and 4 feet (1 m) from sides. Carry a minimum of 35 feet (11 m) of rope. Campfires allowed only in designated campsites within established fire rings. Extinguish campfires completely before leaving site.
Follow LEAVE NO TRACE travel and camping techniques. Enjoy the backcountry and help keep it clean for others to enjoy. Bury human waste and toilet tissue in a 6–8 inch (15–18 cm) deep “cat hole” at least 100 feet (30 m) from water and trails.
Park waters are swift and cold. Swimming in park rivers is not recommended. River crossings are hazardous.
During thunderstorms, descend to lower elevation, avoid open areas and isolated tall trees. Assume lightning position: feet together, crouch on foam pad or sit on pack, hands over ears.
- Leave What You Find: Do not collect anything from the park.
- No Pets: No pets on trail. Obtain service animal regulations at backcountry offices.
- No Hunting: No hunting or discharge of firearms.
- No Motorized Vehicles: No motorized vehicles on trails.
- Wheeled Vehicles Restricted: No bicycles, strollers, or wheeled vehicles (except wheelchairs), except where specified.
In an emergency, dial 9-1-1 or contact the nearest ranger station.
Animals are Dangerous
- Do not approach or feed any animal.
- Bison and elk have injured people.
- Stay 100 yards (91 m) from bears and wolves.
- Stay 25 yards (23 m) from all other animals.
Be Prepared for a Bear Encounter
Grizzly and black bears inhabit all of Yellowstone National Park.
Be Alert: Watch for signs of bear activity: scratches in trees, tracks, scat, or dig sites. Avoid dead animals.
Make Noise: Avoid surprising a bear by calling out and clapping your hands at regular intervals to make your presence known.
Carry Bear Spray: Carry bear spray and know how to use it. Keep it immediately available, not inside your pack.
Hike in Groups: Travel in groups of 3 or more is recommended. Stay with your group at all times.
What to do...
If You Encounter a Bear: Stay calm, do not run. Quietly detour or back away; stop if this seems to agitate the bear. Stay at least 100 yards (91 m) from bears. Do NOT feed bears or other animals.
If a Bear Charges You: Stand still, do not run. Stand your ground and use your bear spray. Spray when the bear is 60 feet (18 m) away or closer. If a bear charges, it may be a bluff charge.
If a Bear Makes Contact: Drop to the ground; play dead. Lie face down and clasp your hands over the back of your neck; stay still and silent. Wait several minutes after the bear leaves before getting up and leaving the area.