This Backcountry Situation report provides the most up-to-date conditions for Yellowstone’s Backcountry. Conditions are listed by area, then trail. Before heading out on the trail, make sure to review information about traveling safely in bear country, and familiarize yourself with our bear management areas. Depending on other activities you intend to pursue in the backcountry please reference our fishing, boating, and horse use regulations.
Permits are required for all overnight stays in the backcountry. Permits for backpacking and stock trips can be acquired at any backcountry office. Backcountry permits for boat trips are only available at Bridge Bay, Grant Village, and the South Entrance backcountry offices.
Offices open 8 to 4:30 unless otherwise indicated.
Albright Visitor Center (Mammoth Backcountry office): Open (closed 12:00 pm - 12:30 pm for lunch)
Bechler Ranger Station: Open
Bridge Bay Ranger Station: Open. Boat permits and AIS inspections available. (closed 12:00 p.m. - 1 p.m. for lunch)
Canyon Visitor Education Center (Backcountry office): Open. Hours differ from other offices. 8:30- 4:00 Closed Wednesday and Thursday.
Grant Visitor Center (Backcountry office): Open. Boat permits and AIS inspections available.
Old Faithful Ranger Station: Closed today 8/15/19 due to emergency. Opening hours are later than other offices 10:00 am to 4:30. Prone to emergency closures.
Snake River Ranger Station: Open. Boat permits and AIS inspections available. (Closed most days for lunch from 12:00 -1:00).
Tower Ranger Station: Open 8:00 - 4:00. (Closed for lunch 12:00 - 1:00)
West Yellowstone Visitor Information Center: Open. (Closed for lunch 12:00-1:00)
High Water Caution
Many streams are too high and dangerous to cross. Streams which are crossable in the morning may rise to unsafe levels by afternoon. Don't get caught on the wrong side of a stream. If you must cross - scout out the safest location, the best crossing may not be in the exact location where the trail meets the stream. Above all use caution and be safe around all streams. Yellowstone's backcountry does not have many bridges, please evaluate planned travel routes for any potentially hazardous stream crossings.
Before deciding to have a campfire, check that your campsite allows for fires, and consider the current weather conditions. Campfires are only allowed in the designated fire ring.
Boat inspections only available at Grant Backcountry Office, Bridge Bay Marina, and the South Entrance. Yellowstone National Park Boat permits are available for purchase at the Grant, Bridge Bay, and South Entrance Backcountry Offices following inspections.
Motorized boats are permitted only on Lewis Lake and Yellowstone Lake. Non-motorized are permitted on all park lakes except Sylvan Lake, Eleanor Lake, Twin Lakes, and Beach Springs Lagoon. Additionally, Swan Lake is currently closed to boating. All park streams are closed to boating with the exception of the Lewis River between Shoshone Lake and Lewis Lake.
Horse use requires either an overnight or day ride permit. Most trails are currently open for overnight horse use. Check individual trails descriptions below (further in the document) as to whether they are open to day use. Make sure to review our horseback riding page and to get a day ride permit.
Food Storage Reminder
Do not leave food unattended at any time. All food, trash, and odorous items must be properly stored (hung 10 feet above ground and 4 feet from side supports or kept in one of the installed metal bear proof boxes, or an approved bear resistant food container) whenever the items are not in immediate use. Day hikers should keep their packs with them at all times. In past years, there have been several instances of bears obtaining food from unattended packs. Backpackers should hang their food immediately upon entering their campsite – before setting up camp. Food Caches are not allowed in the backcountry. Hanging food overnight in an unoccupied campsite or elsewhere is not permitted – this is considered unattended food. Yellowstone allows only the use of certain bear resistant food containers.
Current Campsites Requiring Bear Resistant Food Containers
In order to reduce human related impacts on bears in high density grizzly bear habitat the park has established several bear management areas. Listed below are the current Bear Management Areas (BMAs) in effect. Some Bear Management Areas are full closures, others are no off trail travel restrictions. Please reference the Bear Management page for further details and locations of closure area .
Horse Use: Mount Holmes and Grizzly Lake Trails are closed to stock use. (7/15/19)
Monument trail open.
Stock use: Not suitable for stock
Trailheads along Hwy 191 (from north to south)
Daly Creek/Black Butte/Sky Rim Trail/Shelf Lake (WK1, WK2)
Black Butte Trail (WK2) has trees that are down and impassible to stock. (8/1519)
Daly Creek trail is clear of trees to Sky Rim trail and in generally good condition. (8/6/19)
Sky Rim Trail between Big Horn and Shelf Lake is snow-free. (8/6/19)
Horse Use: Daly Creek, Sky Rim and Shelf Lake open to stock, Black Butte closed to stock until trail gets recleared. (8/15/19)
Specimen Creek/High Lake/Crescent Lake/Sportsman Lake (WK3)
Crescent Lake to High Lake Trail is snow free and clear of down trees(8/6/19)
Strong Bear Warning for campsites WD2 and WD3. (8/17/19)
Specimen Creek has been cleared up through the North Fork to Sportsmans Lake. (8/6/19)
Sportsman Lake Trail is cleared of downed trees.(8/6/19)
Horse Use: Open to stock(8/6/19)
Bacon Rind (WK4)
Bacon Rind trail (WK4) is open (7/2/19)
Visitors should be cautious of the following hazards when entering areas recently affected by Forest Fire: Unstable, dead trees (trees may fall unexpectedly, especially in windy conditions. Loose rocks and logs (watch for rolling debris.) (7/2/19)
Horse Use: Bacon Rind is open to stock use. (7/29/19)
Fawn Pass/Fan Creek (WK5)
Fan Creek trail is clear and dry. Creek crossing are all crossable. (7/29/19)
Blacktail Deer Creek Trail/Yellowstone River Trail/Black Canyon (1N5)
Yellowstone River Trail, and Blacktail Deer Creek trails are in good condition. (7/29/19)
This area is home to mountain lions. Hike in groups whenever possible, and carry bear spray. If you encounter a mountain lion, stay calm, do not turn your back on lion. Stand your ground,and speak in firm voice.
Horse Use: Blacktail Deer Creek trail, Yellowstone River trail and Hellroaring open. (7/29/19) .
Horse Use: not suitable for stock
Lava Creek Trail/Rescue Creek Trail (1N2, 1N3, 1N6)
Rescue Creek Trail is open.(7/10/19)
The Northwestern trailhead on Rescue Creek (1N2), near Gardiner, and the Lava Creek Trailhead (1N3) will be closed for chip sealing the parking areas. Visitors will need to use the trails other Trailheads to enter and exit(8/12/19)
Be careful of marshy area about 2 miles to the to the west of the junction with Blacktail Deer Creek along Rescue Creek (7/2/19)
Horse use: Rescue Creek and Lava Creek are open. There is no stock allowed on the bridge near the Gardiner end of the trail (trailhead 1N3). Stock users need to start and end at the Lava Creek trailhead from the East (1N6). (7/01/19)
Specimen Ridge/Agate Creek/Yellowstone Picnic Area trailhead (2K4, 2K7)
Specimen Ridge Trail can now be hiked in its entirety. Visitors should use caution when crossing. (8/5/19)
Yellowstone Picnic Area trail is open. (7/2/19)
Agate Creek campsite 2Y1 is open.Bear is frequenting the area. (8/5/19)
Stock use: Specimen Ridge Trail open to stock. (8/5/19)
Lamar River Trail - Soda Butte to Mist Creek Pass (3K1)
CAUTION: Strong Bear Warning along the Lamar River Trail. Be sure to carry bear spray, hike in groups and all food and scented items properly hung when not in use. (7/24/19)
Campsite 3U1 is closed due to a nearby carcass and strong bear activity. (8/16/19)
Lamar River Trail to Cache Creekhas been cleared. (8/5/19)
There is an active fire, the Pollux Fire, near Pollux Peak near the park's north east boundary. Currently there is an area closure but no closures to trails, or campsites.
Cache Creek is fordable. Calf to knee deep. (8/5/19)
Lamar River is fordable. Calf to knee deep. (8/5/19)
Horse Use: Lamar River Trail, and Cache Creek is open. (8/5/19)
Cache Creek/Thunderer (3K1, 3K3)
Cache Creek has been cleared. (8/5/19)
Republic Pass is snow free and passable.(8/5/19)
(3K3) Thunderer Pass has been cleared of fallen trees. Open to all travel. (8/04/19)
Soda Butte Ford is calf to knee deep. (8/5/19)
Horse Use: Cache Creek is open to stock. (8/5/19)
Miller Creek trail is clear. (8/5/19)
Horse Use: Miller Creek Trail is open to stock use up to Campsite 3M6. Canoe Lake, Bootjack Gap and Hoodoo Basin Trails are closed to Stock Use (7/01/19)
Frost Lake (No Stock Use)
Expect areas of deep snow at the higher elevations close to Frost Lake and the park boundary. (7/2/19)
Horse Use: Frost Trail has not been cleared and is closed to stock use. (7/01/19)
Avalanche Peak (not suitable for stock)
Dry and in good condition with the exception of a couple small snow piles near the peak. (7/19/19)
Possible driving delays to get to the trailhead due to construction. Check the park road update page.(5/28/19)
Wapiti Lake trail/ Wrangler Lake/ Broad Creek/ Howard Eaton trail (4K7, 4N2, 4K8,5K2)
Sublime Point and the Ribbon Lake trail has been cleared of downed trees. Campsites 4R1 and 4R2 are in good shape.(8/11/19)
Wapiti Lake trailhead to Clear Lake is cleared of down trees.(7/5/19)
Wrangler Lake trail is cleared of downed trees and wet in parts. (6/22/19)
Horse Use: Wapiti Lake, Fern Lake, Broad Creek, Astringent Creek, Upper Pelican Trails and Cold Creek have been cleared and are open to stock use. Expect wet and muddy conditions. (7/15/19)
Pelican Valley/Turbid Lake (5K3)
Turbid lake Trail has been cleared and open to Stock Use. (7/15/19)
Expect intermittent construction traffic around the trailhead parking area. During rainy/stormy weather the trailhead entrance road could get soft and become difficult for larger vehicles. If road conditions are bad the pullout directly south of the old Pelican Valley Trailhead entrance road is available for additional/alternative parking. (7/4/19)
Pelican Creek Nature trail is closed for the 2019 season due to road construction projects.
Elephant Back trail is in good condition. (7/29/19)
Natural Bridge and Elephant Back trails are open. (7/29/19)
Storm Point is marshy in areas. The bridge over the river on the west side is out. (7/29/19)
Horse use: Storm Point , Elephant Back and Avalanche peak are not suitable for stock.
Nine Mile Trailhead (5K5); Thorofare Trail / Mountain Creek (6K1, 6K2, 6K4, 6K5)
Several recent windstorms that have brought down trees along the 9 mile and Thorofare trail. (7/24//19)
Stream crossings (Columbine Creek, Beaverdam Creek, Trappers Creek, Mountain Creek) crossable.(8/5/19)
Lower Fords of the Yellowstone River (near 6B1 and 6B2). Upper ford near 6B2 is 3.5 feet and slow. Fordable by foot and Stock. Hikers use caution. Lower ford is 2.5 feet and faster. Fordable by foot and stock.(8/8/9)
The confluence ford near campsite 6Y4,is running about 2 feet. Upper Yellowstone ford near campsite 6Y2 is about 2 feet. Upper Thorofare creek near the South Boundary is 2 feet. Lower Thorofare ford near 6T1 has a reroute approximately 50 yards upstream is 1 foot deep.(8/5/19)
Horse Use: Thorofare Trail, Mountain Creek,Lynx Creek open to stock, report that trail isn't cleared on the Forest Service side.(7/29/19)
Yellowstone Lake (5K1, 5K4, 5K6, 7K1)
Boats permits and Aquatic Invasive species inspections are required and only available at the Snake River Ranger Station, Bridge Bay Ranger Station and the Grant Village Backcountry Office from 8:00am to 4:30 pm.
All boaters need to keep distance of all closure and hazard buoys on the lake. (7/2/19)
High winds are a daily occurrence on the lake, particularly in the afternoon. Canoeists and kayakers are urged to travel close to shore, evaluate conditions, get an early start, and complete open water crossings as quickly as possible.
Heart Lake (8N1)
Heart Lake open. (7/29/19)
Horse Use: Heart Lake is open to stock use. Expect wet and muddy conditions. (7/15/19)
South Boundary Area/Snake River/Two Ocean Plateau (8K7, 8K8, 6K3)
Thorofare area is cleared of down trees.(8/12/19)
Confluence Ford is running 2 ft deep but tricky, use caution. Have good route finding with map and compass skills. (7/16/19)
The Snake River ford at 8C5 is about 18" deep. Caution for deeper holes. The ford below that is 3 foot deep, but shallower fording is possible upstream of the trail crossing. Caution advised. (7/14/19)
The Harebell Trail to Basin Creek Cutoff Trail has been cleared. Snake River ford north of Harebell is 2 feet deep and swift. Recommended for strong parties only. (7/14/19)
Nine Mile ford on the Snake is running at 12 inches deep. (7/14/19)
Nine Mile Cutoff between campsites 8C2 and 8C4 will require parties to follow the markers and have good map and compass skills. (7/14/19)
Two Ocean Plateau Trail has overgrown tread; map, compass/gps, strong navigation skills recommended. (7/18/19)
Two Ocean Plateau from Trail Cr. to 6M5, Two Ocean Cutoff, and Trail Cr. Trail west of Two Ocean Plateau Jct are clear of downed trees. (7/18/19)
Snake river crossable. Use Caution. (7/11/19)
Wolverine ford is less than 18" deep and easy to cross. (7/12/19)
Horse Use: South Boundary and Snake River are open to stock use. Two Ocean Plateau Trails are open to stock use. Yellowstone fords near Cabin Creek are for experienced riders only. (7/24/19)
South Shoshone Trail cleared of downed trees. (8/13/19)
Marshy between Shoshone Geyser Basin,and campsite 8T1 is muddy. Visitors advised to wear sandals, or boots for wet flooded trai. (8/11/19)
North Shoshone Trail is clear of downed trees . (8/12/19)
Dogshead Trail, DeLacy Creek Trail and Lewis Channel Trail are clear of downed trees. (7/29/19)
DeLacy Creek crossing at DeLacy beach is 1.5' deep and fast moving. Fording DeLacy Creek is required to access campsites 8S2 and 8S3 via the DeLacy Creek trailhead. (7/01/19)
Lewis Channel Ford at Outlet/South Shoshone Trail is 1-2.5 feet . (7/29/19)
High winds are a daily occurrence on the both Lewis and Shoshone Lakes, particularly in the afternoon. Boaters crossing Shoshone Lake should use good judgement to evaluate conditions and cross only at the "narrows".
Lone Star Trail (OK1) & Howard Eaton Trail (OK2)
Open and dry. (7/2/19)
Cave Falls Road is in poor condition. It is 14 miles of unpaved, rocky road to the Bechler Ranger Station with slow traffic (5-10mph) and may not be suitable for horse trailers.
Grassy Lake Road is open. High clearance vehicles strongly advised.(7/28/19)
The mosquitos are still plentiful in the Bechler area. (7/29/19)
Horse Use: Horse use is open in the Bechler area but make sure to bring fly wipe. (7/07/19)
Bechler Meadows and Falls River area
Rocky ford near Campsite 9M2 is about 2.5 to 3 feet deep, most other river crossings are shallower. (7/29/19)
Stock use: Bechler Meadows Trail open, marshy in areas. (7/16/19)
Bechler Canyon/Bechler River trail
Campsite 9B4 is open. (8/11/19)
Upper Meadow fords on the Bechler River trail are 2.5 feet deep. Crossable for foot and stock.(7/29/19)
The log bridge across the Ferris Fork (just south of campsite 9D1) is broken. Hikers will need to ford the Ferris Fork. The best place to cross may not be where the trail crosses the stream - hikers should scout for a location where the stream is not as swift. (7/31/19)
Old Faithful to campsite 9D4 has been cleared of downed trees.(7/22/19)
Stock Use: Open to stock use, bring fly wipe (7/29/19)
Boundary Creek/Dunanda Falls
CAUTION: Bear Frequenting the area near campsites 9AO, 9A2 and 9A3. (8/04/19)
Bartlett Slough crossing is approximately 2 ft deep, crossing log has been washed away. Boundary Creek crossing by 9A1 is approximately 1 1/2 ft deep. (7/29/19)
Stock Use: Open(7/29/19)
Robinson Creek Trail open. (7/29/19)
Stock use: Open to stock.(7/29/19)
Union Falls/Mountain Ash Creek
Cascade creek ford near campsite 9F2 is less than 2' deep, caution is advised when crossing. (8/181/19)
Stock Use: Open to stock. Make sure to use fly wipe.(7/29/19)
Pitchstone Plateau (8K4)
Trail cleared from Pitchstone Trailhead to campsites 8P1 and 8P2. Expect downfall along the trail southwest of the campsites. (7/3/19)
Stock Use: Open to stock from the Northern trailhead 8K4 to the campsites.(7/11/19)