Last Updated: June 1, 2023
This Backcountry Situation report provides the most up-to-date conditions for Yellowstone’s backcountry. Conditions are listed by area, then trail.To avoid frustration, even if you are experienced with Yellowstone’s backcountry, please review our Camp in the backcountry webpage as some procedures have changed. 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.
Backcountry Permits are required for all overnight stays in the backcountry. Please visit our Camp in the backcountry page for information on how to reserve a backcountry permit.
Backcountry Offices Hours of Operation:
Albright Visitor Center (Mammoth Backcountry Office): Open. 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.
This winter we have had above average snow fall. Snow is melting out in low elevation locations. Higher elevations and mountain passes are snow packed. See the snowpack model to get a sense of current snow levels Yellowstone Climate Dashboard (climateanalyzer.science).
High Water Caution:
As the temperatures rise and snow melts, streams will be at peak runoff levels and many will be 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. View river levels of the surrounding rivers.
Increased Spring Bear Activity:
After a long hard winter, there are many winter kill carcasses on the landscape. Visitors should use extra caution and familiarize themselves with how to stay safe in bear country. If you encounter a fresh carcass, make sure to back away, do not run, and report the information to a park ranger as soon as possible.
Before deciding to have a campfire, check that your campsite allows for fires, and consider the current weather conditions. During the spring when campsites are still snow covered, users may only have a fire if the designated campfire ring can be located, and if visitors can find / access dead and down wood. Campfires are only allowed in the designated fire ring. Fire danger is currently: Low (5/3/23)
Ticks:Where trails are snow free, ticks are out. After your hike check your body for ticks. Visit the CDC website for further information on tick prevention.
Fishing season is open. Please visit the Catch a fish page for further details and information.
Boating season is open. All watercraft must be inspected and registered in the park. Prepare for your boating visit by reviewing the boating regulations page and by Cleaning, Draining, and Drying your boats. Due to inaccessible boat launch on Lewis Lake, boat inspectors will not be available at this location until a later date.
Some areas of the northern sections of the park are now open for day riding. See "Stock Use" descriptions for the trails listed below for details. Overnight horse use is closed until July 1. Make sure to review our Ride a Horse page for further information regarding horse riding permit requirements and information.
Other than qualified service animals, pets are not allowed in the backcountry.
Bear Management Areas:
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 prohibit off trail travel. Please reference the Bear Management page for further details and locations of closure area .
Richards Pond (BMA B) Several restrictions in place. See Bear Management Area pages.
Gneiss Creek (BMA C) Closed through June 30
Gallatin (BMA D) No off-trail travel May 1 through November 10.
Washburn (BMA F) Open only by special permit (through July 31)
Antelope (BMA G) Closed through November 10.
Mirror Plateau (BMA H) Closed. Day use only May 15 through November 12.
Pelican Valley (BMA I) Closed through July 3rd.
Clear Creek (BMA J1) No off trail travel through August 10. See Bear Management Area pages for further details
Clear Creek (BMA J2) No off trail travel through July 14. See Bear Management Area pages for further details
Lake Spawn (BMA K) From May 15 through July 14 no off trail travel .
Riddle / Solution (BMA M) Closed April 30 through July 14.
Heart Lake (BMA O) Closed through June 30.
Review the park roads page, to see road opening dates and current status.
Click on a region of the map for current backcountry conditions in that area.
Northwest RegionAfter a long hard winter, there are many winter kill carcasses on the landscape. Visitors should use extra caution and familiarize themselves with how to stay safe in bear country. If you encounter a fresh carcass, make sure to back away, do not run, and report the information to a park ranger as soon as possible. Strong Bear Warning on all Northwest Region trails.
Old Yellowstone Railroad Bed (Gardiner)
Sepulcher/Beaver Ponds/Snow Pass area
Glen Creek Trailhead – Fawn Pass & Electric Pass
Bunsen Peak/Osprey Falls
Bighorn Pass Trail (Indian Creek)
Mount Holmes/Grizzly Lake area
Trailheads along Hwy 191 (from north to south)
Daly Creek/Black Butte/Sky Rim Trail/Shelf Lake
Specimen Creek/High Lake/Crescent Lake/Sportsman Lake
Fawn Pass/Fan Creek
Bighorn Pass (Hwy 191)
Gneiss Creek/Cougar Creek
Harlequin Lake Trail
Back to Map
Northeast RegionAfter a long hard winter, there are many winter kill carcasses on the landscape. Visitors should use extra caution and familiarize themselves with how to stay safe in bear country. If you encounter a fresh carcass, make sure to back away, do not run, and report the information to a park ranger as soon as possible. Strong Bear Warning on all Northeast Region trails.
Blacktail Deer Creek Trail/Yellowstone River Trail/Black Canyon
Lava Creek Trail/Rescue Creek Trail
Lost Lake Loop
Hellroaring Creek/Coyote Creek/Buffalo Plateau
Tower Fall Trail
Bliss Pass (between Slough Creek and Pebble Creek)
Back to Map
Specimen Ridge/Agate Creek/Yellowstone Picnic Area trailhead
Lamar River Trail - Soda Butte to Mist Creek Pass
Wapiti Lake trail/ Wrangler Lake/ Broad Creek/ Howard Eaton Trail
Pelican Valley/Turbid Lake
South Rim and North Rim
Wrangler Lake/Ribbon Lake
Cascade, Grebe, Wolf & Ice Lake
Mary Mountain/Hayden Valley & Cygnet Lakes
Old Faithful Region
Fairy Falls/Mystic Falls/Fountain Flats
Southeastern RegionElephant Back, Natural Bridge, Storm Point, Pelican Valley Nature Trail
Stock Use: Closed to stock (5/1/23)
Shoshone Lake/Lewis Lake
Lone Star Trail & Howard Eaton Trail
Bechler Meadows and Falls River area
Bechler Canyon/Bechler River trail
Boundary Creek/Dunanda Falls
Union Falls/Mountain Ash Creek
Beula Lake/South Boundary Trail west
Please email the Central Backcountry Office if you have any questions about specific areas.
Last updated: June 1, 2023