Backcountry Situation Report

Last Updated: May, 25 2017

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.

General Information

Backcountry Permits

Permits are required for all overnight stays in the backcountry. Permits can be acquired at any backcountry office.

Office Hours

During the off season, our backcountry offices are not staffed. Please allow for extra time for permits to be issued as employees will need to be called in in order to assist you. Offices are open 8:00 am to 4:30 pm and are closed for lunch.

Albright Visitor Center (Backcountry office): Open
Bechler Ranger Station:June 2
Bridge Bay Ranger Station: Open
Canyon Visitor Education Center (Backcountry office): Open (closed Monday & Tuesday until July1)
Grant Visitor Center (Backcountry office):Open
Old Faithful Ranger Station: Open
Snake River Ranger Station: Open
Tower Ranger Station:Open
West Yellowstone Visitor Information Center: Open

High Water Caution

Streams are rising and 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.

Snow Levels

Yellowstone has had above average snow fall this year which will result in delayed access into many areas of the backcountry, as well as above average river levels. Click on this link to find out more about current snow levels in the park.

Fishing Season

Fishing season opens on May 27th.

Horse Use

Overnight horse use is closed until July 1st. Trails for day rides are beginning to open on a case by case basis. Sections of Blacktail Deer Creek trail, Rescue Creek trail, sections of Yellowstone River trail, and sections of Hellroaring trail are open. See Northeast Trails for further detail. Make sure to review our horse regulations.(5/23/17)

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 packs on their body unless they are with their pack. 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. Contact the Central Backcountry Office for a list of bear resistant food containers (canisters, panniers, and coolers) that are approved for use in Yellowstone.

Ticks

Be aware of ticks. Visit the CDC website for more information.

Backcountry Map

Click on a region of the map for current backcountry conditions in that area.

 
Yellowstone Backcountry Map: click a region to jump to conditions for that area.
               
 

Northwest

  • No off-trail travel within the Gallatin Bear Management Area.
  • A minimum group size of four people is recommended for hiking and camping within the Gallatin Bear Management Area. BE BEAR AWARE!
  • Hikers should expect to encounter significant snow encounter as trails gain elevation (4/24/17)
  • Expect winter camping conditions (wet, muddy, and snowy conditions prevail) throughout the area. (4/24/17)

Sepulcher/Beaver Ponds/Snow Pass area (1N4, 1K1, 1K2)

  • Snow Pass trail is wet with snow drifts at the pass.(5/7/17)
  • Upper elevations of the Sepulcher trail are completely snow covered(5/11/17)
  • Beaver Ponds trail in good condition. Reports of some down trees. (4/24/17)
  • Visitors should familiarize themselves with the no off trail travel restrictions of the Gallatin Bear Management Area.

Glen Creek Trailhead – Fawn Pass & Electric Pass (1K3)

  • Visitors should familiarize themselves with with the no off trail travel restrictions of the Gallatin Bear Management Area.
  • Expect deep snow at higher elevations. (5/22/17)
  • Fawn Pass and Electric Pass are completely snow covered. (5/11/17)
  • Be cautious of rising river levels on the Gardner river, 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.(5/9/17)

Bunsen Peak/Osprey Falls (1K4)

  • Lower elevations are snow free, but wet. Bunsen Peak still has areas of deep snow near the summit.(5/11/17)

Bighorn Pass trail (1K5)

  • Access road to the trailhead parking area and Indian Creek Campground is closed until June 9, Until then hikers wishing to access the Bighorn Pass trail must park in the pullouts near the access road barricade. Do not block the access road.
  • Campsite 1B1 is open and accessible. (5/22/17)
  • Expect deep snow at higher elevations west of campsite 1B1. (5/22/17)
  • Bighorn Pass has deep snow and cannot be crossed. (5/11/17)
  • Visitors should familiarize themselves with with the no off trail travel restrictions of the Gallatin Bear Management Area.

Mount Holmes area (1K6, 1K8)

  • Campsites 1C1, 1C2, 1C4, 1C5 are closed for all of 2017 due to road construction. Campsites are inaccessible because there is no access at either the Grizzly Lake or Mt. Holmes trailheads. See road construction page.

Trailheads along Hwy 191 (from north to south)

Daly Creek/Black Butte/Sky Rim Trail/Shelf Lake (WK1, WK2)

  • Expect snow at higher elevations. (5/1917)
  • Black Butte trail to the junction with Daly Creek trail and over to Daly Creek Trailhead has been cleared of down trees.(5/16/17)
  • Black Butte Trail is cleared of down trees up to campsite WF1.(5/22/17)
  • Daly Creek trail up to campsite WF2 is dry and rutted in places. Fair condition.(5/19/17)
  • Sky Rim trail and Shelf Lake are completely snow covered. (5/11/17)

Specimen Creek/High Lake/Crescent Lake/Sportsman Lake (WK3)

  • Specimen Creek Trail is wet and muddy up to campsite WE1. Expect snow further up the trail. The trail has been cleared of downed trees up to campsite WE1.(5/15/17)
  • High Lake, Crescent Lake, and Sportsman Lake trails are all snow covered. (4/24/17)
  • Electric Pass is impassable due to deep snow. (5/22/17)

Bacon Rind (WK4)

  • Valley floor almost entirely clear of snow.(5/22/2017)

Fawn Pass/Fan Creek (WK5)

  • Expect wet and muddy conditions at lower elevations and deep snow as you approach the pass. (4/24/17)
  • Fawn Pass is snow covered, not recommended. (4/24)
  • Be cautious of rising river levels on Fan Creek, 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.(4/26/17)

Bighorn Pass (WK6)

  • Expect wet and muddy conditions at lower elevations and deep snow as you approach the pass. (4/24/17)
  • Bighorn Pass is snow covered and impassable. (4/24/17)

Gneiss Creek/Cougar Creek (WK7/WK8)

  • Much of Gneiss creek closed until June 30, due to (Gneiss Creek Bear Management Area).
  • Gneiss Creek trail from Seven Mile Bridge trailhead to Cougar Meadows (1.5 miles), and heading west to Maple Creek is open dry, and cleared of downed trees. Trail is closed west of Maple Creek. (5/15/17)
  • Gneiss Creek Spur trail to Cougar Creek cabin is cleared of down trees (5/15/17)
Harlequin Lake Trail
  • CAUTION: Strong Bear Warning, sow with two cubs reported. (5/23/17)
 

Northeast

Blacktail Plateau Drive

Blacktail Deer Creek Trail/Yellowstone River Trail/Black Canyon (1N5)

  • Blacktail Deer Creek has been cleared of down trees, and is in good condition. (4/26/17)
  • Stock Use: Blacktail Deer Creek open to stock use (5/23/17)
  • Stock Use: Yellowstone River trail / Black Canyon closed to stock heading west of Crevice Lake. Open to stock from Blacktail Deer Creek trail Junction heading east to Hellroaring Creek.(5/23/17)

Lava Creek Trail/Rescue Creek Trail (1N2, 1N3, 1N6)

  • Rescue Creek trail open and in good condition. (4/24/17)
  • Stock Use: Rescue Creek trail open to stock use .(5/23/17)

Lost Lake Loop

  • Likely wet areas along the Lost Lake trail. (5/9/17)

Hellroaring Creek/Coyote Creek/Buffalo Plateau (2K8, 2N1, 2N5, 2N2)

  • Hellroaring Creek area trails are in good condition.
  • Hellroaring Creek is deep and swift. Hikers should use the bridge north of campsite 2H7 to cross - do not attempt to ford the creek (5/11/17)
  • Stock Use:Hellroaring Creek trail south of 2H8 and connecting to the Yellowstone River trail is open to stock use. The trail is closed to stock use north of campsite 2H8. The Yellowstone River Trail is not open in its entirety to stock, see Blacktail Deer Creek Trail /Yellowstone River trail for details. (5/23/17)
  • Stock Use: Coyote Creek Trail is closed to stock.(5/23/17)
  • Coyote Creek is wet in areas. Be cautious of rising river levels on Coyote Creek. Cross with caution (5/9/17)
  • Stock Use:Buffalo Plateau is closed to stock use. (5/23/17)
  • Upper elevations of Buffalo Plateau trail are completely snow covered. Campsite 2B1 is likely wet /snow covered. (5/11/17)
  • 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.(5/9/17)
  • Conditions on Bull Mountain Loop (Gallatin National Forest north of Hellroaring Creek and Coyote Creek) are unknown – expected snowy in elevations above 8,500 feet(5/9/17)
Buffalo Fork (2N3)
  • Buffalo Fork trail is inaccessible due to deep snow and swift waters along Slough Creek. Do not attempt to cross. (4/26/17)

Garnet Hill (2K2)

  • Trail is open, good condition. (5/22/17)

Slough Creek (2K5, 2N4)

  • Expect snow at higher elevations. (4/24/17)
  • Buffalo Fork trail is inaccessible due to swift waters along Slough Creek. Do not attempt to cross. (5/22/17)

Pebble Creek (3K2, 3K4)

  • Conditions unknown. Expect area of snow (especially over Warm Creek Pass) to significant snow with increasing elevation. (5/9/17)
  • Pebble Creek is running swift and deep likely uncrossable.(5/22/17)

Bliss Pass (between Slough Creek and Pebble Creek)

  • Bliss Pass is snow covered and should not be crossed due to deep snow and dangerous conditions. (5/11/17)
  • Pebble Creek likely uncrossable.(5/22/17)

Trout Lake

  • Trout, Shrimp and Buck lakes open. (5/9/17)
 

Central

Specimen Ridge /Agate Creek/Yellowstone Picnic Area trailhead (2K4, 2K7)

  • Yellowstone Picnic Area Trail – Open. (5/9/17)
  • Specimen Ridge cannot be hiked in its entirety. The Lamar River is not crossable on the east end of the trail. Don't be caught on the wrong side of the river as it is a 14 mile backtrack to the trailhead. Trail is snow covered in many areas.(5/9/17)
  • Agate Creek campsite accessible with patches of snow and downfall likely(5/9/17)

Lamar River Trail -Soda Butte to Mist Creek Pass (3K1)

  • Campsite 3L1 is the only campsite along the Lamar River trail that is currently accessible. Use Caution around Cache Creek.(5/11/17)
  • Cache Creek is at peak runoff. It is too deep and swift to cross. Campsites south of Cache Creek cannot be accessed.(5/11/17)
  • Be cautious that 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. (5/9/17)

Cache Creek/Thunderer (3K1, 3K3)

  • Conditions unknown. Expect patchy snow with increasing elevation. Campsite 3C2 and 3C3 may be snow free, but expect snow upstream of 3C3. Campsite 3C4 is likely snow covered and inaccessible due to the ford of Cache Creek (5/11/17)
  • Republic Pass is completely snow covered and inaccessible. (5/11/17)
  • Thunderer trailhead - (3K3) is currently closed. Soda Butte Creek Is too swift and deep to cross. (5/11/17)

Miller Creek

  • River crossing conditions, and the Pelican Valley Bear Management Areas makes this area inaccessible( 5/9/17)

Frost Lake

  • River crossing conditions, and Pelican Valley Bear Management Areas makes this area inaccessible(5/9/17)

Avalanche Peak

  • Snow covered, be cautious of the potential for wet snow avalanches as it warms up each day. (5/9/17)

Wapiti Lake trail/ Wrangler Lake/ Broad Creek/ Howard Eaton trail (4K7, 4N2, 4K8,5K2)

  • Trails to Ribbon Lake patchy snow and wet (5/17/17)
  • Sour Creek is too high to cross. Campsite 4W1 is temporarily closed. Howard Eaton trail will not be able to be hiked in its completion.(5/17/17)
  • Snowy conditions(5/9/17)
 

Canyon

South Rim and North Rim

Mount Wash (4K9, 2K6)

7-Mile Hole (4K6)

  • Washburn Spur trail and the Washburn Meadow campsite 4E1 has limited access due to Dunraven Pass road closure. Snow covered.(4/24/17)
  • Due to road construction on Inspiration Point, visitors will not be able to start at the Glacial Boulder trailhead to go to Seven Mile Hole; instead visitors will need to walk the closed road starting at Canyon Village which will add approximately 1 mile (one way) to trip distances.(5/9/17)
  • Snowy conditions of the 7 Mile Hole trail. (5/9/17)

Cascade, Grebe, Wolf & Ice Lake (4K2, 4K3, 4K4, 4K5, 4N4)

  • Be cautious of possible increased bear activity near the junction of Cascade Lake and Cascade Creek Trail. There is a mostly consumed carcass that may still attract wildlife.(5/23/17)
  • Cascade Lake trail has patchy snow, and wet conditions.(5/17/17)
  • Grebe and Ice Lake are completely snow covered. (5/17/17)
  • Campsites 4G5 and 4G7 are closed for wildlife protection. No off-trail travel allowed in the vicinity of those sites – see signs posted at trailhead. (Map Links: Wolf Lake Grebe Lake )

Mary Mountain/Hayden Valley & Cygnet Lakes (4N1, 4N3)

  • The east half of the Mary Mountain trail is open to Mary Lake. The Mary Mountain trail west of Mary Lake is closed until June 15. (Bear Management Area) (4/24/17)
  • The Mary Mountain trail is wet with areas of snow.(5/7/17)

Solfatara (1K7, 4K1)

  • Solfatara trailhead (1K7) is closed due to road construction. The Solfatara Creek trail can be accessed from the Solfatara Creek trailhead (4K1) located at Norris Campground.
 

Old Faithful

Fairy Falls/Mystic Falls/Fountain Flats (OK4, OK5, OK6)

Mallard Lake (OK9, OK3)

  • Trails to Mallard Lake have 2 1/2 feet of snow on them throughout the trail and at the lake.(5/17/17)

Mary Mountain (OK7)

  • The Mary Mountain trail from the Nez Perce trailhead to Mary Lake (western half) is closed until June 15 (Bear Management Area A1).
 

Southeast

Elephant Back, Natural Bridge, Storm Point

  • Elephant Back, Storm Point trails are open.(5/22/17)
  • Natural Bridge closed. (5/22/17)

Nine Mile Trailhead (5K5); Thorofare Trail/Mountain Creek (6K1, 6K2, 6K4, 6K5)

  • Thorofare trail is mostly snow covered. All creeks along the east side of Yellowstone Lake are rising fast and are uncrossable.
  • Review Bear Management Area J1, & J2 for travel restrictions currently in effect in that area.

Yellowstone Lake (5K1, 5K4, 5K6, 7K1)

  • Review Bear Management Area J1& J2, and Lake Spawn restrictions. (4/24/17)
  • Yellowstone Lake is mostly thawed with floating ice (5/22/17)
  • Docks at site 7L5, 7L6, and 7M4 are not in place. Only boats capable of shore landing or anchoring are advised.(5/22/17)
  • Hazard buoys, marker buoys, and navigation aids are not in place. Motorized boaters, it is your responsibility to know where ther mileage zones, and non motorized boat zones are, and to abide by the regulations.(5/22/17)
  • 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. Ther are large amounts of debris on the lake - use caution.(5/22/17)
  • Boat permits and Aquatic Invasive Species inspections are only available at the Snake River Ranger Station, Bridge Bay Ranger Station, and the Grant Visitor Center. Visitors should check office hours for offices that are open in the early season.(5/22/17)

Pelican Valley (5K3)

Heart Lake (8N1)

South Boundary Area/Snake River/Two Ocean Plateau (8K7, 8K8, 6K3)

  • Completely snow covered . Not recommended (4/24/17)
  • Snake River not crossable. (5/9/17)
  • See Heart Lake Bear Management Area (5/9/17)

Riddle Lake (7K3)

 

Southwest

This area has received above average snowfall this winter. Delayed access into this region is likely.

Shoshone Lake/Lewis Lake (8K1, 7K2)

  • Snow covered. Not recommended (5/22/17)
  • Shoshone and Lewis Lakes are ice covered. (5/22/17)

Lone Star Trail (OK1) & Howard Eaton Trail (OK2)

  • Lone Star and Howard Eaton trails are mostly snow covered.(5/22/17)

Bechler Area

  • The Grassy Lake Road is closed to motorized traffic until June 1.
  • Travel in the Bechler area is not advised. Snow and standing water.(5/22)
  • Cave Falls Road conditions unknown.(5/22/17)

Bechler Meadows and Falls River area

  • Trails across the meadows area are snow covered and/or flooded. (5/22/17)

Bechler Canyon/Bechler River trail

  • Bechler River trail from Bechler Canyon to Shoshone Lake trail is completely snow covered. As snow melts rivers will become uncrossable. (5/22/17)

Boundary Creek/Dunanda Falls

  • Trails to Dunanda Falls are snow covered and / or flooded.(5/22/17)

Robinson Creek

  • Robinson Creek trail is snow covered with areas of flooding. (5/22/17)

Union Falls/Mountain Ash Creek

  • Union Falls is inaccessible. Grassy Lake Road is closed to motorized traffic Falls River is deep, swift, and uncrossable(5/22/17).

Pitchstone Plateau (8K4)

  • Completely snow covered.(5/22/17)

Beula Lake/South Boundary Trail west (8K5, 8K6)

  • South Boundary trail west is snow covered. (4/24/17)
 

Contact Us

Please email the Central Backcountry Office if you have any questions about specific areas.

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168

Phone:

(307) 344-7381

Contact Us