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.
Not all backcountry offices are able to be staffed full time. Please refer to the schedule below and plan accordingly.
Central Backcountry Office: Open Monday through Friday 7:30 am. - 5:00 pm.
Albright Visitor Center (Mammoth Backcountry office): On Call. Please allow for extra time.
Bechler Ranger Station: Open 7 days a week 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. will be open until October 27th.
Bridge Bay Ranger Station: Closed.
Canyon Visitor Education Center (Backcountry office): Closed. On call.
Grant Visitor Center (Backcountry office): Boat permits & AIS boat inspections, and backcountry permits. Closed. On call
Old Faithful Ranger Station: On call.
Snake River Ranger Station: Boat permits & AIS boat inspections available. Open 7 days a week.October 15 - 18 and October 22 - 27 open 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and available for on-call at other times. October 19 - 21 open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. closed at noon for lunch. On-call after October 28th. Closed for lunch between 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm.
Tower Ranger Station: Closed
West Yellowstone Visitor Information Center: On Call
High Water Caution
Streams levels are starting to drop. 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.
Bear Management Area
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 .
Gneiss Creek (BMA C) - No off trail travel.
Gallatin (BMA D) - No off-trail travel through November 10.
Washburn (BMA F) - Closed.
Antelope (BMA G) - Closed through November 10.
Mirror Plateau (BMA H) - Day use only May 15 - November 12.
Before deciding to have a campfire, check that your campsite allows for fires, and consider the current weather conditions and current fire danger.
The boating season is open. All watercraft (boats, float-tubes, stand-up paddleboards, etc.) must have a permit and a free Yellowstone aquatic invasive species inspection. Boat Inspections, and boat permits can only be arranged this time of year at the Snake River Ranger station or by calling our office in advance to try to arrange an inspection, 307-344-2160.
Horse use requires either an overnight or day ride permit. Please visit the horseback riding page for further information.
Yellowstone trails NOT SUITABLE FOR STOCK USE:
Osprey Falls Trail, West Thumb Overlook, Seven Mile Hole Trail, Wraith Falls Trail, Mounument Geyser Basin,
North/South Rim Canyon Trails, Sheepeater Trail, Harlequin Lake Trail, Avalanche Peak Trail,Tower Falls Trail,
Beaver Ponds Trail, Shoshone Geyser Basin, Artist Point/Point Sublime, Upper Terraces, Artist Pain Pots,
Storm Point Trails, Trout Lake Trail and All Thermal Areas
Check the specific trails below to see if they are opened for day use. Make sure to review our horseback riding page.
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
Stock Use: Fawn Pass Trailis open. Due to construction there is a trail detour at the Glen Creek trailhead. The trail detour for stock users starts from the large parking lot south west of the Bunsen Peak trailhead. Follow the signs. Use caution on bridge, as some stock are spooked by the shiny material.(8/27/18)
Bunsen Peak/Osprey Falls (1K4)
Bunsen Peak open, report of numerous trees down on the East side of Bunsen Peak(7/16/18)
Stock Use: Osprey Falls is not suitable for stock. (7/1/18)
Bighorn Pass trail (Indian Creek, 1K5)
Indian Creek (1K5) to Bighorn trailhead (WK6) is open in its entirety. Please do not park in a way that blocks the barricade if using this trailhead. The Indian Creek Campground has closed for the season, but utility trucks and emergency vehicles still need access to the road.(10/2/18)
Stock Use:Indian Creek trailhead is open to stock. (8/14/18)
Mount Holmes area (1K6, 1K8) (closed to stock)
Campsites 1C1, 1C2, 1C4, 1C5 are closed for 2018 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.
Stock Use: Closed to stock
Stock Use: open. Limited parking
Monument Trail (closed to stock)
Monument trail open.
Stock use: Closed to stock. Not suitable for stock.
Trailheads along Hwy 191 (from north to south)
Daly Creek/Black Butte/Sky Rim Trail/Shelf Lake (WK1, WK2)
Stock Use: Open (10/2/18)
Black Butte Trail (WK2) open.(10/2/18)
Daly Creek Trail (WK1) to Sky Rim Trailhead (WN1) open.(10/2/18)
Sky Rim Trailhead (WN1) across Bighorn Peak is open. (10/2/18)
Both the Daly to Black Butte and Daly to North Tepee Cutoff Trails are open (10/2/18)
Specimen Creek/High Lake/Crescent Lake/Sportsman Lake (WK3)
Specimen Creek (WK3) Trail: Open (10/2/18)
Stock Use: Open (10/2/18)
Bacon Rind (WK4)
CLOSED: The Bacon Rind Trail both within Yellowstone National Park , and in the Custer Gallatin National Forest ,as well as the road heading into the trailhead has been closed due to safety concerns with the fire buring several miles northwest of the Bacon Rind trail.See closure map. (10/3/18)
Stock Use: Bacon Rind trail is closed for stock use due to wildfire. Reminder even if you are going into the forest service there are no dogs allowed on Yellowstone Park Service trails. See closure map.(10/3/18)
Fawn Pass/Fan Creek (WK5)
Fan Creek Trail: Open (10/2/18)
Stock Use:Open. (10/2/18)
Bighorn Pass (Hwy 191 - WK6) (partially open to stock)
Bighorn Pass trail up to the campsites is in good shape.(8/14/18)
Stock Use: The Bighorn trail (WK5) to Indian Creek (1K5) is open to stock.(8/14/18)
Horse Use: Hellroaring Creek, Buffalo Plateau, and Coyote Creek trails are open for stock use. If hunting in the Forest Service, please note that transportation of game meat through the park's backcountry is not permitted. (7/1/18)
Hellroaring Creek area trails are in good condition. (6/20/18)
Hellroaring Creek is crossable .(7/11/18)
Conditions on Bull Mountain Loop open(8/28/18)
Buffalo Fork (2N3)
Buffalo Fork trail is clear. (7/11/18)
Stock Use: open for stock
Garnet Hill (2K2)
Horse Use: Garnet Hill trail is open for stock use. (7/1/18)
Tower Fall Trail
Stock Use: Tower Falls is not suitable for stock. (7/1/18)
Slough Creek (2K5, 2N4)
There is some blasting and construction work slated to take place on October 16-17 between the Trailhead and the lower slough cabin. No closures are in place but visitors may encounter some noise, equipement, and temporary delays (10/15/18)
Horse Use: Slough Creek Trail and Buffalo Plateau is open for day use. (7/11/18)
Pebble Creek (3K2, 3K4)
Stock Use: Opento Stock . (7/23/18)
Pebble Creek trail is open.
Pebble Creek crossable. (7/2/18)
Stock Use: Trout Lake is not suitable for stock. (7/1/18)
Specimen Ridge/Agate Creek/Yellowstone Picnic Area trailhead (2K4, 2K7)
Stock Use: Specimen Ridge and Agate Creek trails are open for horseback. (7/15/18)
Yellowstone Picnic Area trail is open.
Lamar River Trail - Soda Butte to Mist Creek Pass (3K1)
Pelican Trailhead closeddue to fishing bridge construction. Visitors wanting to go to from Soda Butte to the Lake area will need to start at Turbin Lake. There will be a detour to get to Turbid Lake due to the construction.(10/15/18)
Lamar River Trail has reopened to foot traffic only. No Stock Use between campsite 3L7 and campsite 3L8 ie. no through traffic between Pelican Valley (5K3) and Soda Butte/ Lamar River trailhead(3K1) until further notice. (7/17/18)
Cache Creek is 1.5 to 2 feet deep. (7/11/18)
Pelican Valley to Cold Creek has been cleared of downed trees.(7/11/18)
Stock Use: The Soda Butte river crossing at the Lamar stock trailhead is crossable.(7/16/18)
Stock Use: No Stock Use between campsite 3L7 and campsite 3L8 ie. no through traffic between Pelican Valley (5K3) and Soda Butte/ Lamar River trailhead(3K1) due to a landside, until further notice. (7/17/18)
Cache Creek/Thunderer (3K1, 3K3)
Thunderer Trail/Pass is open and cleared (7/17/18)
Stock Use: Thunderer is open for stock use. (7/17/18)
Due to Lamar River Trail slide there is no stock access to Miller Creek via the Pelican trailhead (5K3). Hikers can still pass through. (7/2/18)
Access to Frost lake is accessible for stock only via the Pelican Trailhead (5K3) due to Lamar River trail slide. (7/2/18)
Avalanche trail is clear of down trees.(7/30/18)
Stock Use: Avalanche Peak trail is not suitable for stock. (7/1/18)
Wapiti Lake trail/ Wrangler Lake/ Broad Creek/ Howard Eaton trail (4K7, 4N2, 4K8,5K2)
Artist Point trailhead (4K8) to Wapiti Lake is open. Also reports that the trail is hard to follow near 4B4. (7/16/18)
The Fishing Bridge Trailhead (5K2) of the Howard Eaton Trail between Fishing Bridge (5K2) and Canyon Wapiti Lake trailhead (4K7) is closed due to construction. The trail is open, but no entry or exit via (5K2) (10/15/18)Wrangler Lake trail and campsite is dry and clear of down trees. (7/17/18)
Pelican Valley/Turbid Lake (5K3)
Pelican Trailhead closeddue to fishing bridge construction. Visitors wanting to go to from Soda Butte to the Lake area will need to start at Turbin Lake. There will be a detour to get to Turbid Lake due to the construction.
Hazard buoys, marker buoys, and navigation aids are all in place. (6/13/18)
Motorized boaters, it is your responsibility to know where the mileage zones and non-motorized boat zones are, and to abide by the regulations. (6/13/2018)
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.
Access to Sedge Bay (5K4) is only through the East Entrance due to Fishing Bridge Construction. Boat permits and AIS inspections are not available. Boaters will need to arrange inspection at the South Entrance.(10/15/18)
Heart Lake (8N1)
Bear Frequenting Area: Strong Bear Warningfor 8H1, 8H2, 8H3, 8H4, 8H5, and 8H6. Carry bear spray, make a lot of noise, and hike in groups. (9/7/18)
There is currently a fire south of Heart lake at Basin Creek. Visitors may see smoke and or flames. Fire lookouts have left for the season. If visitors see any significant growth in the fire, more than just a few trees, we ask that they report that information to the central backcountry office at 307-344-2160. With current weather forecast there is no expectation that the fire will grow. (10/2/18)
Mt. Sheridan trail has cleared of down trees and is free of snow.(8/1/18)
Stock Use: Heart Lake Trail is open to stock. (7/16/18)
Stock Use: Basin Creek Cutoff Trail is open to stock use. The trail from campsite 8C6 north to the junction with the Basin Creek Cut-off trail has reopened to stock. (7/26/18)
The Heart River crossings south of campsite 8J4 and North of campsite 8C5 are crossable. (7/3/18)
South Boundary Area/Snake River/Two Ocean Plateau (8K7, 8K8, 6K3)
Bear Frequenting Area: Strong Bear Warningfor Two Ocean Plateau Trail from Trail Creek-Two Ocean Cutoff Trail Junction to South Boundary Trail Junction. Carry bear spray, make a lot of noise, and hike in groups. (9/16/18)
Bear Frequenting Area: Strong Bear Warningfor Campsite 6M5. Carry bear spray, make a lot of noise, and hike in groups. (9/16/18)
Campsite 8C6 is open; caution bear frequenting the area. (9/02/18)
Bear Frequenting the Lewis River Channel and Dogshead trailhead, make sure to hike in groups, carry bearspray, and make noise. (10/18/18)
All Shoshone Lake Area trails have been cleared. (7/11/18)
8T1 to Lake Junction is likely wet (8/28/18)
Delacy Creek outlet at Shoshone is 1 ft deep and slow moving water. (7/2/18)
Lewis River Channel is averaging 1-2.5 feet deep, swift, and very cold. A wet suit is recommended. Please note the use of felt soled waders is not allowed in Yellowstone National Park. (8/8/18)
High winds are a daily occurrence on the Lake, especially in the afternoon. Boaters crossing Shoshone Lake should use good judgement to evaluate conditions and cross only at the "narrows".
Stock Use: The Horse bypass trail is closed to stock. No stock on the western end of the trail near the geyser basin. (7/1/18)
Lone Star Trail (OK1) & Howard Eaton Trail (OK2)
Lone Star trail open.
Spring Creek trail is open (9/5/18)
The Grassy Lake Road is open and can be driven in its entirety. There are rough areas that are slow going and not recommended for low clearance vehicles. (8/8/18)
Bechler Meadows and Falls River area
The Boundary Creek footbridge near campsite 9B1 has been pulled for the season. The river crossing is about 2 1/2 feet. (10/18/18)
Stong Bear Warning for Bechler Meadow trail. There have been a black bear hanging around and going through campsites. Hikers are advised to hike in groups, carry bear spray, make noise, and make sure that food is properly stored at all times. (9/5/18)
Stock Use: Bechler Meadows open to stock and dry with only a few normal boggy patches.(7/1/18)
Bechler Canyon/Bechler River trail
BEAR WARNING: Bear frequenting the area between campsites 8G1, and 9D4. Make sure to hike in groups, make noise, carry bear spray, and hang food and scented items at all times. (9/9/18)
Fords Conditions as follows:
Near 9B2 is running 2-3 feet and slow.(7/17/19)
Near 9B6 is running 2.5 feet and very swift. Use Caution. Not advised for inexperienced hikers.(7/17/18)
Near 9B8 is running 2 feet and moderately fast.(7/17/18)
Rocky Ford near campsite 9C1 is around 20 inches deep with a slower current and is passable. (6/28/18)
Trails are drying out(7/17/18)
Stock Use: Bechler Canyon Trail is open. (7/1/18)
Bechler Canyon trail clear of down trees from the Ranger station to campsite 9D4.
Boundary Creek/Dunanda Falls
Trails to Dunanda Falls open. (7/218)
The foodpole is down at site 9A6. Campsite is open but approvedbear-proof containers are required. (7/2/18)
Union Falls/Mountain Ash Creek
Stong Bear Warningfor all of Union Falls. There have been several bears hanging around and going through campsites. Hikers are advised to hike in groups, make noise, and make sure that food is properly stored at all times. (9/5/18)
All trails to Union Falls are clear of down trees and rivers are crossable. (7/11/18)
Stock Use: Union Falls is open to stock use.
Grassy Lake (9K6)
CAUTION: Bear frequenting the area
Stock Use: Union Falls is open to stock use.
Pitchstone Plateau (8K4)
The Pitchstone Plateau (8K4) has been cleared of down trees up until about a mile past the campsites.(7/25/18)