Backcountry Situation Report

Last Updated: September 21, 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

Offices are open 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, seven days a week and are closed for lunch.

Albright Visitor Center (Backcountry office): Open through October 14.
Bechler Ranger Station: Open through October 31.
Bridge Bay Ranger Station: Closed.
Canyon Visitor Education Center (Backcountry office): Closed for the season.
Grant Visitor Center (Backcountry office): Open through October 9.
Old Faithful Ranger Station: Open through September 29.
Snake River Ranger Station: Open
Tower Ranger Station: Closed for the season.
West Yellowstone Visitor Information Center: Open through October 1.

Snow

Please note that the park's backcountry is starting to receive significant snowfall. There are areas of the backcountry that have received up to two feet of snow overnight.(9/21/17)

Fires

Before deciding to have a campfire, check that your campsite allows for fires, and consider the current weather conditions and current fire danger.

Fishing Season

The general fishing season is open. See the fishing regulations for details and areas that have delayed openings.

Horse Use

The overnight and day use horse season has opened. We ask that you please avoid any muddy, snowy areas or anywhere where your horses/mules/llamas may create any significant impacts. Please reference the specific trail/area you are planning on riding to check for any stock closures. There are several trails that are not suitable for stock. Stock are not permitted in thermal areas. Permits are required for both day rides and overnight horsepacking.

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.


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

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

  • Snow Pass trailhead will be inaccessible September 25-28 due to a road construction project.
  • Snow Pass trail is open.
  • Beaver Ponds trail in good condition. (7/5/17)
  • Stock Use: Beaver Ponds trail is not suitable for stock.
  • Visitors should familiarize themselves with the no off trail travel restrictions of the Gallatin Bear Management Area.
  • Stock Use: Upper terraces trail is not suitable for stock use.

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

  • Glen Creek Trailhead will be inaccessible September 25-28 due to a road construction project.
  • Visitors should familiarize themselves with with the no off trail travel restrictions of the Gallatin Bear Management Area.
  • Caution: Bear Beware WD2 Sportsman Lake grizzly seen near campsite (9/04/17)
  • Fawn Pass trail cleared. (7/11/17)
  • Specimen Creek trailhead (WK3) to Sportsman Lake open and cleared of down trees. (7/11/17)
  • Stock Use: Parking at Glenn Creek is tight for horse trailers, please make sure to leave room for other trailers.

Bunsen Peak/Osprey Falls (1K4)

  • Bunsen Peak and Osprey Falls are in good condition. (6/25/17)
  • Stock Use: Osprey Falls trail is not suitable for stock.

Bighorn Pass trail (1K5)

  • Bighorn Pass (1K5) trailhead will be inaccessible September 25-28 due to a road construction project.
  • Beginning September 11 parking for the Bighorn Pass trailhead (at Indian Creek Campground) will be limited. The road into the campground and main trailhead parking area will be closed. Visitors can park just outside the gate as long as they do not block the gate.
  • Bighorn Pass trailhead at Indian Creek Campground will be inaccessible September 25-28 due to a road construction project.
  • Bighorn Pass/Indian Creek trailhead (1K5) is cleared of down trees. (6/27/17)
  • Visitors should familiarize themselves with with the no off trail travel restrictions of the Gallatin Bear Management Area.

Sheepeater trail

  • Stock Use: not suitable for stock.

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)

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

  • Trails have been cleared and are in good condition. (7/21/17)

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

  • All campsites are in good condition. (9/9/17)
  • All downed trees have been cleared. (9/9/17)

Bacon Rind (WK4)

  • Bacon Rind trail is Open. (9/02/17)

Fawn Pass/Fan Creek (WK5)

  • Fawn Pass and Fan Creek trails have been cleared and are in good condition. (7/21/17)

Bighorn Pass (WK6)

  • Bighorn Pass Trail has been cleared, campsites are in good shape. (7/21/17)

Gneiss Creek/Cougar Creek (WK7/WK8)

  • Gneiss Creek is in good condition. (7/25/17)
  • Last year's fire has made the Gneiss Creek trail a bit hard to follow in spots. There is also a beaver dam that has made the Maple Creek crossing deep. Cross 200 yards upstream. See map.

Harlequin Lake Trail

  • Harlequin Lake trail is open. (6/15/17)
  • Stock Use: Harlequin Lake trail is not suitable to stock.

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Northeast

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)

Wraith Falls

  • Stock Use: Wraith Falls not suitable for stock.

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

  • Rescue Creek trail is open and has been cleared. (6/10/17)
  • Closed: Lava Creek Trail. The Lava Creek trail is closed east of the bridge from trailhead 1N3. The Lava Creek Trail from 1N3,and 1N6. is closed.(9/19/17)

Lost Lake Loop

  • Good condition. (5/30/17)

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

  • All access trails to Garnet Hill Loop is CLOSED due bear frequenting the area and carcass. (9/13/17)
  • Hellroaring Creek area trails are in good condition. (7/5/17)
  • Coyote Creek trail is in good shape. Be cautious of Coyote Creek. Cross with caution. (7/11/17)
  • Conditions on Bull Mountain Loop (Gallatin National Forest north of Hellroaring Creek and Coyote Creek) trails can be hard to find. Not recommended for novice backpackers. (6/27/17)
Buffalo Fork (2N3)
  • Buffalo Fork trail has been cleared to the park boundary. (7/7/17)

Garnet Hill (2K2)

  • All access trails to Garnet Hill Loop is CLOSED due bear frequenting the area and carcass. (9/13/17)

Slough Creek (2K5, 2N4)

  • Slough Creek trail is open and in good condition. (6/15/17)
  • Buffalo Fork trail has been cleared to the park boundary. (7/17/17)

Tower Falls Trail

  • Stock Use: Tower falls trail is not suitable for stock.

Pebble Creek (3K2, 3K4)

  • Pebble Creek Trail has been cleared of downed trees. (6/24/17)

Bliss Pass (between Slough Creek and Pebble Creek)

  • Bliss Pass has been cleared of down trees(7/30/17)

Trout Lake

  • Trout, Shrimp and Buck lakes open. (5/9/17)
  • Stock Use: Trout Lake,Shrimp, and Buck lakes trail is not suitable for stock

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Central

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

  • Yellowstone Picnic Area trail is open. (6/6/17)
  • Specimen Ridge trail is open.(7/11/17)
  • Agate Creek campsite 2Y1 is open. (6/20/17)

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

  • Mist Creek Pass has been cleared of down trees. (7/17/17)
  • (5K3) Pelican Valley trailhead and the Pelican Valley Bear Management Area is open for day use only from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (7/4/17)

Cache Creek/Thunderer (3K1, 3K3)

  • Campsites 3C2, 3C3, and 3C4 are open. (6/21/17)
  • Republic Pass conditions good. (7/11/17)
  • Thunderer trail has been cleared of down trees. Soda Butte River is crossable.(7/17/17)

Miller Creek

  • Stock Use: There is a sink hole in the middle of the river channel entering into campsite 3M3. A new route into the campsite has been cut out just to the left of the normal crossing spot.(8/11/17)
  • Miller Creek has been cleared of downed trees. (7/1/17)
  • (5K3) Pelican Valley trailhead and the Pelican Valley Bear Management Area is open for Day Use only from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (7/4/17)

Frost Lake

  • (5K3) Pelican Valley trailhead and the Pelican Valley Bear Management Area is open for Day Use only from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (7/4/17)
  • Frost Lake Trail has been cleared and has some lingering snow. (7/15/17)

Avalanche Peak

  • Open, good condition.(7/12/17)
  • Stock Use: Avalanche Peak trail not suitable for stock.

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

  • Due to a bison carcass in the area, the first three miles of the North end of the Howard Eaton trail (starting from Canyon) are closed to off trail travel.(9/11/17)
  • (5K3) Pelican Valley trailhead and the Pelican Valley Bear Management Area is open for Day Use only from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (7/4/17)
  • Astringent Creek trail and Wapiti Lake trail have been cleared of down trees. (7/13/17)

Pelican Creek/Turbid Lake (5K3)

  • Closed: The Turbid Lake trail is closed. This includes all access points (Junction from Pelican Valley, Lake Butte, and across from the 9 mile trail (5K5)(9/12/17)
  • Pelican Valley Bear Management Area is open for day use only from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. It is wet in areas and slightly boggy (7/8/17)

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Canyon

South Rim and North Rim

  • Some destinations are unavailable because of the Canyon Overlooks and Trails Restoration Project (7/17/17)
  • Stock Use: North & South Rim Canyon trails are not suitable for stock.
  • Stock Use: Artist Point / Point Sublime is not suitable for stock.

Mount Washburn (4K9, 2K6)

  • Open.

7-Mile Hole (4K6)

  • Report on visitors seeing a grizzly bear along the trail prior to dropping into the canyon.(8/14/17)
  • 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.
  • Stock Use: The 7 Mile Hole trail is closed to stock. Trail is not suitable for stock use.

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

  • CAUTION: Bear Frequenting the area near Cascade, Grebe, Wolf and Ice Lakes trailheads 4K2,4K3, 4K4, 4K5, 4N4 near campsites 4D1, 4D2, 4D3, 4E2, 4E3, 4E4,4G2, 4G3, 4G4, 4G5 and 4G7. Sow with two cubs (8/20/17)
  • Observation Peak trail is in good condition. (7/10/17)
  • Beginning August 21 park staff will be initiating a project to remove non-native rainbow trout, brook trout and lake-dwelling grayling from Grebe, Wolf, and Ice lakes and connecting streams above Virginia Cascades. To ensure public safety during this project, trails and campsites within the upper Gibbon River drainage will be closed to public access. The Ice Lake area (campsites 4D1, 4D2, 4D3) will be closed from August 21 to September 30. The Grebe and Wolf lake area (campsites 4G2, 4G3, 4G4, 4G5, 4G6, 4G7) will be closed from September 5 to 30.

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

  • Mary Mountain trail open. Trail has been cleared of downed trees. (8/7/17)

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.
  • Howard Eaton trail from Solfatara trailhead (1K7) to Ice Lake trailhead (4K2) has down trees. (7/10/17)

Monument Geyser

  • Stock Use: Monument Geyser is not suitable for stock use.

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Old Faithful

Stock Use: All thermal areas are closed to stock use.

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

  • The Freight Road Trailhead (OK6), Fountain Flats Drive and Fountain Freight Road are open. (6/1/17)
  • Fairy Falls trailhead (OK5) is open. The parking area is congested and finding a parking space may be difficult. (7/19/17)

Mallard Lake (OK9, OK3)

  • Mallard lake trail cleared of down trees and in good condition. (7/5/17)

Mary Mountain (OK7)

  • Mary Mountain trail is dry and cleared of down trees. (8/7/17)

Summit Lake (9K9,OK4)

  • Summit Lake has been cleared of down trees up to less than one mile of the lake. (7/8/17)

Artist Paint Pots

  • Stock use: Artist Paint Pots not suitable for stock use.




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Southeast

Elephant Back, Natural Bridge, Storm Point

  • Elephant Back trail has three down trees that have fallen on top of each other uphill from the loop, where the loop splits. Traveling through may be difficult. (8/25/17)
  • Storm Point trail, and Pelican Creek Nature trails are open and have been cleared. (6/6/17)
  • Natural Bridge trail is open. (6/14/17)
  • Stock Use: Storm Point trail is not suitable for stock use.

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

  • Trails throughout the Thorofare, Mountain Creek, and Lynx Divide have been cleared. (7/27/17)
  • Trails accessing campsites 6D1 and 6Y4 are wet and boggy. (6/29/17)
  • Trail Creek and Two Ocean Plateau cleared of down trees. (7/29/17)

Creek crossing conditions (7/27/17)

  • Most creek crossings are running about 2 feet deep. (7/27/17)
  • Yellowstone River crossings near campsites 6B1 and 6B2 - (Thorofare to Trail Creek) is 3 ft. deep. Recommended only for experienced hikers.Use Caution. (8/10/17)
  • Thorofare Creek crossing near campsite 6T1 is crossable 50 to 75 yards upstream at the gravel bar. The channel near the trail is too deep for both foot and stock parties. (7/27/17)

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

  • Many of the 5 mile per hour navigation buoys are not in place. Motorized boaters it is your responsibility to know where the no wake, and non motorized zones are. Please familiarize yourself with the zones prior to departing. (7/3/17)
  • 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. There 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 Village Visitor Center. Visitors should check office hours for offices that are open in the late season.

West Thumb Overlook trail

  • Stock use: West Thumb Overlook trail is not suitable for stock.

Pelican Valley (5K3)

  • Pelican Valley Bear Management Area is open for Day Use only from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (7/4/17)
  • Caution Bear Warning Pelican Creek Trail and Turbid Lake Trail bison carcass near the trail past the junction to Turbid Lake (9/12/17)

Heart Lake (8N1)

  • Caution: Bears frequenting the area. Heart Lake trail is open south of the patrol cabin to the Basin Creek cutoff . The Mount Sheridan trail is also open. (9/17/17)
  • All Heart Lake west shore campsites 8H1-6 are closed due to bear activity. (9/17/17)
  • The Heart Lake trail along the north shore of the lake and the Heart River area are posted as bear frequenting area - caution advised. (9/17/17)
  • Heart Lake has been cleared of down trees. (6/30/17)
  • Stock use: Heart Lake Trailhead is open for day rides, with trail closures along the West side of the lake. Strong bear warning for the Heart Lake trail and sites in the area are closed. See above. (9/5/17)
  • Stock use: Heart Lake trail between campsite 8B2 and 8C6 is closed to stock use due to an impassible bog. (7/29/17)

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

  • There is a large aggressive hornets nest on the bridge over Snake Hotsprings just prior to campsite 8C7. Parties should detour around the bridge to avoid gettting stung.(9/8/17)
  • Campsite 8C6 is open, caution bears frequenting the area. (9/17/17)
  • The following trails and campsites are posted as a Bear Frequenting Area: South Boundary Trail between South Entrance and Snake River Cutoff Trail, Basin Creek Cutoff trail, Heart Lake trail south of 8B2, campsites 8C1, 8C6, 8C7, 8B5. There have been several grizzly bears in the area foraging on berries. Make noise and use caution when traveling through the area. Make sure all food, trash, and scented items are properly stored anytime they are not directly being used and attended. (9/04/17)
  • All Snake River trails have been cleared at least once. Many have been cleared multiple times. (7/29/17)
  • Fords will fluctuate with precipitation. Use Caution. (7/29/17)
  • Snake River ford at the South Entrance is currently 12-24" deep. (8/18/17)
  • Stock use: Heart Lake trail between campsite 8C6 and 8B2 is closed to stock use due to an impassible bog. (7/15/17)
  • Stock Use: There is a bridge out between campsite 8C2 and 8C4. Stock detour is in place. (7/29/17)

Riddle Lake (7K3)

  • Riddle Lake trail is open. (7/15/17)
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Southwest

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

  • Caution: North Shoshone Lake Trail and campsites are posted as Bear Frequenting Area. A bear has been frequenting the area near campsites 8S2, 8S3 and 8S4. All food and scented items must be hung when not in use. (7/15/17)
  • All of Shoshone Lake area trails have been cleared of down trees. (8/3/17)
  • Lewis River Channel temperature is approximately 50-55 degress. (8/3/17)
  • There is approximately 6" of standing water along the trail between campsite 8T1 and Shoshone Geyser Basin. (8/3/17)
  • Stock Use: the Horse bypass trail is closed to stock. No stock allowed on the western end of the trail near the geyser basin. Horse parties traveling between the Dogshead Trailhead or DeLacy Creek trailhead and Old Faithful/Bechler area must use the North Shoshone Lake Trail.

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

  • Lone Star and Howard Eaton trails are cleared of down trees (7/11/17).

Bechler Area

  • Cave Falls and the Bechler Ranger station has re-opened.(9/20/17)
  • Campsite 9F1 is CLOSED. Caution, bear frequenting area. (9/20/17)
  • The Grassy Lake Road is open with rough driving conditions. (7/3/17)
  • Mosquitos are starting to die down. (8/15/17)

Bechler Meadows and Falls River area

  • Fords will fluctuate with precipitation. Use caution. (7/30/17)
  • Bechler River ford near campsite 9B2 - 30 inches deep. Look downstream for the shallowest spots - crossing on an angle. (8/15/17)
  • Rocky Ford crossing (near campsite 9C1) is 30 inches deep and swift. Caution advised. (8/15/17)

Bechler Canyon/Bechler River trail

  • There has been a black bear hanging around campsite 9B5. Be Bear aware and make sure that food and scented items are properly stored at all times. (9/8/17)
  • Bechler River fords at campsites 9B6 and 9B8 are 30 inches and swift. Caution advised. (8/15/17)
  • Bridges on the access trails to campsites 9D1 and 9D2 are washed out. Access to these sites will require fording small creeks. (7/21/17)

Boundary Creek/Dunanda Falls

  • Ford at campsite 9A1 is 2 feet deep. (8/15/17)

Robinson Creek

  • Robinson Creek trail cleared from the ranger station to campsite 9A7. (7/3/17)

Union Falls/Mountain Ash Creek

  • South Boundary trail from Cave Falls trailhead (9K2) to Fish Lake area has been cleared. (7/3/17)
  • Fall River Ford at trailhead (9K2) near the Cave Falls area 18" and swift. (8/15/17)
  • Fall River Fords at Cascade Creek trailhead (9K5) and Grassy Lake trailhead (9K6) doable. Fords are running 30 " (8/15/17)
  • Fish Lake Road to access trailhead (9K3) Fish Lake is rough . 4 wheel drive vehicles are advised. (8/15/17)
  • Trails from Fish Lake, Cascade Creek and Grassy Lake Trail to Union Falls have been cleared. Trail to Terraced Falls is also cleared. (7/5/17)

Pitchstone Plateau (8K4)

  • Phantom/Pitchstone trailhead (8K4) is open. (8/27/17)
  • Trail has not been cleared. (7/21/17)
  • Stock Use: Closed to stock. (7/3/17)

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

  • Beula Lake is snow free and clear of downed trees. (6/28/17)
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Contact Us

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

 

Last updated: September 22, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

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

Phone:

(307) 344-7381

Contact Us