10 Easy Hikes in Yellowstone National Park (With Map)

Hiking at Yellowstone is a great way to explore the colorful hot pools, geysers, and stunning landscapes. Here’s a list of the best easy hikes in Yellowstone National Park.

This Yellowstone National Park travel guide includes the trail length, trailhead location, and important things to know before hiking at the park.

10 easy hikes at Yellowstone

You can find a hike at Yellowstone no matter your age, ability, or skill level. Check out this list of easy hiking trails at Yellowstone to see a variety of hot pools, geysers, and waterfalls!

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Yellowstone National Park Packing List

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Outdoor Gear we recommend! Travel Gear & Hiking Gear

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Best Time for Hiking at Yellowstone

There are definite best times to visit Yellowstone National Park for setting out and hitting the trail.

Many Yellowstone hiking trails can be wet and muddy during the spring and early summer months. Snow may linger on higher elevation trails until July. Make sure you have waterproof hiking shoes to handle wet trail conditions.

Hiking in the winter requires warm clothing, insulated boots, and showshoes!

Morning is the best time for hiking at Yellowstone to avoid the crowds and grab a parking spot at the most popular locations.

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Tips for Hiking at Yellowstone

Dress in layers when hiking at Yellowstone. Temperatures fluctuate dramatically from morning to daytime. We usually need a fleece jacket to start the day, and always recommend moisture-wicking clothing.

Be sure you’re prepared with all the essentials you’ll need while hiking in Yellowstone:

Bear Spray for Yellowstone Hikes

It’s important to be Bear Aware when exploring Yellowstone hikes. You may encounter both grizzly bears and black bears on the trails in Yellowstone National Park. Learn how to prevent a bear encounter and what to do if you see a bear while hiking.

Carry bear spray and know how to use it. You can rent bear spray at Canyon Village at the kiosk at the northwest corner of the visitor center.

Cell Service at Yellowstone

Cell service is limited in most areas of Yellowstone. Be sure to download your lodging reservation details or take a screenshot before arriving at the park. I highly recommend AllTrails Pro to download your hike details and navigate without cell service.

Pets at Yellowstone

Pets are not allowed on Yellowstone hiking trails and cannot be left unattended in your vehicle – pets in Yellowstone National Park.

Stay on the Trails at Yellowstone

The ground at Yellowstone can be very unstable and leaving the trails and boardwalks can lead to injury or death.

Don’t throw anything into the thermal areas. This can change the composition, colors, and temperature of the hot pools so that they are never the same again.

Map of the Easy Hiking Trails in Yellowstone National Park

Use this interactive Google map of the easy hiking trails in Yellowstone National Park to navigate around the park!

map of easy hikes in Yellowstone National Park

Best Easy Hikes in Yellowstone National Park

This list of easy hikes does not include the “boardwalk trails” where you’re walking on wooden platforms over fragile thermal areas. We’ll talk about those trails below.

We’ve designated an easy hike in Yellowstone to be less than three miles roundtrip, no more than 300 feet of elevation gain, and is suitable for taking kids!

View from the Grand Prismatic Overlook at Yellowstone

Grand Prismatic Overlook Trail

  • Hike length: 1.2 miles round trip
  • Time required: 1 to 2 hours 
  • Hike difficulty: Easy 
  • Trailhead Location: The Grand Prismatic Overlook Trailhead is located in Midway Geyser Basin’s south area at the Fairy Falls Parking Lot. 

The Grand Prismatic Overlook Trail is one of the most popular Old Faithful area day hikes in Yellowstone!

Due to Bear Management Area closures, the Grand Prismatic Trail usually opens in late May. It’s an active bear area so carry bear spray any time of year!

Parking is very limited – RV’s, buses, and cars pulling trailers are not permitted to park here.

The Grand Prismatic Overlook Trail is a must-do easy Yellowstone hike. It offers a stunning vantage point of the vibrant-colored Grand Prismatic Spring. 

Remember this trail takes you to both Fairy Falls and Grand Prismatic Overlook. Take the trail to the left to reach the overlook platform.

Morning is the best time to avoid the crowds and grab a parking spot, but the spring can be covered with steam due to the cooler morning temperatures.

In order to get the iconic photograph of Grand Prismatic, the colors are most vibrant midday on a sunny day. 

Mystic Falls at Yellowstone

Mystic Falls Trail

  • Hike length: 2.4 miles round trip
  • Time required: 2 to 4 hours 
  • Hike difficulty: Easy to Moderate 
  • Trailhead Location: At the south side of Biscuit Basin, park in pullouts and walk 0.5 miles north along the Upper Geyser Basin to Biscuit Basin Trail.  

The Mystic Falls Trail passes by several thermal features, including Sapphire Pool, which is an impressive thermal feature.

At two-thirds of a mile hikers will reach the Fairy Creek Trail junction. Though you can proceed to the falls in either direction, the left fork is the easiest and most direct route to Mystic Falls.

We recommend that you continue climbing up the trail to reach the plateau above to get a closer and much better view of this beautiful Yellowstone waterfall.

Return the way you came. If you take a left when you reach the Biscuit Basin boardwalk, you can explore the parts you missed at the beginning of your hike.

storm point trail at Yellowstone

Storm Point Trail

  • Hike length: 2.3 miles round trip
  • Time required: 1 to 2 hours 
  • Hike difficulty: Easy 
  • Trailhead Location: Indian Pond pullout, 3 miles east of Fishing Bridge Visitor Center.

The Storm Point Trail is usually closed in late spring and early summer due to bear activity. We recommend you check with the Fishing Bridge rangers about the trail before heading out! Definitely carry bear spray on this hike.

You’ll start the hike in an open meadow overlooking Indian Pond and Yellowstone Lake. The path follows the pond then turns right into the forest.

When you emerge from the trees, you’ve reached Storm Point, an outcropping of land along the shore of Yellowstone Lake with rocky cliffs that get battered by the waves — be prepared for wind! Look for marmots in the rocks here.

Follow the shoreline to the west where the trail loops back through the forest and Indian Pond.

Trout Lake at Yellowstone

Trout Lake Trail

  • Hike length: 1.2 miles round trip
  • Time required: 1 to 2 hours 
  • Hike difficulty: Easy 
  • Trailhead Location: The trail starts from a small pullout about 1.5 miles south of Pebble Creek Campground on the Northeast Entrance Road.

In order to score a parking spot here, morning and late afternoons are best. Once the small lot is filled, you’ll need to come back and try another time.

The first part of the Trout Lake Trail is the hardest as you climb up and over a hill. You’ll then have a short downhill hike to the lake. The trail is flat as you hike around the lake.

We recommend bear spray for this trail since Lamar Valley is an active bear area. We’ve also seen bison, elk and moose in this area as well! And of course look for trout and even otters in the lake water.

brink of the lower falls at Yellowstone

Brink of the Lower Falls Trail

  • Hike length: 0.8 miles round trip
  • Time required: 1 hour 
  • Hike difficulty: Easy but steep
  • Trailhead Location: Brink of Lower Falls parking area

Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River is found in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. This 308-foot waterfall is probably the most famous in the park and can be viewed from many vantage points.

The Brink of the Lower falls trail takes you to the top of this waterfall where you can hear the loud roar and feel the power of the rushing water – there’s nothing like it!

But this trail is challenging because you descend 250 feet down switchbacks, then must return back up the way you came. The trail is short and there are benches for resting so you can take your time.

To see the famous view of this waterfall, stop at Artist Point!!

brink of the upper falls at yellowstone

Brink of the Upper Falls

  • Hike length: 0.25 miles round trip
  • Time required: 30 minutes
  • Hike difficulty: Easy 
  • Trailhead Location: Take the road located between the North and South Rim Drives that takes you to a parking lot.

If the Brink of the Lower Falls hike is too steep, then try the Brink of the Upper Falls! It’s a short walk from the parking lot to the 109 foot Upper Falls!

mud volcano trail at Yellowstone

Easy Boardwalk Hikes at Yellowstone That Are Wheelchair-Friendly

Did you know that Yellowstone has quite a few wheelchair-friendly trails?! Get all the detailed information on the Yellowstone website. These are the trails with the best views or most interesting features that we recommend.

Mud Volcano Trail — This is a 0.6-mile loop trail of boardwalks and pavement that begins and ends at the same parking lot, though at different trailheads. It’s an active and smelly area so it’s a fun place for the kids!

Ice Lake Trail — An easy 1-mile there-and-back trail to leads to a couple of backcountry campsites and the western edge of the forest-lined Ice Lake.

North Rim Trail — North Rim Drive begins 1.2 miles south of Canyon Junction. This one-way road takes you to four accessible views of the canyon, each featuring a different aspect of the canyon. At Brink of Lower Falls, glimpse Lower Falls and Upper Falls from paved accessible trails at the top.

Upper Mammoth Terrace — For wheelchair-accessible views of the hot springs, enter the Upper Terrace Drive and proceed a short distance to the designated parking area on the left; the boardwalk begins on the right. Continue 0.7 miles around the drive to Orange Spring Mound, which has wheelchair accessible parking and a short boardwalk to an exhibit. Some of the Lower Terrace boardwalks are also wheelchair-accessible.

Porcelain Basin Trail — The Porcelain Basin side of Norris Geyser Basin can be explored on two easy boardwalk loops. The main loop is about half a mile long, and an auxiliary loop brings the total to 1.1 miles. Some assistance may be needed on the steeper portions of the boardwalk.

Morning Glory Pool Trail  — This easy 2.8 mile hike loop is perfect for the whole family. There’s a paved pathway from Old Faithful down to the Morning Glory Pool. You’ll pass by Castle Geyser, Daisy Geyser, and Riverside Geyser along the way.

West Thumb Upper Loop Trail — This is a 0.6-mile loop trail that begins and ends at the same trailhead. You’ll love its location right along the shores of Yellowstone Lake.

View from Observation Point over Old Faithful Yellowstone

Best Day Hikes in Yellowstone

If you’re looking for longer hikes and don’t mind moderate trails, check out this list of day hikes in Yellowstone:

Yellowstone Maps and Guides at Amazon:

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Plan a Yellowstone Vacation

Places to stay in West Yellowstone

Places to stay in Gardiner

Places to stay in Cooke City or Silver Gate

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