Hiking the Beula Lake Trail
Beula Lake Trail, Yellowstone National Park
Hike #6, Beula Lake Trail
Beula Lake Trailhead 8K6
Southwest Section - Minimal Traffic
Yellowstone National Park

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Location: Southwest Section (See map to the right)
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate - Out-and-back or overnighter
Distance: 5.2 mi/8.3 km round-trip
Elevation Gain: 350 ft.
Best time to visit: July-October. (Road to trailhead is impassable during the spring)

Backcountry Camping: Yes. 2 sites - 8A1 & 8A2
Click here to view a list of the backcountry campsites for this area.

Full Description: Read the full description or view photos of this hike.
Trail Maps: Beartooth Publishing - Yellowstone National Park

Finding the Trailhead - Beula Lake (8K6)
From Flagg Ranch:
Drive west approximately 9.1 miles toward Grassy Lake Reservoir via the Ashton-Flagg Ranch Road (dirt road). The Beula Lake Trailhead will be on the right just before you reach the reservoir. NOTE: This trailhead is unmarked and is easy to miss. The small pullout for the trail can accommodate between two and three vehicles. Get Directions from the Flagg Ranch

Beula Lake Trailhead Location

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Beula Lake Overview Map
Beula Lake Topo Map
Beula Lake Trail Stats

Trail Details
Trail Condition: Excellent
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Total Mileage: 5.2 mi /8.3 km round-trip
Type of Hike: Out-and-back or overnighter
Wow Factor: A quiet backcountry lake
Elevation Gain: 350 ft.

Nearest Facilities: Flagg Ranch Resort
9.1 miles west of Flagg Ranch - Get Directions
Trailhead Coordinates
Latitude: 44.125515
Longitude: -110.786524

Beula Lake Coordinates
Latitude: 44.159302
Longitude: -110.765405

Approx. Elevations
Trailhead Elevation = 7,250 ft.
Beula Lake = 7,500 ft.
Elevation Gain = 350 ft.
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Beula Lake Photo Gallery
Beula Lake Trail Description

Beula Lake Trail Description (Trailhead 8K6) - Light Traffic

Beula Lake is a peaceful destination located in the southwest corner of Yellowstone. It's an easy day hike or overnight trip at the southern edge of the Pitchstone Plateau.

Beula Lake lies at the southern edge of the Pitchstone Plateau about 2.0 miles north of the park's south boundary. The scenic drive along Ashton-Flagg Ranch Road, also known as the Grassy Lake Road, meanders through the Targhee National Forest which separates Yellowstone from Grand Teton National Park. It's approximately 9.0 miles from Flagg Ranch and the South Entrance of Yellowstone to the very inconspicuous trailhead along the northeast end of Grassy Lake Reservoir. There are no signs at the trailhead but if you look for the obvious path heading north from this small pullout you'll be in the right spot. The trail begins just outside the park's southern border within the Targhee National Forest.

From the parking lot the Beula Lake Trail climbs at a moderate grade over loose gravel, gaining most of its 350 feet of elevation over this first mile. There is a nice view of the reservoir at 0.25 miles which was constructed in the late 1930s to provide water for the farmland in Idaho's Snake River Plain further to the west.

At 0.5 miles the Beula Lake Trail intersects with the South Boundary Trail which follows the southern border of Yellowstone in an uncharacteristically straight line east for 6.6 miles to the South Entrance Station, and west for 1.7 miles to the Grassy Lake Trailhead (9K6). The trail enters Yellowstone National Park at this junction. From here the trail continues climbing through lodgepole pine forests for another half mile before leveling off. In mid July the trail can be very dusty and the biting flies are abundant compared to the mosquitoes but regardless it's always a good idea to carry insect repellent in Yellowstone during the months of June and July.

At 1.2 miles the trail begins a very gradual descent to Beula Lake and in many places the trails seems almost flat. Lodgepole pines are the predominate species throughout this region and on the west side of the trail young trees grow in nearly impenetrable clusters. To the east the taller and more mature trees, untouched by the fire, stand tall against the bright blue sky. Forest fires are an integral part of the Yellowstone ecosystem and this type of scenery is common throughout the park.

Approximately a quarter of a mile from the lake its sparkling waters are visible between the thin trunks of lodgepole pines. From this vantage point the trail drops steeply to meet the lakes southwestern shoreline. There are two nice campsites located at Beula Lake, 8A1 and 8A2 (★★★) and both are very similar but 8A2 is much more private because it is situated at the end of the trail.

The water along the shoreline is extremely shallow and a number of partially submerged trees reach outward toward matts of yellow pond lily that mark the edge of deeper water. In July large numbers of boreal bluet (damselflies) can be seen darting between blades of grass at the water's edge, their bright blue bodies clinging to strands of grass with delicate legs. Overhead a pair of osprey hovered patiently, waiting for the chance to swoop down on any unsuspecting fish.

Beula Lake is the headwaters of the Falls River which heads west along Yellowstone's southern border where it is eventually joined by the Bechler River. The lake contains a nice population of cutthroat trout that average about 12 inches. A float tube makes navigating the lake much easier.

NOTE: Many of the trailheads along the Ashton-Flagg Road begin in the Targhee National Forest just outside of Yellowstone's southern borders. Trailheads are often unmarked and may be difficult to locate so a good map is imperative. The Ashton-Flagg Road (Grassy Lake Road) runs east and west for about 50 miles between the South Entrance of Yellowstone and Ashton, Idaho. Approximately 32.0 miles of the road is unpaved and can be difficult to travel during the spring. The road is closed during the winter. There are no services along this route. Click to view this route.

Click here to download your FREE Yellowstone Backcountry Trip Planner - Contains backcountry campsite information, backcountry permit information, park service phone numbers, bear management information and hiking/backpacking checklists.

WARNING: YOU MUST BE WELL PREPARED and carry the necessary equipment to make your hike a safe one. You are responsible for your own well-being while trekking in these remote wilderness locations. Help or rescue can be hours or even days away.

Read more about obtaining Yellowstone Backcountry Permits.

Nearby Hiking Trails
South Boundary Trail West (Trailhead 8K5)
South Boundary Trail (Trailhead 8K7)
Grassy Lake (Trailhead 9K6)
Cascade Creek (Trailhead 9K5)
Fish Lake (Trailhead 9K3)

Nearby Campgrounds
Headwaters Campground - Headwaters Campground is located at Flagg Ranch Resort approximately 9.1 miles east of the Beula Lake Trailhead. The campground has 24 hour showers, laundry facilities tent sites, and pull through RV sites with full hook-ups. Each site has a fire pit and picnic table. Click here to make online reservations or call: 1-800-443-2311. A general store, restaurant, gift shop, visitor center and gas station (seasonal) are located nearby. Get directions from the Beula Lake Trailhead to the Headwaters Campground.

Grant Village Campground - Grant Village Campground is located approximately 33.2 miles northeast of the Beula Lake Trail and has 430 sites and full amenities. Sites are $29.00 + per night. Includes 2 showers per day. Reservations accepted. Generators are permitted from 8am - 8pm. Click here to make online reservations or call: 1-866-439-7375. A general store, restaurant, gift shop, visitor center and gas station (seasonal) are located nearby - Get directions from the Beula Lake Trailhead to the Grant Village Campground.

Lewis Lake Campground - Lewis Lake Campground is located approximately 22.4 miles northeast of the Beula Lake Trail and has 85 sites. Campsites are $15.00 per night. Reservations are not accepted. Generators are not permitted. Not recommended for motorhomes or trailers over 25' - Get directions from the Beula Lake Trailhead to the Lewis Lake Campground.

Post Hike Meals
There is a restaurant, general store, campground, lodge, gas station, visitor center and gift shop located at Flagg Ranch and the South Entrance.

Directions to the Beula Lake Trailhead
Beartooth Publishing Outdoor Recreational Maps
The following map from Beartooth Publishing covers all of the hiking trails located in Yellowstone National Park. For more information about these maps click here.

Directions to the Beula Lake Trailhead

Click the map to launch directions
from the Flagg Ranch to the
Beula Lake Trail.


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