Hiking the Avalanche Peak Trail
Avalanche Peak Trail, Yellowstone National Park
Hike #5, Avalanche Peak Trail
Avalanche Peak Trailhead
Southeast Section - Moderate to Heavy Traffic
Yellowstone National Park

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Location: Southeast Section (See map to the right)
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult - Out-and-back with optional lollipop loop
Distance: 5.0 mi/8 km round-trip
Elevation Gain: 2,100 ft.
Best time to visit: July-October

Backcountry Camping: No

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

Finding the Trailhead (Avalanche Peak)
From Fishing Bridge:
Drive approximately 17 miles east along the East Entrance Road heading toward Cody, Wyoming. The trailhead will be on the right just before you reach Eleanor Lake and Sylvan Pass. Get Directions from Fishing Bridge

Avalanche Peak Trailhead Location

Rekindle Your Love for Adventure

Avalanche Peak Overview Map
Avalanche Peak Trail Stats

Trail Details
Trail Condition: Excellent
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Total Mileage: 5.0 mi /8 km round-trip
Type of Hike: Out-and-back or lollipop loop
Wow Factor: See the photos
Elevation Gain: 2,100 ft.

Nearest Facilities: Fishing Bridge
17.5 miles east of Fishing Bridge - Get Directions
Trailhead Coordinates
Latitude: 44.470669
Longitude: -110.142657

Avalanche Peak Coordinates
Latitude: 44.489434
Longitude: -110.140085

Approx. Elevations
Trailhead Elevation = 8,466 ft.
Summit Elevation = 10,566 ft.
Elevation Gain = 2,100 ft.
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Yellowstone Backcountry Info

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Avalanche Peak Photo Gallery
Avalanche Peak Trail Description

Avalanche Peak Trail Description (Trailhead - Avalanche Peak) - Moderate to Heavy Traffic

Visit a place where the land meets the sky and let your spirit soar! The trail to the top of Avalanche Peak is a short but steep hike with unforgettable panoramas in every direction.

After just a few minutes on the Avalanche Peak Trail you may think this hike is better suited for mountain goats, but don't let the steepness of this trail deter you from tackling this peak. The summit has one of the best views in the park and your efforts will be rewarded by endless panoramas of Yellowstone and the beautiful national forests that surround its eastern borders.

From the parking lot at the west end of Eleanor Lake near Sylvan Pass the trail immediately begins climbing through a dense pine forest for about the first 0.65 miles. A small stream that exits near the road can be heard off to the left as you hike in a semi-straight line up through this forest blanketing the bottom half of this high peak. At 0.7 miles the trail eventually crosses this rocky stream near the base of a small meadow filled with a variety of brightly colored wildflowers. After climbing past this meadow the trail curves left and then back to the right through an area covered in vibrant undergrowth that seemed almost iridescent in the early morning sun.

At just over a mile you'll leave the forest and enter a very large meadow at the base of Avalanche Peak. From here the trail heads left, up the east side of a pyramid-shaped slope and then enters another stand of dead trees. The surface of the trail from here to the summit is mostly loose scree which is not terribly difficult to navigate on the way up, but on the return trip these small rocks act like tiny ball bearings, making traction somewhat challenging on the descent...did we mention this was a difficult hike! We recommend bringing along trekking poles to make the descent safer.

At 1.4 miles you exit the trees and ascend to one of the few flat spots along the entire route. From here you'll have a clear view of the summit ridge, and if you look directly to the east you'll see the serrated edge of Hoyt Peak descending sharply to Sylvan Pass and the East Entrance Road. To the south there are three distinct peaks that rise to over 10,000 ft. The nearest is Top Notch Peak with its very prominent bowl shaped depressions carved from its north side, followed by the massive Mount Doane, and finally the pyramid shaped summit of Mount Stevenson a little farther to the south. If you look up toward the summit of Avalanche Peak you'll notice a handful of trails cutting across the mountains eastern face, a couple of which resemble a pair of downhill ski tracks cutting through the loose stone. From this vantage point you can pick any one of these conspicuous paths and follow it to the summit. Our route stayed to the left so we could walk the entire length of the ridge, taking in every bit of the spectacular scenery along the way. After reaching the summit you'll have incredible views of the Grand Tetons and Mount Sheridan to the south, Yellowstone Lake to the southwest and the numerous high peaks of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness bordering the eastern edge of the park. It was a real treat to sit on the summit scouting for new places to explore, and based on the landscape in front of us, there is much to experience in the backcountry of Yellowstone.

OPTIONAL LOLLIPOP LOOP: From the summit of Avalanche Peak you can descend the very obvious, but unmarked trail to the east (see photos), dropping back down to the meadow where you can connect once again with the main trail.

NOTE: It can be extremely windy on the summit of Avalanche Peak and the weather can be very unpredictable at these elevations. There are a handful of man-made windbreaks along the summit that offer some comfort from the wind, however afternoon thunderstorms are very common during the summer months and this is no place to be caught in a lightning storm.

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
Nine Mile (Trailhead 5K5) - Provides access to the eastern edge of Yellowstone Lake and the Thorofare Region.
Storm Point/Indian Pond Trailhead - A nice, short day hike on the northern shores of Yellowstone Lake.
Pelican Creek Nature Trail - Another easy hike located beside Yellowstone Lake just east of Fishing Bridge.
Pelican Cone from the Pelican Valley Trailhead - A long day hike to a remote peak (Pelican Cone) at the southern edge of the Mirror Plateau.
Pelican Valley (Trailhead 5K3) - A great hike through premier wildlife habitat. Provides access to Mist Creek, Astringent Creek & Pelican Creek.

Nearby Campgrounds
Fishing Bridge RV Campground - Hardsided Campers Only - May 8 - Sept. 20 - Fishing Bridge RV Campground is located approximately 17 miles west of the Avalanche Peak Trailhead and has 325 RV sites and full amenities. RV sites are $47.75 per night. Reservations are accepted. Click here to make online reservations or call: 1-866-439-7375. Generators are permitted from 8am - 8pm. A gas station, lodging, general store, restaurants, laundry, dump station, and visitor center are located nearby. Get directions from the Avalanche Peak Trailhead to the Fishing Bridge Campground.

Bridge Bay Campground - May 22 - Sept. 7 - Bridge Bay Campground is located approximately 21 miles west of the Avalanche Peak Trailhead and has 432 sites. Campsites are $21.50 per night. Reservations are accepted. Click here to make online reservations or call: 1-866-439-7375. Generators are permitted from 8am - 8pm. A gas station, lodging, general store, restaurants, laundry, dump station, and visitor center are located at Fishing Bridge - Get directions from the Avalanche Peak Trailhead to the Bridge Bay Campground.

Post Hike Meals
There is a restaurant, general store, visitor center and gift shop located in Fishing Bridge with additional facilities at Lake Lodge/ Lake Village.

Directions to the Avalanche Peak 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 Avalanche Peak Trailhead

Click the map to launch directions
from Fishing Bridge to the
Avalanche Peak Trailhead.


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