Hiking Sepulcher Mountain
Sepulcher Mountain, Yellowstone National Park
Hike #11, Sepulcher Mountain Trail
Glen Creek Trailhead 1K3
Northwest Section - Light to Moderate Traffic
Yellowstone National Park

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Location: Northwest Section (See map to the right)
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult - Out-and-back or loop
Distance: 12.5 mi/20.1 km as a loop
Elevation Gain: 2,366 ft.
Best time to visit: June-October

Backcountry Camping: No

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

Finding the Trailhead - Glen Creek (1K3)
From Mammoth Hot Springs:
From Mammoth Hot Springs drive south on US-89 approximately 4.8 miles towards Norris Junction. The trailhead is on the right as you exit Golden Gate Canyon and the parking lot is on the left.
Get Directions from Mammoth Hot Springs

NOTE - Backcountry camping permits for this area can be obtained at the Albright Visitor Center (at Mammoth Hot Springs). Open daily, year-round. Hours vary depending on the time of year - (307) 344-2263.

Read more about obtaining Yellowstone Backcountry Permits.

Sepulcher Mountain Trailhead Location

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Sepulcher Mountain Overview Map
Sepulcher Mountain Trail Stats

Trail Details
Trail Condition: Good
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Total Mileage: 12.5 mi /20.1 km as a loop
Type of Hike: Out-and-back or loop
Wow Factor: Amazing views of the entire park
Elevation Gain: 2,366 ft.

Nearest Facilities: Mammoth Hot Springs
4.8 miles south of Mammoth Hot Springs - Get Directions

Trailhead Coordinates (1K3)
Latitude: 44.932329
Longitude: -110.728111

Summit Coordinates
Latitude: 44.989084
Longitude: -110.768623

Approx. Elevations
Trailhead Elevation = 7,286 ft.
Summit Elevation = 9,652 ft.
Elevation Gain = 2,366 ft.
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Yellowstone Backcountry Info

Sepulcher Mountain Photo Gallery
Bunsen Peak Trail Description

Sepulcher Mountain Trail Description (1K3) - Moderate Traffic

Compared to the other peaks in the Gallatin Range it's easy to overlook this nondescript mountain at the northern edge of the park, but don't be fooled by appearances, Sepulcher Mountain has some of the best views in Yellowstone.

From the Glen Creek Trailhead the trail heads northwest for 1.8 miles along the Fawn Pass Trail over fields of sagebrush mixed with a wide variety of unique and colorful wildflowers. As the trail crosses the open expanse of Gardners Hole, expect extraordinary views of Electric Peak, the Gallatin Range and of course Sepulcher Mountain. The first 1.8 miles is an easy walk all the way to the Fawn and Snow Pass junctions where you can choose a few alternate hikes (see below). We've seen bighorn sheep on the slopes of Terrace Mountain which is on your right as you walk the first few miles of the Glen Creek Trail. Bison, elk and grizzly bears are also common in this area as well.

After reaching the Snow Pass Junction the trail continues toward Sepulcher Mountain climbing through a small notch on the Sportsman Lake Trail. You'll begin gaining a little elevation as the trail climbs this narrow section to the junction with the Sepulcher Mountain Trail. Glen Creek will be on your left as you work your way up this easy grade. Moose often frequent this area so be on the lookout and you may catch a glimpse of these solitary animals grazing in the wetlands that border this small creek.

At 2.5 miles the Sepulcher Mountain Trail enters from the right and the steady climb to the summit begins. It's another 2.5 miles to the top of Sepulcher from this location but there are plenty of great views to soak up as you begin zigzagging your way to the top on a beautiful open hillside. Electric Peak will be visible to the left and the peaks of the Gallatin Range stretch to the southern horizon.

Just before reaching the summit the trail enters a wooded section for the last 0.4 miles as you make your way up the final ridge to the top of Sepulcher. Upon reaching the summit the best views are to the north and northeast with Electric Peak standing at 10,928 feet just across the valley. The massive Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness is visible to the northeast and the pyramid shaped summit of Emigrant Peak can be seen overshadowing the distant hills.

From the summit you'll begin descending the northeast side of Sepulcher to a beautiful rocky point that lies about 0.4 miles further along this loop. At this overlook there are a number of dramatic vantage points that look down on the town of Gardiner and the Yellowstone River as it exits the park and makes its way through the beautiful valley below. If you hike Sepulcher as an out and back make sure you visit this overlook as well before you begin your descent back to the Glen Creek Trailhead. It's well worth the extra 0.8 of a mile it takes to reach the overlook at this craggy point.

If you continue this hike as a loop you'll double back toward Sepulcher briefly before connecting once again with the main trail which begins descending on the left. You'll follow the edge of a cliff for a short distance through gnarled and broken trees as the trail drops steeply toward the junction with the Clagett Butte Trail. Over the next 3.2 miles the hike passes through a dense stand of pines, open hillsides and large areas that contain extensive deadfall. At 7.8 miles there is a great view of Mammoth Hot Springs set against the barren hillside of Mount Everts. The trail continues downhill, twisting and turning toward its lowest point at the junction with the Clagett Butte Trail at around 9 miles. Heading right you'll begin ascending again through a pine forest that offers a brief bit of shade until it reaches a flat meadow at 9.3 miles. The Trans Line cuts through this field and will be visible intermittently for the remainder of the hike. On the opposite side of this meadow the trail drops yet again to meet the junction with Snow Pass before climbing a short steep section over the pass. NOTE: During the winter this is a very popular ski trail that starts at the parking lot located at the Upper Terraces.

After climbing over Snow Pass the remainder of the hike covers gently rolling terrain until you reach the junction with the Fawn Pass Trail. Turn left and it's now an easy 1.8 mile trip back to the Glen Creek Trailhead as you cross the open terrain of Gardners Hole one last time.

The Fawn Pass Trail will take you to four beautiful campsites (one is stock only) along the Gardner River and eventually all the way to Fawn Pass. A great hike if you want a really long day hike (10.3 miles one-way to the top of the pass).

You can take the Snow Pass Trail toward Mammoth Hot Springs (downhill) and then ascend back up through the Hoodoos, past Golden Gate and back to the Glen Creek Trailhead for a nice 6.3 mile loop.

Tip: Try to to arrive at the trailhead early if you plan to hike Sepulcher Mountain. This can be a busy area and the parking lot can fill quickly.

WARNING: The weather in Yellowstone can change rapidly at any time of the year. During the summer months afternoon thunderstorms are very common and there is no quick way down from the summit of Bunsen Peak if the weather turns bad. Temperatures can drop significantly within minutes and at elevation the wind will almost always be a factor even on the nicest of days. Start your hike early and be off the mountain by mid afternoon.

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
Fawn Pass - East Side (Trailhead 1K3) - Plenty of mountain scenery with access to four beautiful backcountry campsites. Very popular.
The Hoodoos (Trailhead 1K3) - A nice hike through interesting rock formations located high above Mammoth Hot Springs.
Electric Peak - (Trailhead 1K3) - Climbs to the highest peak in the Gallatin Range at 10,969 ft.
Bunsen Peak (Trailhead 1K4) - A very popular summit with incredible views of the Gallatin Range and the Swan Lake Flat area.
Osprey Falls - (Trailhead 1K4) - Descends into Sheepeater Canyon to the base of this 150' waterfall.
Indian Creek (Trailhead 1K5) - Heads west over scenic Bighorn Pass.
Mount Holmes (Trailhead 1K6) - A long day hike to a lookout tower located at the southern end of the Gallatin Range.
Grizzly Lake (Trailhead 1K8) - Offers access to both Mount Holmes and Trilobite Lake.

Nearby Campgrounds
Mammoth Hot Springs Campground - Open Year-round - Mammoth Campground is located approximately 5.6 miles north of the Glen Creek Trailhead and has 85 sites that are mostly pull-through. Campground has flush-toilets. Campsites are $20.00 per night. Reservations are not accepted. Generators are permitted from 8 am - 8 pm. A gas station, general store, restaurants, hotel and visitor center are located nearby at Mammoth Hot Springs - Get Directions from the Glen Creek Trailhead to Mammoth Campground.

Indian Creek Campground - Indian Creek Campground is located 3.7 miles south of the Glen Creek Trailhead and has 75 primitive sites (no RV hook ups). Campsites are $15.00 per night. Reservations are not accepted. Generators are not permitted - Get Directions from the Glen Creek Trailhead to the Indian Creek Campground.

Yellowstone National Park Backcountry Permits
Overnight backcountry permits for this area can be obtained at the Albright Visitor Center (at Mammoth Hot Springs). Open daily, year-round. Hours vary depending on the time of year - (307) 344-2263. Read more about obtaining Yellowstone Backcountry Permits.

Post Hike Meals
Visit the following restaurants in Mammoth or Gardiner after a day of backcountry hiking.

The Corral Drive-In - Located in Gardiner (Awesome burgers) - Get Directions
K Bar & Cafe - Pizza and beer. 202 Main Street in Gardiner - Get Directions
Outlaws Pizza - You guessed it...Pizza. Located on Scott Street in Gardiner - Get Directions
Terrace Grill - Fast food. Located in Mammoth Hot Springs

Maps for Hiking Sepulcher Mountain
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 Sepulcher Mountain Trailhead

Click the Map to Launch Directions
From Mammoth to the Sepulcher Mountain Trailhead.


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