Hiking the Seven Mile Hole Trail
Seven Mile Hole Trail, Yellowstone National Park
Hike #8, Seven Mile Hole Trail
Glacial Boulder Trailhead 4K6
Northeast Section - Light to Moderate Traffic
Yellowstone National Park

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Location: Northeast Section (See map to the right)
Difficulty: Difficult - Out-and-back or overnighter
Distance: 9.8 mi/15.7 km round-trip
Elevation Gain: 1,690 ft.
Best time to visit: July-October

Backcountry Camping: Yes. 3 sites - 4C1, 4C2 & 4C3 - No fires allowed
Click here to view a list of backcountry campsites for this area.

Optional Hike: Alternate route to the summit of Mount Washburn (see description).

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

Finding the Trailhead - Glacial Boulder (4K6)
From Canyon:
Drive approximately 1.2 miles south on the Grand Loop Road heading toward the Hayden Valley and Fishing Bridge. Turn left onto the North Rim Drive and follow this one-way road toward Inspiration Point. The parking lot for the Glacial Boulder Trailhead will be on the left just before Inspiration Point. Parking in the pullout is easier if you loop past Inspiration Point and return to the parking area.
Get Directions from Canyon Village

Read more about obtaining Yellowstone Backcountry Permits.

Seven Mile Hole Trailhead Location

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Seven Mile Hole Overview Map
Seven Mile Hole Trail Stats

Trail Details
Trail Condition: Excellent
Difficulty: Difficult
Total Mileage: 9.8 mi /15.7 km round-trip
Type of Hike: Out-and-back or overnighter
Wow Factor: Drop into the heart of the Grand Canyon
Elevation Gain: 1,690 ft.

Nearest Facilities: Canyon Village
3.0 miles south of Canyon Village - Get Directions
Trailhead Coordinates
Latitude: 44.729889
Longitude: -110.473304

Yellowstone River Coordinates
Latitude: 44.754055
Longitude: -110.403907

Approx. Elevations
Trailhead Elevation = 7,916 ft.
Yellowstone River Elevation = 6,720 ft.
Elevation Gain = 1,690 ft.
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Yellowstone Backcountry Info

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Seven Mile Hole Photo Gallery
Seven Mile Hole Trail Description

Seven Mile Hole Trail Description (Glacial Boulder Trailhead 4K6) - Moderate Traffic

Descend into the heart of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and explore an area hidden in the depths of Yellowstone's remote interior.

From the parking lot the trail heads east through an area of dense lodgepole pines, descending another small hill where you'll cross a small creek at just over .01 miles. From this streambed the trail climbs a short steep hill that leads you to a spectacular overlook along the canyon's north rim at .25 miles. From this high vantage point the light colored walls of the canyon drop steeply toward the Yellowstone River which lies nearly 1,000 feet below. From this height the river seems almost insignificant as it travels through this deep gorge, tumbling in a series of tumultuous waterfalls and rapids. Lower Falls is also the highest free-falling waterfall in Yellowstone at 308 feet.

At around 1 mile you'll reach an overlook for the Silver Cord Cascade waterfall which cuts a distinct notch in the rock wall on the opposite side of the canyon as it drops 1,200 feet to the river below. If you are looking for a little solitude to contemplate the beautiful canyon scenery, the first mile of this hike is an easy walk from the trailhead and it has plenty of spectacular viewpoints of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Caution: Be extremely careful when walking along the canyon's edge. The rocks near the top of the cliff are often brittle and may give way underfoot.

After passing the Silver Cord Cascade overlook the trail moves away from the rim of the canyon where it climbs gently toward its highest point at just over 8,160 feet. At 2.2 miles the trail descends a moderate grade before reaching the edge of a very large meadow with a great view of the Washburn Range to the northwest. After passing this meadow you'll reach the spur trail that leads to the summit of Mount Washburn. Optional Hike: From this trail junction you can take this seldom traveled section of trail to the summit of Mount Washburn which would make for a very long day hike (16 miles round-trip). Campsite 4E1 is located 3 miles, or halfway up the Mount Washburn Trail, and would make for a great overnighter if you prefer to turn this optional hike into a 2-day trip.

After passing the Mount Washburn Trail the hike continues heading northeast through lodgepole pines, leveling briefly just before mile 3, where it then descends steeply toward the Yellowstone River. For the next 1.5 miles the trail drops steadily through a handful of switchbacks, over loose gravel and some deadfall as it nears the river bottom 1,200 feet below. This is the toughest part of the hike and it is a very strenuous climb on the return trip, so make sure you're well rested before you begin hiking back up and out of the canyon. At 3.7 miles there is a very unique cone-shaped thermal feature that is very similar to the Lone Star Geyser formation, but during our visit there was very little activity.

At 4.2 miles the trail reaches an area of significant thermal activity situated on a steep hillside just above the junction for campsite 4C1 (★★ - No fires). From this spot you'll have a great view of the canyon which now has a significant number of trees growing on the slopes its walls, making this area seem a little less vertical. Campsite 4C1: The trail to campsite 4C1 was somewhat difficult to follow but if you look carefully you can pick out the footprints of the other hikers that have descended this gully to the narrow ledge where this campsite is located. As you near the river the trail heads left across a scree slope that was a little difficult to negotiate even with a small day pack. This campsite sits above the river and has one access point to the Yellowstone making it a poor choice if you are interested in fishing while camped here.

From the junction with campsite 4C1 the trail continues toward the river at an easier grade, undulating through stands of forest and small patches of open ground until it reaches campsite 4C2 (★★★ - No fires) at 7.4 miles. Campsite 4C2: This site is located right off the main trail and has a bit more shade but a lot less privacy because of its proximity to the trail. The cooking area is situated just down the hill prior to reaching the river, which means you'll have a short walk to either Sulphur Creek, or the Yellowstone River to collect drinking water. Because this is a remote out and back hike foot traffic near the campsite should be minimal once you're settled in for the night.

Upon reaching the Yellowstone River, Sulphur Creek enters from the left in a jumble of large boulders just before emptying into the Yellowstone. This is a very comfortable place to relax or wet a line if you're staying at campsite 4C2, or if you're completing this trip as a day hike.

Campsite 4C3 (★★★ - No fires) is located 0.3 of a mile past Sulphur Creek along the Yellowstone River. This is a great place to spend a day or two fishing for cutthroats and rainbows on one of America's last free-flowing rivers.

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
Mary Mountain/Nez Perce (Trailhead 4N1) - An easy hike through the wildlife-rich Hayden Valley.
Howard Eaton (Trailhead 4K7) - Heads south through the Hayden Valley.
Ribbon & Clear Lakes (Trailhead 4K7) - Can be done as a nice loop or out and back. Provides access to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Artist Point (Trailhead 4K8) - A very popular destination with spectacular views of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

Nearby Campgrounds
Canyon Village Campground - Canyon Village Campground is located approximately 4 miles north of the Glacial Boulder Trailhead and has 273 sites with a special section for tents only. Campsites are $29.00 per night. Includes 2 showers per day. Campground has flush toilets. 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 this campground - Get directions from the Glacial Boulder Trailhead to the Canyon Village Campground.

Yellowstone National Park Backcountry Permits
Overnight backcountry permits can be obtained at the Canyon Backcountry Office. Hours vary depending on the time of year - (307) 344-2160. Read more about obtaining Yellowstone Backcountry Permits.

Post Hike Meals
There are a variety of restaurants located in Canyon Village along with a general store.

Directions to the Seven Mile Hole 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 Seven Mile Hole Trailhead

Click the map to launch directions from
Canyon Village to the Seven Mile Hole/Glacial


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