The hike up Mount Washburn in Yellowstone National Park will take you up to the lofty elevation of 10,223 feet! A wide, well maintained trail leads to the top with expansive views in all directions. We hiked this trail after a full day visiting most of the geyser trails, and it was the perfect way to take a break from the heat. Yellowstone can be very hot at times in the summer, and it can start to get to you when you’re on the geyser trails with boiling water and mud surrounding you with a thick sulfur smell in the air! So… as you can imagine the cool mountain air was just the thing for us on our second day in Yellowstone!
We went during the long weekend of July 4th, and it was predictably packed with everyone else who was getting away for the weekend! They definitely aren’t kidding about the crowds in Yellowstone during the peak season, but it’s still manageable to sight see and hike if you get an early start. By mid-day the parking lots start to get a bit crowded, and you may find yourself without a parking spot!
We did a little sight seeing in the morning before heading to Mount Washburn for our afternoon adventure, and we had to wait for a parking spot. Once we got on the actual trail, the crowds disappeared – turns out the parking lot at Mount Washburn is a popular place to eat lunch – who knew?
We had a splendid hike with the crisp mountain air and the wind blowing off of the remaining snow banks! Like I said, such a relief after the 90ºF + humidity day we had experienced previously in the geyser section of the park!
As you climb ever higher, the color of the rocks changes from yellow to orange and back again, with the twists and turns in the trail.
As you look off into the distance, you’ll see the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone which is most definitely worth a visit!
Here’s part of the view from the top – nothing but blue skies and amazing vistas in every direction! There’s also a house/hut at the top where you can go in to get some shelter from the wind and have your lunch. The wind was so fierce at the top the day we were there, both me and the tripod were having trouble standing up to take some pictures! We even weighted down the tripod, but Tyler still had to hold it because I couldn’t even take a picture before the tripod would try and topple over!
Even though we came to Yellowstone primarily to see the geysers, this hike was a welcome change of pace! If you’re planning a trip in the area, you might want to consider keeping a day aside to see some of the mountain vistas in Yellowstone. Not only do you get off the beaten path a little, but if feels like you get a more well-rounded picture of the park as a whole! We can’t wait to go back this summer to see some of the sights we missed!