Yellowstone National Park is the first national park of America and home to many hydro-thermal wonders. The park is most popular for hiking and wildlife. Some of the most popular hikes in the park are the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, West Thumb Geyser Basin and Grand Prismatic Spring among many others. Not only are they highly populated and busy all around the year, they also curtail the opportunity of exploring the unexplored parts of the National park. Let’s take a look at some easy uncrowded Yellowstone hikes that are worth your time!
Shoshone Geyser Basin
Shoshone Geyser Basin is a large back-country area in Yellowstone National Park packed with active geothermal features. The hike to the Shoshone Geyser Basin begins at the Shoshone Lake Trail. 2.5 miles into the hike, you arrive at the Lone Star Geyser through an easy walk through the forests.
As you continue on the trail, you pass through beautiful meadows and forests and climb up the continental divide at the Grants Pass. After you climb up the pass, the trail flattens and leads you to a junction with the Bechler River Trail. And then onto the Shoshone lake and the basin that completes the hike.
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Being home to nearly 500 geothermal features, following the trail can only take you to a few popular geysers on the way. By going off trails, you can explore the hidden beauty of the Shoshone Geyser Basin.
Wildlife in Lamar Valley
Lamar Valley is called the American Serengeti for a reason. Situated along the Lamar River, the valley has some of the best wildlife in the National park. It is a must visit for people who enjoy wildlife. For most visitors, Yellowstone National park is about hiking and trails and geothermal features. So most people tend to miss out on this beautiful part of the park.
Some of the common wildlife that can be spotted in the Lamar Valley are bison, grizzly bears, deer, coyotes, pronghorn and eagles. Apart from spotting wildlife, Lamar Valley is also popular for camping at two of its busiest campgrounds – the Slough Creek and Pebble Creek. These are best suited for enjoying the serenity of the place and rising in the early morning for bird and wildlife watching.
Yellowstone River Picnic Area Hike
The Yellowstone River Picnic area hike gives you the best views of the Yellowstone Canyon. It is a hike suitable for all skill levels. Since the trail is not very well marked, it is a slightly less explored trail in Yellowstone National Park. The hike begins at the Yellowstone River Picnic area parking. The path climbs steeply to a narrow ridge top right next to the canyon. With most of the hike around the rim of the canyon, if you are hiking with kids make sure they are on the safer side.
The first half of the trail mostly follows the Yellowstone River along the rim of the canyon. You can look out for a popular thermal feature – The Calcite Springs. Calcite springs is where you get to see sulfurous steam vents at the river level, and are one of the most colorful places of the trail (refer to the picture above). Wildlife such as bison and pronghorn antelope can be spotted on the trail.
As you continue along the trail rim, 1.9 miles into the trail you reach the junction with the Specimen Ridge Trail. Here you can either take north and complete the loop, or take a right and continue your hike up to the Agate Creek or the Specimen Ridge.
Tomato Soup Pool
The Tomato Soup Pool is a part of the Rabbit Highland Hot Springs group. It gets its name from the fact that it looks like a kettle of boiling tomato soup. You can reach the Tomato Soup Pool at 50 yards from the Grand Loop Road. This pool goes unnoticed by the tourists, but nonetheless a place worthy of visiting.
That’s it guys! I hope you have a great time hiking these less explored trails in Yellowstone National park on your next visit. Have fun and most importantly stay safe.
Have you already checked out any of these easy uncrowded Yellowstone hikes? Let us know of your experiences in the comments, I would love to read about them.
Mark Bennett is an American writer and traveler. His major inspiration has been camping with his father ever since his childhood. He aims to visit 75 countries before he’s 30. You can also follow his adventures on his site Outdoorily.
PS – Other Posts you should read before you finish your Yellowstone Itinerary:
And don’t forget to pin this great post to your vacation board so you can quickly find it when you get to Yellowstone National Park!