Surprise Canyon

Hiker in Surprise Canyon

Distance: 1 mile or more Difficulty: Easy, but some scrambling required Best time of year: Year-round Last hiked: 2015 October One of the really great things about Capitol Reef National Park, and any national park for that matter, is that unless otherwise indicated, you’re free to explore anywhere you want. Inside the Waterpocket Fold, this yields massive opportunities that I …

Peek-a-Boo Loop

Hoodoos Along Peek-a-Boo Loop

Distance: 5.5 miles (loop) Difficulty: Moderate Best time of year: Spring, Summer, Fall Last hiked: 2015 October While the Peek-a-Boo Loop can be accessed from the Navajo Loop, the more standard route is from Bryce Point. I sat here before sunrise, waiting for enough light to begin hiking as car after car pulled up, their drivers hopping out and frantically …

Queen’s Garden to Navajo Loop

Bryce Canyon Hoodoos

Distance: 3.8 miles Difficulty: Moderate Best time of year: Spring, Summer, Fall Last hiked: 2015 October Crowded. Loud. Disrespectful shortcutters. Yelling. This is most likely what you’ll encounter on the Queen’s Garden to Navajo Loop, and you should absolutely do this hike. It has its down sides (most of them just mentioned), but for the majestic splendor and wonder of …

Artist Paint Pots

Artist Paint Pots

Distance: 1.1 miles Difficulty: Easy Best time of year: Spring, Summer, Fall Last hiked: 2015 September Artist Paint Pots is an appropriately named collection of mud pots that have some incredibly unique coloring and actually do resemble pots of paint. It’s one of the fantastic displays of mudpots in the park, where the water is so acidic it gradually eats …

West Thumb Geyser Basin

Black Pool and Moon

Distance: 0.8 miles (loop) Difficulty: Easy Best time of year: Year-round Last hiked: 2015 September The West Thumb Geyser Basin is an easy walk around some very colorful hot springs set against the dramatic backdrop of Yellowstone Lake. If you’re coming in from the South Entrance, it’s a great way to acquaint yourself with some of the features that you’ll …

Snow King Mountain

Balsamroot Wildflowers on Snow King

Distance: 2 miles (one way) Difficulty: Strenuous Best time of year: Year-round Last hiked: 2016 May Affectionately referred to as The Town Hill, Snow King receives a lot of local traffic thanks to its steep ascent, great views, and close proximity to town. In the winter, it also becomes a beloved ski resort where most of the summit trail is …

Mud Volcano

Bison Sleeping at Mud Volcano

Distance: .8 miles (loop) Difficulty: Easy Best time of year: Year-round Last hiked: 2015 September The Mud Volcano area is a fantastic collection of mudpots, rich with odd pools and Yellowstone’s signature sulphur smells. To get the most elevation change out of the way first, head to the south end of the parking area to start the trail there. Along …

Black Sand Basin

Sunset Lake

Distance: .5 mile (in and out) Difficulty: Easy Best time of year: Year-round Last hiked: 2015 September For those already in the neighborhood of Old Faithful, Black Sand Basin is a short and sweet boardwalk trail that features some colorful and quite interesting thermal features. It’s an easily accessible and easily walkable trail whose highlights include Spouter Geyser, Emerald Pool, …

Specimen Ridge Along the Canyon Rim

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Distance: 2 miles (one way) Difficulty: Easy Best time of year: Spring, Summer, Fall Last hiked: 2015 September The Specimen Ridge Trail is a lengthy 18.8 miles long trail that starts by the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River and travels nearly the entire length of the Lamar Valley high above. Along the way you pass the canyon, as mentioned, …

Norris Geyser Basin

Norris Geyser Basin

Distance: Varies: < 1 mile or up to 3 miles Difficulty: Easy Best time of year: Year-round Last hiked: 2015 September Norris Geyser Basin Trail Description The Norris Geyser Basin should be high on everyone’s list of sights to see in Yellowstone, or at least part of it. It’s not only the hottest geyser basin in the park, but it’s …