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Lake Overlook

Yellowstone Lake stretching out below a hill with various native grasses. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

The Lake Overlook Trail is an easy 1.75 mile lollipop loop that brings hikers to a hilltop providing a stunning view of Yellowstone Lake and beyond. The hike can be easily paired with the nearby Duck Lake, offering two great hikes totaling less than 3 miles.

Lake Overlook Trail Description

Look for the trailhead in the southwest side of the parking area (immediately to the right as you pull in). You’ll quickly pass through old forests and meadows as you approach the northern end of the South Entrance Road. Once you cross the highway, you’ll notice the loop begins immediately after.

While there’s technically no right or wrong way, a sign will direct you to the right. Following the sign, the trail winds through a young forest recovering from the ’88 fires, which burned roughly one-third of the entire park. You’ll begin to make an easy gradual climb, reaching a meadow along the way. The trail continues climbing up through the meadow, steepening a short distance to reach the overlook.

From the overlook is a stunning vista of Yellowstone Lake, crowned by the mighty Absaroka Mountains on the distant horizon. Just below are small thermal features, a minor extension of the West Thumb Geyser Basin.

To continue on the trail, look for the bench at the top of the overlook. From here, you’ll head back down the hill, enjoying fantastic fading views of the lake. Descending through the meadow, you’ll once again reach a sparse forest. The forest will begin to thicken as it drops down shortly after to close out the loop. Continue along the trail crossing the main highway once again to return to the trailhead.

The Lake Overlook Trail descending a hill above Yellowstone Lake. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Getting There

From the West Thumb Geyser Basin parking lot, head to the southwest corner and look for the trailhead.

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Mike@FreeRoamingPhotography.com