Hike the Yellowstone National Park – Black Canyon of the Yellowstone and be delighted by pronghorn grazing on hillsides, picturesque lakes and creeks, vibrant wildflowers, and impressive canyon, river, and waterfall views.
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Length: 7.4 Miles Round Trip to Suspension Bridge
Trailhead(s): Blacktail Creek
Elevation Gain: 1,100’+
Trail Type: Out and Back
Dogs: Not Allowed
Permit Required? Yes – National Park Entry Fee $35
Considerations: Bears / Backcountry Safety
Season: Spring – Fall
Hike the Yellowstone National Park – Black Canyon of the Yellowstone and be delighted its enchanting scenery and inhabitants.
Yellowstone National Park – Blacktail Creek Trail
To get to the Black Canyon of Yellowstone, hike the Blacktail Creek Trail through seemingly endless rolling grassy hills and wildflower dotted meadows. The journey through this lovely terrain which is gentle and soothing is a real treat
Initially climbing a fairly decent grade up a grassy hill, the trail then descends steadily into a lovely meadow with a pretty stream. Thus, likely due to this stream, we encountered a small herd of pronghorn grazing on a grassy hill alongside the trail. They watched us closely, but did not move away. It was clear we were not their first human sighting. However, they were our first up close sighting of pronghorn, and we were smitten by their beauty. Their calm gave us a once in a lifetime opportunity to get a relatively up close, long look at these graceful creatures in the wild.
After snapping a bunch of pictures, we continued on through the meadow. The trail was slightly overgrown with grasses and wildflowers, but remained easy to follow and fairly flat. However, once the meadow yields to tree cover everything changes. Turning decidedly steep, the overgrowth disappears and the trail begins to switchback down. Thus, arriving at the Yellowstone River after 3.7 miles, the Blacktail Creek Trail terminates at the suspension bridge.
Yellowstone National Park – Black Canyon Of Yellowstone River Trail
The Yellowstone River Trail begins on the far side of the bridge. Once again, the trail meanders through meadows and forest. Before long it passes alongside the clear blue waters of Crevice Lake. A little further along the trail crosses picturesque Crevice Creek, with its antler adorned bridge. As is typical of such trails, it winds up and down a bit as it moves nearer to and further from the river, following the terrain.
Along the trail gorgeous views of the river and canyon peek through the foliage periodically. Additionally, several rock outcroppings provide wonderful places to rest and snack afford fantastic views of the river and canyon. Although the Yellowstone River Trail continues on for miles towards the north entrance of the park where it terminates, we recommend enjoying as much of the trail as desired (as we did), before turning around to head back the way you came.
Black Canyon of Yellowstone Access
Access the Black Canyon of Yellowstone from the Blacktail Creek Trailhead, east of Mammoth Hot Springs on the Grand Loop Road. Trailhead parking is limited. In the event the small lot is full, additional parking is available on the other side of the road just east of the Blacktail Creek Trailhead.
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Black Canyon of the Yellowstone Slideshow
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