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Five Easy Hikes in Yellowstone National Park
Beaver Ponds Loop
Beaver Ponds Loop is a five mile hike located in Mammoth Hot Springs. The beginning of the trail starts right behind the house by the Terraces. From there, it climbs for about half a mile, but once you reach the Sepulcher Mountain Trail junction, the trail stays mostly level with only small hills. During the early spring and late fall, there may be some snow on the trail. Keep an eye out for wildlife as well. You may see elk or bears. The trail ends behind Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel.
Located just a few miles outside of Old Faithful, Fairy Falls hike is a popular hike among tourists. It is located just outside of Midway Geyser Basin and is a 5.2 mile hike round trip. Although this hike does not provide a good chance of seeing wildlife, it does provide a spectacular view of Grand Prismatic. Instead of seeing Grand Prismatic at surface level like Midway Geyser Basin provides, you can climb a little off of the Fairy Falls trail to get a higher view of it. Fairy Falls Trail is an easy and popular trail because it is level throughout the entire hike, and most of it is gravel, making it easy to hike. The view of the falls is breathtaking and well worth the hike. If you want, you can hike past the falls as well.
Mystic Falls has two trails that lead to it. The easier one is 1.4 miles roundtrip from the back of Biscuit Basin located just north of Old Faithful. The more difficult one is 3.4 miles roundtrip from the back of the Basin. The easier of the two stays relatively flat and provides a wonderful view of Mystic Falls. If you wish, you can hike up to the top of the falls from this trail, although you will get the best photographs from the base of the falls. The harder of the two hikes will take you up a mountain from which there is a lookout point to view Biscuit Basin. From the lookout point, you will then make your way back down the other side of the mountain to the top of Mystic Falls, from which you can take the easier trail back to the Basin if you wish. Both trail provide a beautiful view of the falls, and you can take one trail in and the other out if you want to. If you choose to do this, I recommend going up the mountain first, getting to the lookout point, and then going back down instead of hiking up the mountain after viewing the falls.
Which hike is your favorite in Yellowstone?
The Trout Lake hike is the shortest of the five listed here. If you go out past Roosevelt into Lamar Valley towards the Northeast Entrance, Trout Lake is about halfway between Roosevelt and the Northeast Entrance. The drive out to Trout Lake itself provides the opportunity to see lots of scenery and is a hotspot for wildlife, especially in the mornings and evenings. Trout Lake is a mile roundtrip hike. The first part of the hike is up a hill, but then it levels out when you get to the lake. You can choose to walk around the lake as well, which only adds maybe another quarter of a mile. You are allowed to fish in the lake up to a certain point. Just make sure you have a fishing license. The view of the mountains behind the lake is beautiful as are the variety of wildflowers during the summer months.
Hellroaring to Yellowstone River Suspension Bridge
Located on the road from Mammoth to Tower-Roosevelt, Hellroaring Trailhead is about halfway between the two locations. The hike to Yellowstone River Suspension Bridge is only two miles roundtrip, but the hike back up can get strenuous. The mile down to the bridge is not too difficult. The trip down also provides beautiful views of the Yellowstone River. Once you reach the suspension bridge, there are numerous opportunities for photography. You can either choose to keep hiking-- the trail goes on for another nine miles-- or you can begin back up the hill. The switchbacks close to the top of the trail get a little steep, but it's easy enough to stop and take another look at the wondrous scenery.