Yellowstone Park's Self-Guided Trails


Yellowstone is equipped with several self-guiding trails carrying visitors to many of the park’s most famous attractions. Most self-guided trails are easy, following wooden boardwalks or paved paths. On occasion, these trails do feature stairs, so take that into account prior to setting out on a trek. Maps, area information, and photos of the self-guided trail destinations are available at Yellowstone’s numerous visitor centers.

Historic Fort Yellowstone
As the nation’s oldest park, Yellowstone has many well-preserved buildings reflecting the presence of the U.S. Army during the park’s early years. The Fort Yellowstone Historic Trail wanders around Mammoth Hot Springs’ historical buildings, most of which were constructed between 1886 and 1918 as part of Fort Yellowstone. Today, the buildings are home to park headquarters.

Fountain Paint Pot
After leaving your vehicle in the large parking area 8 miles north of Old Faithful on the Madison Junction Road, get ready to explore some of Yellowstone’s most impressive geysers. Extremely active mud-pots combine with colorful hot springs, geyser plumes, and hissing vents in the Earth’s crust on the Fountain Paint Pot trail. 

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
The trail along the rim of the Yellowstone Grand Canyon provides stunning overlooks of the Upper and Lower Falls. One of the park’s most visited sites, the canyon features lookouts that are aptly named Artist Point, Grandview, and Inspiration.

Mammoth Hot Springs
Travertine terraces marked with colorful cascading hot springs are one of Yellowstone’s most breathtaking sites. Boardwalks roam amid the Upper and Lower Terraces. Although driving is allowed through the Upper Terrace, visitors are strongly encouraged to take the self-guided trail for a close-up view of these Yellowstone wonders. See a map of Mammoth Hot Springs area of Yellowstone. Click for More Information on Mammoth Hot Springs.

Mud Volcano Area
Mudpots and their distinctive sulphur smell are the featured attraction at Mud Volcano Area. Famous area mudpots include Sulpur Caldron, Dragon’s Mouth, and Mud Volcano. The area is located 6 miles (9.6 kilometers) north of the Fishing Bridge Junction on the highway between Canyon and Lake.

Norris Geyser Basin
Researchers from across the world recognize this Yellowstone area as the park’s hottest and most active geyser region. The trail winds past Steamboat (the world’s tallest geyser that last erupted in May 2000) and hundreds of thermal features in Porcelain Basin.

Upper Geyser Basin
Recognized for holding the world’s largest concentration of geysers in a single area, Upper Geyser Basin is home to Yellowstone’s favorite – Old Faithful. The area also houses such geysers and hot springs as Castle, Morning Glory, Riverside, Grotto, Beehive, and hundreds more.

West Thumb Geyser Basin
Nestled in the shadow of jagged mountain peaks, the self-guiding path in West Thumb Geyser Basin is one of the park’s most scenic trails. Runoff from the basin’s boiling springs trickles into Yellowstone Lake, and the Fishing Cone Hot Spring is a crowd favorite.

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