Backcountry Situation Report

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Last Updated: October 13, 2021

This Backcountry Situation report provides the most up-to-date conditions for Yellowstone’s Backcountry. Conditions are listed by area, then trail.To avoid frustration, even if you are experienced with Yellowstone’s backcountry, please review our Camp in the backcountry webpage as process for obtaining a permit has changed for 2021. Before heading out on the trail, make sure to review information about traveling safely in bear country, and familiarize yourself with our bear management areas. Depending on other activities you intend to pursue in the backcountry please reference our fishing, boating, and horse use regulations.

Backcountry Permits:

Backcountry Permits are required for all overnight stays in the Backcountry. Backcountry Permit Offices are closed to in-person visits. Starting October 10th, Permits are only available Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. Permitting staff is not available on the weekends or holidays. Please plan accordingly. Please visit our Camp in the Backcountry page for specific information on how to obtain a backcountry permit.

General Conditions

Winter Conditions:

A winter storm on October 11 deposited 3-12 inches of snow across the park. Backcountry travellers should be prepared for winter conditions and difficult travel. Snow covered trails may be difficult to follow. You can view snowpack information at this link.

Fires Restrictions:

Fire danger is LOW. Campfires are permitted in backcountry campsites that allow fires. Campfires must always be attended and cold to the touch before abandoning. Soak, stir, feel and repeat until cold.

Wildfires:

  • Currently there are no uncontrolled wildfires or wildfire related closures within Yellowstone. For more information check Yellowstone's wildfire status.
  • Smoke from wildfires in the western US may affect air quality and visability within the park. Check the Fire & Smoke Map for the current smoke forecast.

Fishing Season:

The fishing season is currently open. Please visit the Catch a fish page for further information.

Boating Season:

The boating season is open. All boats entering the water must have a Yellowstone National Park Boat permit and Aquatic Invasive Species Inspection. Boat inspections are available 8-4:30 at Grant Visitor Center, Bridge Bay Ranger Station, and the Lewis Lake Ranger Station. Please visit our boating pages for more information. Prepare for the upcoming season by Cleaning, Draining, and Drying your boats now.

Horse Use:

Most trails are open for overnight and day horse use. Please refer to the specific area/trail below to see if it is open for stock. Day ride permits are required for all day rides. Click here to request a day ride permit.Starting October 10th, Permits are only available Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. Permitting staff is not available on the weekends or holidays. Please plan accordingly. Review our Ride a Horse page for further information regarding horse riding requirements and information.

Pets:

Other than qualified service animals, pets are not allowed in the backcountry.

Bear Management Areas:

In order to reduce human related impacts on bears in high density grizzly bear habitat the park has established several bear management areas. Listed below are the current Bear Management Areas (BMAs) in effect. Some Bear Management Areas are full closures, others are no off trail travel restrictions. Please reference the Bear Management page or Bear Management Area Map for further details and locations of closure area .

Richards Pond (BMA B) Several restrictions in place. See Bear Management Area pages.

Gallatin (BMA D) No off-trail travel May 1 through November 10.

Washburn (BMA F) Closed through November 10.

Antelope (BMA G) Closed through November 10.

Mirror Plateau (BMA H) Day use only May 15 through November 12.

Pelican Valley (BMA I) Open 9:00 am to 7:00 pm only.

Two Ocean (BMA L) From March 10 through July 14th, and August 22 - November 10, travel is allowed only on designated trails. From July 15- August 22 a permit is required for off trail travel.

Backcountry Access

Review the park roads page, to see which of the park's roads are open.

Backcountry Map

Click on a region of the map for current backcountry conditions in that area.

 
Index Map
Yellowstone Backcountry Map: click a region to jump to conditions for that area.
 

Northwest Region

  • There is no off-trail travel within the Gallatin Bear Management Area.
  • A minimum group size of four people is recommended for hiking and camping within the Gallatin Bear Management Area. BE BEAR AWARE!

Backcountry Closures:

Sepulcher/Beaver Ponds/Snow Pass area (1N4, 1K1, 1K2)

  • Beaver Ponds trail and the Old Road from Mammoth to Gardiner is open.
  • Visitors should familiarize themselves with the no off trail travel restrictions of the Gallatin Bear Management Area.
  • Stock Use: Sepulcher, and Snow Pass open to stock. Beaver ponds trail is not suitable for stock (year round).

Glen Creek Trailhead – Fawn Pass & Electric Pass (1K3)

  • Electric Pass (Sportsman Lake Trail) Open and cleared of downfall (7/1/21)
  • The Fawn Pass trail is open. (7/1/21)
  • Visitors should familiarize themselves with the no off trail travel restrictions of the Gallatin Bear Management Area.
  • Stock Use: Glen Creek to Fawn Pass open to stock. (7/1/21)

Bunsen Peak/Osprey Falls (1K4)

  • Bunsen Peak Trail is open.
  • Stock Use: Closed to stock. Osprey falls trail is not suitable for stock (year round).

Bighorn Pass trail (Indian Creek, 1K5)

  • Visitors should familiarize themselves with the no off trail travel restrictions of the Gallatin Bear Management Area.
  • Stock Use: East of Bighorn pass Closed to day rides (Indian Creek Side) due to belly deep bogs. (8/1/21)

Mount Holmes area (1K6, 1K8)

  • Open and cleared of downfall. (7/1/21)
  • Stock Use: Mt. Holmes to Grizzly Lake is open to stock.

Purple Mountain

  • Open.
  • Stock Use: Closed to stock year round. Not suitable.

Monument Trail

  • Open.
  • Stock Use: Not suitable for stock. (year round).

Trailheads along Hwy 191 (from north to south)

Daly Creek/Black Butte/Sky Rim Trail/Shelf Lake (WK1, WK2)

  • Black Butte Trailhead (WK2): Black Butte trail cleared of downfall (7/14/21)
  • No snow or water present on Sky Rim- must carry up water. (7/9/21)
  • Specimen Creek (WK3) to Shelf Lake is cleared of downed trees. (7/6/21)
  • Stock use: open to stock. (7/15/21)

Specimen Creek/High Lake/Crescent Lake/Sportsman Lake (WK3)

  • Specimen Creek Trail is cleared of downed trees . (7/15/21)
  • Stock Use: Open to stock

Bacon Rind (WK4)

  • Bacon Rind trail open.
  • Stock Use: Open to stock.

Fawn Pass/Fan Creek (WK5)

  • The Fawn Pass Trail is open and is cleared of downed trees. (7/22/21)
  • Visitors should familiarize themselves with the no off trail travel restrictions of the Gallatin Bear Management Area
  • Stock Use: Open to stock.

Bighorn Pass (Hwy 191 - WK6)

  • The footbridge at the the beginning of Bighorn Pass Trail is broken. The creek is crossable. The bridge over the main fork of the Gallatin River is intact. (6/22/21)
  • Visitors should familiarize themselves with the no off trail travel restrictions of the Gallatin Bear Management Area.
  • Stock Use: Open to stock to the pass. No through travel to Indian creek (Bighorn Trailhead East) (7/1/21)

Gneiss Creek/Cougar Creek (WK7/WK8)

  • Gneiss creek trail is "primitive" in nature and contains areas where there is no trail tread and limited trail markers.
  • Stock Use: Open to stock.

Harlequin Lake Trail

  • Open, snow free.
  • Stock use: Not suitable for stock (year round)

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Northeast Region

Blacktail Deer Creek Trail/Yellowstone River Trail/Black Canyon (1N5)

  • Yellowstone River Trail, and Blacktail Deer Creek trails are in good condition and cleared of downed trees.
  • Report of rattlesnakes in the area. (10/6/21)
  • Stock Use: Open to stock.

Wraith Falls

  • Open.
  • Stock Use: Not suitable for stock.

Lava Creek Trail/Rescue Creek Trail (1N2, 1N3, 1N6)

  • Rescue Creek trail and Lava Creek trails are open.
  • Stock Use: Open to stock. Lava Creek not recommended. No stock allowed on the suspension bridge over the Gardner River near the Lava Creek trailhead.


Lost Lake Loop

  • Lost Lake trail is open.
  • Stock Use: Open to stock.

Hellroaring Creek/Coyote Creek/Buffalo Plateau (2K8, 2N1, 2N5, 2N2)

  • Campsites 2H2 and 2H4 have reopened. (9/22/21)
  • Stock Use: Hellroaring Creek Trail and Coyote Creek are open to stock.

Buffalo Fork (2N3)

  • Buffalo Fork trail open.
  • Stock Use: Open to stock.

Garnet Hill (2K2)

  • Garnet Hill is dry and in good shape.
  • Stock Use: Open to Stock .

Tower Fall Trail

  • Closed due to construction. Travel along the road from Tower Junction to Tower Fall is not permitted due to road construction activities.
  • Stock Use: Closed to stock.

Slough Creek (2K5, 2N4)

  • Slough Creek trail and campsites are open.
  • Stock Use: Open to stock.

Pebble Creek (3K2, 3K4)

  • Pebble Creek is cleared of downed trees. (6/11/21)
  • Stock Use: Open to stock.

Bliss Pass (between Slough Creek and Pebble Creek)

  • Trail is cleared of downed trees from Slough Creek to top of Bliss Pass. (8/25/21)
  • Stock Use: Open to stock.

Trout Lake

  • Trout Lake Trail is open.
  • Stock Use: Not suitable for stock (year round)


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Central Region

Specimen Ridge/Agate Creek/Yellowstone Picnic Area trailhead (2K4, 2K7)

  • Specimen Ridge open.
  • Yellowstone Picnic Area trail is open.
  • Agate Creek Trail is open. (9/14/21)
  • Stock Use: Open to stock. (9/14/21)

Lamar River Trail - Soda Butte to Mist Creek Pass (3K1)

  • The trail and area near campsite 3U1 is posted as a Bear Frequenting Area. A grizzly bear bluff charged a hiker on Sept 9. (9/10/21)
  • Stock Use: Lamar River Trail and Mist Creek Pass are open. (7/6/21)

Cache Creek/Thunderer (3K1, 3K3)

  • Trail is cleared of downfall. (7/1/21)
  • Stock Use: Open to stock.

Miller Creek

  • Miller Creek trail is open.
  • Stock Use: Open to stock.

Frost Lake

  • Frost Lake is cleared of downed trees. (7/11/21)
  • Stock Use: Open to stock.

Avalanche Peak

  • Open.
  • Stock Use: Not suitable for stock (year round).

Wapiti Lake trail/ Wrangler Lake/ Broad Creek/ Howard Eaton trail (4K7, 4N2, 4K8,5K2)

  • All trails are open. (9/14/21)
  • Stock Use: Open to stock.

Pelican Valley/Turbid Lake (5K3)

  • Raven Creek cutoff can be difficult to follow. Stay alert and be careful not to follow a game trail instead of the main trail.
  • Stock Use: Open to stock.
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Canyon Region

South Rim and North Rim and Wrangler Lake

  • Trails open- caution advised for steep drop offs.
  • Artist Point, Point Sublime, Ribbon Lake,Wrangler lake cleared of trees and open.
  • Uncle Tom's trail is closed for the season.
  • Stock Use: Artist Point is not suitable for stock use. Other trails are open to stock.

Broad Creek/ Astringent Creek Area

  • Broad Creek open.
  • Bear Frequenting Warning for the Fern Lake south of campsite 5B1. (9/23/21)
  • Stock Use: Open. Caution for ground bees in the Broad Creek area (8/2/21)

Mount Washburn (4K9, 2K6)

  • Trails to the summit of Mt Washburn are closed for the 2021 season.

7-Mile Hole (4K6)

  • Cleared of downfall. (7/27/21)
  • Washburn Spur trail and the Washburn Meadow campsite 4E1 has limited access due to Dunraven Pass road closure. No travel North of campsite 4E1. No Access to Mt. Washburn.
  • Stock Use: Not suitable for stock (year round)

Cascade, Grebe, Wolf & Ice Lake (4K2, 4K3, 4K4, 4K5, 4N4)

  • Cascade Lake Trailhead is closed for the remainder of the year. Cascade Creek Trailhead is open. (9/16/21)
  • Ice Lake and Wolf Lake cleared of downfall. (6/16/21)
  • Cascade and Grebe Lake trails are cleared of downed trees. (6/16/21)
  • Observation Peak has no water. Groups staying at campsite 4P1 need to pack in water.
  • Stock Use: Open to stock

Mary Mountain/Hayden Valley & Cygnet Lakes (4N1, 4N3)

  • The Mary Mountain Trail is open. Groups of four or more recommended for hiking through Hayden Valley.
  • Mary Mountain trail clear from Canyon side to 3 miles east of the Nez Perce trailhead. About 4-5 trees still down in first 3 miles from the Nez Perce trailhead. Trail is unmarked and very hard to follow for about 3 miles from Violet Creek to the west until it reenters the trees, also for about 1 mile from Magpie Creek west. GPS, topo map, and navigation skills recommended.(8/23/21)
  • Stock Use: Open to stock.

Solfatara (1K7, 4K1)

  • Solfatara Trail: open
  • Stock Use: Open to stock.
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Old Faithful Region

Fairy Falls/Mystic Falls/Fountain Flats (OK4, OK5, OK6)

  • Mystic Falls, Fairy Falls, Fairy Creek, Imperial Geyser, and Sentinel Meadow are all open.
  • Stock Use: Open to stock. Not recommended for stock.

Mallard Creek/Mallard Lake (OK9, OK3)

  • Mallard Creek trail and Mallard Lake trail are open and cleared of downed trees. (9/5/21).
  • Stock Use: Open to stock.

Mary Mountain (OK7)

  • The Mary Mountain trail is open. (6/16/21)
  • Mary Mountain trail clear from Canyon side to 3 miles east of the Nez Perce trailhead. About 4-5 trees still down in first 3 miles from the Nez Perce trailhead. Trail is unmarked and very hard to follow for about 3 miles from Violet Creek to the west until it reenters the trees, also for about 1 mile from Magpie Creek west. GPS, topo map, and navigation skills recommended.(8/23/21)
  • Stock Use: Open to stock.

Summit Lake (9K9,OK4)

  • Summit Lake Trail is open and cleared of downed trees. (7/22/21)
  • Stock Use: Open to Stock.


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Southeastern Region


Expect some snow on trails above 9000 feet especially on north facing slopes. (10/19/21)


Elephant Back, Natural Bridge, Storm Point, Pelican Creek Nature Trail
  • Strong Bear warning for the day hikes around Yellowstone Lake. Bears have been quite active near the roads system the last couple of weeks.(10/19/21)
  • Storm Point has been cleared of downed trees. (6/1/21)
  • There is a area closures adjacent to the Storm Point Trail. See Closure Map.
  • Elephant Back is cleared of downed trees. (6/21/21)
  • Natural Bridge trail is open.
  • Stock Use: Open to stock. Not recommended for stock.
Nine Mile Trailhead (5K5); Thorofare Trail / Mountain Creek (6K1, 6K2, 6K4, 6K5)
  • The trail from Nine Mile Trailhead Heading North towards Turbid Lake is closed for the first half mile due to a carcass. Users can access Turbid Lake from Pelican Valley Trailhead or 10 mile curve. (10/21/21)
  • Report of several down trees in the first 3 miles of Nine Mile trailhead. (7/19/21)
  • Trail from 6T1 to 6T2 is overgrown and extremely hard to follow. Travel not recommended without a GPS or strong navigational skills. (6/25/21)
  • Trail to campsite 6D1 is very difficult to follow- GPS and/or navigation skills recommended. (7/2/21)
  • Campsite 6C2 has been washed out by a beaver dam and will be closed for the foreseable future. (6/30/21)
  • Review Bear Management Area J1 and J2 for travel restrictions currently in effect in the area.
  • Stock Use: Thorofare Trail open to Stock. Report of several down trees in the first 3 miles of Nine Mile trailhead. Not recommended. (7/19/21)
Avalanche Peak
  • Open. (6/21/21)
  • Stock Use: Not suitable for stock (year round).
Yellowstone Lake (5K1, 5K4, 5K6, 7K1)
  • Hazard bouys, marke buoys, navigation aids, and docks have been pulled from the Lake. Please familiarize yourself with the different hazards and zones of the lake prior to departing. (10/4/21)

  • Review Bear Management Area J1 and J2, and lake spawn restrictions.

  • Boating Season is open.

  • High winds are a daily occurrence on the lake, particularly in the afternoon. Canoeists and kayakers are urged to travel close to shore, evaluate conditions, get an early start, and complete open water crossings as quickly as possible.

  • Stock Use: Closed to stock

Heart Lake (8N1)

  • Strong Bear Warning for the West side of Heart lake. Black bear and grizzly bears have both been consistently seen in the area. Make sure to have all food and scented items properly stored, or attended at all times. Carry bear spray, make noise and stay alert. (9/8/21)

  • Trail cleared of downed trees to Heart Lake. (7/3/21)

  • Heart River crossing has been newly blazed. Ford is about ankle to calf deep (9/8/21)

  • Trail Creek Trail is cleared of downfall. (7/24/21)

  • Trail cleared of downed trees around Heart Lake (Heart Lake Trail to Basin Creek Cutoff to Snake River Trail to Heart River Trail, as well as Trail Creek Trail to Outlet Lake). Ford heights vary from ankle to calf deep, with one knee-high ford on the Snake River. (7/11/21)

  • Trail cleared of downed trees up to Mt. Sheridan. Reminder: no water available on Mt. Sheridan- do not eat the pink snow. (7/11/21)

  • Stock Use: Open.

South Boundary Area/Snake River/Two Ocean Plateau (8K7, 8K8, 6K3)

  • Snake River crossing has been newly marked. The crossing is currently about anke to calf deep (9/8/21)

  • Site 6M4 grazing meadow is flooded. No Stock parties. (7/10/21)

  • Stock Use: Open

Riddle Lake (7K3)

  • Riddle Lake is open and cleared of downed trees. (7/15/21)

  • Stock Use: Open to stock.

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Southwest

Shoshone Lake/Lewis Lake (8K1, 7K2)

  • Boating season is open. Please note all boats on Yellowstone's waters require a boat permit and Aquatic Invasive Species Inspection. For more information visit our boating pages.
  • Lewis River Channel is swift and cold. Water levels are low and the last mile of the the channel boaters will need to pull their boats up the stream and likely downstream on their way out. Expect your boat to scrape the bottom of the river. With less water pulling the boats up the stream will take more effort than normal. Please note: the use of felt soled waders are not permitted in Yellowstone National Park. (8/28/21)
  • High winds are a daily occurrence on the both Lewis and Shoshone Lakes, particularly in the afternoon. Boaters crossing Shoshone Lake should use good judgement to evaluate conditions and cross only at the "narrows".
  • The trail south of Shoshone Geyser Basin heading towards campsite 8T1, can be difficult to navigate with areas of deep mud when wet. Proper footwear, map and compass needed.
  • Stock Use: Open to stock. Please note that stock are not permitted to travel through the Shoshone Geyser Basin and there is not a trail for stock which bypasses the geyser basin.

Lone Star Trail (OK1) & Howard Eaton Trail (OK2)

  • Howard Eaton Trailhead to Lone Star Trailhead open and cleared.
  • There are two bridges south of campsite OA3 that are closed (barricaded) due to unsafe conditions. The northern most bridge can be passed on the east side of the bridge (dry bog) and the southern bridge can be passed on the west side of the bridge through small lodgepoles and over a small creek. (9/11/21)
  • Wildlife warning for campsite 8G1. Habituated fox frequenting the site. Be especially vigilant with hanging your food and scented items, and do not feed the wildlife. (7/23/21)
  • Stock Use: Open

Bechler Area

  • Grassy Lake Road is open.
  • Cave Falls Campground is closed due to construction for the season.
  • Stock Use: Open to stock.

Bechler Meadows and Falls River area

  • Open.
  • Stock Use: Open to stock.

Bechler Canyon/Bechler River trail

  • Open.
  • Stock Use: Open to stock.

Boundary Creek/Dunanda Falls

  • Open
  • Stock Use: Open to stock.

Robinson Creek

  • Open.
  • Stock Use: Open to stock.

Union Falls/Mountain Ash Creek

  • Open.
  • Grass Lake Road is open.
  • Stock Use: Open to stock. If traveling between Union Falls and Bechler caution for beaver dam along Mountain Ash Creek.

Fish Lake (9K3)

  • Closed until 7/16 for wildlife protection. (7/10/21)

Pitchstone Plateau (8K4)

  • Conditions unknown. Likely no water available on the trail. (7/15/21)
  • Stock Use: Open to stock.

Beula Lake/South Boundary Trail west (8K5, 8K6)

  • Tanager Lake is closed for wildlife protection.
  • Beula Lake cleared of downed trees. (7/9/21)
  • Wildlife protection closure on Beula Lake. (7/9/21)
  • Stock Use: Open to stock. (7/1)
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Contact Us

Please email the Central Backcountry Office if you have any questions about specific areas.

 

Last updated: October 20, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168

Phone:

307-344-7381

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