Activities

Easy and Enjoyable: The Best Hiking Trails in Yellowstone National Park for All Ages

Yellowstone National Park is a treasure trove of natural wonders, boasting breathtaking landscapes, diverse wildlife, and geothermal features that leave visitors in awe. While the park is renowned for its vast wilderness and challenging hikes, it also offers a variety of easy trails perfect for families with young children and older adults. Here are some of the best easy hiking trails in Yellowstone that ensure everyone can enjoy the park's beauty without overexertion.

Geyser Hill Loop

Located in the Upper Geyser Basin near Old Faithful, the Geyser Hill Loop is a must-visit trail. This 1.3-mile loop is predominantly boardwalk, making it accessible and easy to navigate. The trail takes you past some of the park’s most famous geysers, including the iconic Old Faithful, which erupts approximately every 90 minutes. Along the way, you’ll also encounter lesser-known but equally impressive geysers such as Beehive and Lion Geyser. The loop offers numerous benches for rest stops, making it ideal for small children and older hikers.

Beehive Geyser

Fairy Falls Trail to Grand Prismatic Overlook

The Fairy Falls Trail is a gentle 1.2-mile hike (one-way) that leads to the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook, one of the most photographed spots in Yellowstone. The trailhead is located at the Fairy Falls Parking Lot, just a short drive from the Midway Geyser Basin. The initial portion of the trail is flat and wide, perfect for all age groups. The overlook provides a stunning view of the vibrant Grand Prismatic Spring, with its brilliant blue, orange, and yellow hues. For those with extra energy, continuing another mile to Fairy Falls adds to the adventure without being too strenuous.

Fairy Falls Trail

West Thumb Geyser Basin Trail

This 0.6-mile boardwalk trail winds through the West Thumb Geyser Basin, situated along the shores of Yellowstone Lake. The basin features numerous hot springs, pools, and geysers, all easily viewed from the boardwalk. Highlights include the Abyss Pool, one of the park’s deepest hot springs, and the Fishing Cone, a geyser that was once used by anglers to cook their catch directly in the hot water. The trail's short length and level surface make it an excellent choice for families and older adults.

Boardwalk trail in the West Thumb Geyser Basin

Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces

The Mammoth Hot Springs area offers a network of easy boardwalk trails that wind through a series of stunning travertine terraces. The Lower Terraces are particularly accessible, with several short, interconnected loops totaling about 1.5 miles. Highlights include the Liberty Cap, Minerva Terrace, and Palette Spring. The ever-changing formations are a result of the hot water from underground springs cooling and depositing calcium carbonate. The area is also a great place to spot wildlife, such as elk, which often graze nearby.

Palette Spring at Mammoth Hot Springs

Artist Paint Pots

The Artist Paint Pots trail is a 1-mile round-trip hike that takes you to a vibrant thermal area with colorful hot springs, bubbling mud pots, and steaming fumaroles. Located a few miles south of Norris Geyser Basin, the trail is relatively flat, with a short uphill section leading to an overlook. The variety of geothermal features along this trail offers a fascinating glimpse into Yellowstone’s volcanic activity, all within an easy walk.

Norris Geyser Basin

Yellowstone National Park's easy hiking trails provide the perfect opportunity for families with small children and older adults to explore the park's incredible scenery without the need for strenuous effort. From geysers and hot springs to waterfalls and wildlife, these trails offer a diverse range of experiences that showcase the park's natural beauty. So lace up your hiking boots, pack some snacks, and get ready to create lasting memories in one of the world’s most iconic national parks.

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