Specimen Ridge – 4.7mi / 7.6km
From the broad valley below to the expansive ridge on top, the trail up to Specimen Ridge is great sagebrush habitat which is home to a wide variety of animals from bison to birds. The trail starts in an open valley near the Lamar River. It gradually climbs through the sagebrush up to a ridge where it joins the Yellowstone River Picnic Trail, providing a nice view of the Yellowstone River. (See Yellowstone River Picnic Area to make an easy and fantastic loop.)
Take a left up a very steep section of trail that switchbacks once and brings you up onto Specimen Ridge. Explore around the ridge, including over to the north to get a fantastic overlook to the valley and the Lamar River.
Turn around at the junction with the Agate Creek Trail or whenever you are ready. Consider taking the Yellowstone River Picnic Trail on the way back to add variety to the hike.
Another day hike option is to follow the entire Specimen Ridge Trail to where it comes out at the Soda Butte trailhead. Doing so would total 17.3mi/27.8km and would require arranging a car shuttle.
Trailhead: The signed trailhead for Specimen Ridge is on the Northeast Entrance Road, just east of Tower Junction.
Elevation Gain: 950ft / 285m – Elevation Loss: 950ft / 285m