Trilobite Lake – 16.2mi / 26km
This alpine lake is tucked beneath Mount Holmes and is a great place to spy the few mountain goats that inhabit Yellowstone. The trail begins by crossing and following along a wonderful meadow. After walking in and out of trees and under some power lines, you cross Winter Creek. While there is no bridge, there’s a good chance a fallen tree can be found to cross over.
From here, the trail parallels the creek upstream and climbs up a grassy slope peppered with younger lodgepole pines. It continues to climb past the junction with the trail that heads to Grizzly Lake. The trail wraps around a little ridge with some great views, then begins to descend to Winter Creek. For the next few miles, the trail alternates between meadows and younger stands of trees. This culminates in a large meadow with a few campsites and the junction with the Trilobite Lake Trail.
Take the trail to the right where it wanders through some dense lodgepole forest before emerging into another large, wet meadow. Keep an eye out for orange markers on trees and posts to help guide you through the meadow. Once across, the trail climbs very erratically and can be a bit confusing as it appears to be a combination of an old trail and a new trail. The orange markers will help you navigate until the trail transitions from a burned forest into a wonderful, cool, old forest. Keep an eye out in the rocks for pikas and the cliffs for mountain goats. Eventually, the trail pops out of the forest to this quaint lake tucked into the mountains.
Trailhead: Start at the signed trailhead for Mt. Holmes, south of Indian Creek Campground, between Norris Junction and Mammoth Hot Springs.
Elevation Gain: 2,000ft / 600m – Elevation Loss: 2,000ft / 600m