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DeLacy Creek in Yellowstone National Park offers the shortest route to Shoshone Lake. This level trail is a great mix of forest walking along wide, open meadows as DeLacy Creek meanders to Shoshone Lake, the largest backcountry lake in the lower 48 that can’t be reached by road.
The trail along DeLacy Creek starts between Old Faithful and West Thumb and drops down 200 feet to the creek. This first section of trail is through a pleasant forest that DeLacy Creek trickles through. After just a bit of walking, you start to encounter some smaller meadows which gradually turn into larger meadows. The trail travels on the boundary between the forest and meadows which is great as the meadows become vast.
Alternating between the two gives you a nice balance of shade and sun and exposure to a wider variety of flora and fauna that enjoy both habitats. A couple of vantages enable a sneak peak of the lake. Before you get to the lake, however, the creek slows way down and gets deeper. Lily pads are prevalent and waterfowl hide amongst them as the creek lazily snakes towards the lake.
A wall of trees guards the lake. You walk through them to a smooth pebble shoreline which is a perfect place to sit and have lunch and enjoy the view. The lake is broad, beautiful, and quiet. It’s shores beckon you to explore while its water invites you for a swim on a hot day. After relaxing, turn around and head back.