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Trout Lake in Yellowstone National Park is a short walk through a nice mix of meadows and trees to a quaint, sublime lake bordered by rolling hills and backdropped by gnarled cliffs. It starts out steep, but only for a couple hundred vertical feet, then levels off to a loop around this pleasant lake.
On a bluebird morning I headed east on Northeast Entrance Road, through the Lamar Valley and up the Soda Butte Canyon to get to the Trout Lake trailhead. The trail starts off in sagebrush meadows and I began the steep initial ascent. This beginning might deter hikers looking for something short and easy, but it’s only for a little bit with plenty to see along the way.
I was out in early July, so flowers were everywhere including large clumps of Rocky Mountain Helianthella which is a beautiful yellow sunflower. As I climbed up, the trail ducked in and out of an old forest with great trees. This gave ample opportunity to see flycatchers, woodpeckers, etc in this varied habitat. This trail is not very long, but big on variety.
Eventually, I popped out at the lake where the trail loops around it. The lake is simply stunning. It was mirror calm, reflecting the rolling meadows behind it that were covered in the sunflowers. Behind that, flanks of Druid Peak created a nice contrast with their gnarled cliff faces. The loop around the lake revealed more birds including Canada Goose goslings and Mallard ducklings.
One thing the lake is popular for is its River Otters. They feed on the Cutthroat Trout that spawn at the lake’s inlet. While I didn’t see any of its otters, I did get to see its large, red “cutties”.
Short hike. Wonderful hike.