Yellowstone Lake Overlook

The Yellowstone Lake Overlook in Yellowstone National Park is a nice loop to an overlook of the West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake. This short hike starts at the West Thumb Geyser Basin parking lot and gains some elevation while passing by a couple of hydrothermal features.

I started out at the far end of the parking lot at the busy West Thumb Geyser Basin. The trail is a mix of lodgepole pines and small meadows. It crosses the South Entrance Road, then continues on through more lodgepoles. You reach a trail junction which is the loop that goes up to the top. Either way is fine, but I went left and did the loop counter-clockwise.

I was a bit concerned that it was going to be a treed walk to the top, but the trees quickly begin to transition to meadows and, while gaining elevation rather quickly, it opens up to nice meadows. I started smelling the memorable rotting egg smell and found the culprit of a small spring near the top. Speaking of the top, the vantage is great! The views are wonderful panoramas of the West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake and the surrounding area.

I sat on the dinky bench up at the top and also explored the social trail that went higher on the ridge. Don’t bother going much further as it just gets into trees where the trail dies a slow, meandering death.

From there, I dropped down past another geothermal feature and through more meadows until I was swallowed up by trees and back at the junction, then across the road to the trailhead.

Overall, the Yellowstone Lake Overlook trail is a nice hike out of the West Thumb Geyser Basin. I wouldn’t make it a destination hike, but if you’re hanging around in the area, it’s another nice, short hike for most everyone in the family.


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