Beach and Dryad Lakes - Yellowstone National Park - 8/4/15

scatman

Member
.
Joined
Dec 23, 2013
Messages
1,480
Our third day hike on our Yellowstone trip consisted of a hike along the old Plateau / Arnica Creek Trail to Beach Lake, then following a one way marked route to Dryad Lake before exiting at the Natural Bridge Trailhead.

Dryad_Lake.jpg

Overview map of hike

We hit the old trail about 7:30 in the morning with a very light rain greeting us. It would end up raining off and on throughout the day. Our route started off at the service road gate located near Arnica Creek. As we hiked up the road, we passed the trail junction for the old Howard Eaton Trail before meeting up with the original road from West Thumb to Bridge Bay. Once across the road, we began hiking up the trail towards the Arnica Creek Meadows. All the way to Beach Lake, we continually ran into bear scat.

001.jpg

Ready to begin

002.jpg

The original road from West Thumb to Bridge Bay

004.jpg

Originally part of the Plateau Trail then became the Arnica Creek Trail before no longer being maintained in the 1960's.

007.jpg

Bear scat along the trail

After a mile of hiking along the trail through the trees, we broke out into the meadows along Arnica Creek. These meadows happen to be one of my favorite places in Yellowstone. The meadows are lush and marshy in places but are absolutely gorgeous. This time, we had an added attraction - beaver dams. On my previous two trips to Beach Lake, beavers had not inhabited the Arnica Creek drainage, but now there were three dams with lodges along the creek.
As we made our way up the meadow, a large bull elk came into view on the opposite side. We watched him for a good five minutes before he realized we were there and ran off into the trees.

008.jpg

Breaking out into the meadows

009.jpg

The meadows along Arnica Creek

010.jpg

More meadows

011.jpg

Arnica Creek

012.jpg

Beaver Dam

013.jpg

Beaver lodge

014.jpg

Arnica Creek Meadows

015.jpg

There is a bull elk looking directly at us just left of center on the far side next to the trees

016.jpg

@McGimpkins, getting a picture of the elk

The meadows are roughly a mile and a half in length and soon we find ourselves back in the trees. At this point the trail becomes a little difficult to follow but eventually we pick it back up again and are one our way. In three tenths of a mile we reach a relatively recent burn that the old trail at first skirts then plunges into for half a mile or so. The fireweed in the burn is spectacular as its pinkish color contrasts against the black of the burned trees. We took a quick break and then made our way the last mile to Beach Lake.

017.jpg

back into the trees

018.jpg

Fireweed in the burn

020.jpg

I've got to hike through this Sh#t! Scatman Jr. needs a break

022.jpg

Beach Lake

026.jpg

Beach Lake

024.jpg

@McGimpkins trying to dry his feet off at Beach Lake

Once at the lake, we took a more substantial break to fuel up for the section between Beach and Dryad Lakes. We were going to attempt to locate the one way marked route and follow it religiously to Dryad Lake. While the distance we covered between the two lakes was only three miles, it took us four hours to hike due to taking time to look for the next marker ahead of us and the tremendous amount of blow-down between the two lakes. It turned out to be rough stretch.

We were able to follow the markers all the way to Dryad and when we reached the lake we stopped for a late lunch.

027.jpg

Downed marker on the way to Dryad Lake

028.jpg

Making our way between the lakes

029.jpg

Jr. at another marker

030.jpg

The path ahead

031.jpg

Ouch!

032.jpg

A small clearing between the lakes

034.jpg

A quick break - markers become more difficult to find after this

035.jpg

Getting close to Dryad Lake

036.jpg

Arriving at Dryad Lake

037.jpg

Dryad Lake

038.jpg

Dryad Lake

039.jpg

Lunch break at Dryad

041.jpg

Elk antlers

When we finished with our lunches, we hiked along the north shore of the lake to the outlet where once again we started hiking through meadows. The grass in middle of some of these meadows was chest deep! It actually tired us out a bit walking through the grass. As we hiked through the meadows, we came upon five different grizzly digs - a place where the bears have dug up the ground in order to find ground squirrels.

As the drainage narrowed as we approached Natural Bridge, we took a game trail up to the top of the ridge where we had a nice view down the other side. Along the ridge we saw a big buck and once again had to work our way through downfall. Eventually we made our way off of the ridge right at Natural Bridge where a yellow bellied marmot kept a watchful eye on us. After taking a few pictures of the bridge, it began to pour so we hiked out the last mile and a half in the rain.

042.jpg

Meadows below Dryad Lake

043.jpg

Chest high grass

044.jpg

A grizzly dig

045.jpg

More meadows

046.jpg

View from the other side of the ridge

047.jpg

Natural Bridge

048.jpg

Natural Bridge

Well, another fun day. We finished up about 6:30 in the evening for an 11 hour day for 13.4 miles. I really enjoyed the meadow hiking on this trip. The portion between the lakes was slow going but it was nice to find and follow the old route. The only other creatures we saw besides the elk and the deer were some frogs, butterflies, robins and mosquitoes.

Featured image for home page:
slide.jpg
 

Keith

Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2014
Messages
75
I guess there never was a maintained trail east of Dryad?

There is supposed to be a fairly recognizable game trail from Dryad to the Trout finger meadow off Hayden. Did you see any sign of that?

Cool beaver dam!

Did Jr crack up when you fell?

Great report!
 

Joey

walking somewhere
Joined
Apr 1, 2014
Messages
878
I really like the Arnica Creek drainage. At least the part I remember seeing, before it got dark. :) But those meadows are really beautiful.

Looks like a lot of something has been walking around those lakes. What kind of tracks did you see?
 

scatman

Member
.
Joined
Dec 23, 2013
Messages
1,480
I guess there never was a maintained trail east of Dryad?

There is supposed to be a fairly recognizable game trail from Dryad to the Trout finger meadow off Hayden. Did you see any sign of that?

Cool beaver dam!

Did Jr crack up when you fell?

Great report!

@Keith - I didn't see any sign of it, that doesn't mean it is not there, its just that we couldn't take the time to do a thorough search to hook up with it. Supposedly it is a bison highway but I didn't see any sign of bison in the meadows below Dryad Lake. I guess that means you and I will have to go back in and explore some more!

Jr. and Ryan both got a good chuckle out of it, but I reminded them that I was the only one who knew how to get us out of there.

Yeah, the beaver dams were neat though I've still never seen a beaver in the wild.

I really like the Arnica Creek drainage. At least the part I remember seeing, before it got dark. :) But those meadows are really beautiful.

Looks like a lot of something has been walking around those lakes. What kind of tracks did you see?

There is no question that our bushwhack in the dark along Arnica Creek will go down in our hall of fame!

I promised Ryan that he would get to see grizzly tracks at Beach Lake along the beach since every time that I had been there in the past there were always a good set to see. But lo and behold the only tracks at Beach and Dryad were elk and lots of them.
 

Keith

Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2014
Messages
75
I guess that means you and I will have to go back in and explore some more!

Loop starts at mud vulcano, goes out to Hayden Valley, down the trout finger meadow, over to Dryad....

Book it for 2018? 2019? Ugh.
 

scatman

Member
.
Joined
Dec 23, 2013
Messages
1,480
Yeah, my calendar is pretty full too but we've got to get back in there before I'm too old to make it that far. :moses:
 

scatman

Member
.
Joined
Dec 23, 2013
Messages
1,480
That's a cool natural bridge. Nice report.

According to the information sign at Natural Bridge, it was formed due to ice and water as opposed to wind like the arches in southern Utah.
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
Miya Beach Backpacking and Creek Bed Sleeping Backpacking 29
NorthwestWanderer Olympic Peninsula - Rialto Beach / Hole in the Wall / & 2 Bonus Waterfalls Hiking & Camping 6
NorthwestWanderer Olympic Pen. - Kalaloch CG, Third Beach & Roosevelt Beach Hiking & Camping 8
George_Washington_Hayduke Price River (Utah) Packrafting @200cfs From Woodside to Swasey Beach On The Water 4
Ben Olympic NP, Pacific Coast, Rialto Beach to Ozette River Backpacking 19
uintahiker Cobble Beach Oregon and the Tide Pools Everything Else 3
NorthwestWanderer North Cascades NP : Dee Dee Lakes & the Mcallister Ledge Backpacking 0
NorthwestWanderer North Cascades - Cutthroat/Granite/snowy lakes passes Backpacking 2
Mountain Wanderer Cedar Lakes Loop in Montana's Cabinet Mountains Wilderness Backpacking 4
SteveR Headwall Lakes, Alberta Hiking & Camping 6
andyjaggy Deep Creek Lakes and Windriver Peak Trip Planning 6
VikingEarl Rae Lakes Loop, SEKI, June 2020 Backpacking 6
Matt Van Natta HELP: Wind River Range, Baker Lake to Green River Lakes Trip Planning 6
Dreamer Wind River Dreaming | Summer 2019 July 17 - July 29 | Green River Lakes - Elkhart Park Backpacking 13
Curt Lost Twin Lakes, Cloud Peak Wilderness, Wyoming Backpacking 16
McKee80 TR: Bear Lakes Basin Pine Creek TH 09-05/11-19 Backpacking 14
Pianomover Overnighter to Caribou lakes in the Trinity Alps. Backpacking 0
balzaccom Dinkey Lakes Trip Reports 2
fossana Bear Lakes > Royce Lakes overnighter (High Sierra) Backpacking 12
balzaccom Chain Lakes Backpacking 1
misSOULa Montana's Bitterroot Mountains: Big Creek Lakes and Ranger Point Backpacking 2
bdunn02 Stough Creek Basin via Twin Lakes Backpacking 7
Parma Idaho's White Cloud Mountains - Boulder Chain Lakes - Chamberlain Basin Backpacking 8
NorthwestWanderer Overnighter in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness : Ingalls Pass and Lake Ingalls Backpacking 9
Born to Hike Windriver 36 mile loop: Skull Lake, Washakie Pass, South Fork Lakes, Lizard Head Trail, The Cirque, Big Sandy Lake Backpacking 6
NorthwestWanderer Lyman Lakes, Glacier Peak Wilderness, WA Backpacking 12
NorthwestWanderer Yellow Aster Butte & Tomyhoi Lakes Basin, WA Hiking & Camping 11
MTNgoat OHV tails close to lakes Trip Planning 1
T Day Hike to Tatoosh Lakes and beyond Hiking & Camping 1
stevecochranephotography Blue Lakes Trail... Southwest Colorado in the Mount Sneffels Wilderness Hiking & Camping 9
Shirt357 Twin Crater Lakes - 0707-0708 Backpacking 5
L Red Castle Lakes / Wilson Peak OR Rock Creek Basin Trip Planning 4
Wanderlust073 South Colony Lakes overnight Backpacking 9
NorthwestWanderer Ancient Lakes & Dusty Lake, WA 4/28 - 4/30 Backpacking 2
DrNed Upper Henry's Fork Lakes Trip Planning 1
Jimmy BANFF: Fish/Devon Lakes/Pipestone Highline Backpacking 5
AbinadiWitness Part 1: Telluride Via Ferrata and Mount Sneffels SW Ridge from Blue Lakes- Colorado Trip # 1 - 2017 Backpacking 0
RyanP Cook Lakes to Wall Lake to Indian Basin to Titcomb Basin Trip Planning 4
TrektheWorld Rawah Wilderness Camp Lakes to West Branch Loop Backpacking 3
scatman Mallard Lake and DeLacy Lakes, Yellowstone National Park - June 30,2017 Backpacking 6
S White Cloud route, Big Boulder Lakes to Boulder Chain Lakes Trip Planning 3
Luke High elevation uinta campgrounds/lakes General Discussion 9
K TR: 4/14 - 4/16 Nice Little Valley south of Mammoth Lakes,CA Backpacking 2
Perry Chain Lakes / Lake Atwood Trail to Painters Basin... What's It Like? Trip Planning 0
Kelin Best Route to Alpine Lakes? Trip Planning 4
Tim Valentine High Sierra Lakes Tour Backpacking 11
TrektheWorld Spectacle Lakes - Rocky Mountain National Park Hiking & Camping 2
Ugly Morat Lakes over Labor Day Backpacking 8
scatman Trout Creek to Cygnet Lakes - Yellowstone National Park - July 6, 2016 Hiking & Camping 7
balzaccom Emigrant Wilderness: Emigrant and Huckleberry lakes Backpacking 0

Similar threads

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Top