Grebe Lake, Headwaters of Lava Creek and Observation Peak, Yellowstone National Park - September 13, 2019

scatman

Member
.
Joined
Dec 23, 2013
Messages
2,857
I completed a four day backpacking trip with a couple friends to Grebe Lake in Yellowstone National Park in mid-September, where we set up a base camp at campsite 4G4. From camp, we did day hikes to the headwaters of Lava Creek on the 14th and another hike to Observation Peak on the 15th.

The hike into Grebe Lake is an easy one at 4.1 miles. The trail is relatively flat, with a very gradual descent down to the lake. Our campsite, 4G4, was located on the northern shore of the lake, so we had to walk around the eastern shore of Grebe, where there is still a fair bit of marshiness to contend with.

Site 4G4 is a nice campsite, tucked in off the trail by the lake. It certainly had a lot more appeal than site 4G3 which we passed on our way in.

Since we drove up from Salt Lake and hiked in on the same day, we arrived at camp a little after four in the afternoon. After setting up camp and eating dinner, I made my way down to the lake to watch a pair of swans that call Grebe Lake home.

82214

The hike in overview map

82215

Trailhead shot

82216

Seems a bit dated

82222

Typical of the trail to Grebe Lake

82218

A quick break just past the halfway point to the lake

82219

Arriving at Grebe Lake

82221

Making our way around the lake

82223

Signpost for our campsite

82224

Tent sites at 4G4

82225

Swans on the lake



Day 2 - Off-trail day hike to the headwaters of Lava Creek

Now the night before, I had used my collapsible bucket to put out our campfire, and had left the bucket half full, next to a sitting log by the fire pit. When I got up in the morning, much to my chagrin, the bucket was gone. Something had come in to our campsite in the night and hauled away my bucket. :( We searched a wide perimeter around camp, but could never find it.

Well, after breakfast, two of us headed put to reach the headwaters of Lava Creek. This hike is 3.5 miles one way, and we would essentially be drainage hopping until we reached the meadows of Lava Creek. The first three quarters of mile were the toughest of our route due to old burn, downfall and seeps along the hillside of the stream that flows into the northwest corner of Grebe Lake. The rest of the drainage hiking was pleasant, with lots of sign of elk along our way to Lava Creek.

82229

Headwaters of Lava Creek overview map

82230

Grebe Lake in the morning

82232

Ready for an adventure

82233

Marshy due to seeps

82234

Definitely wet feet for the first 3/4 of a mile

82235

Hiking up the first drainage

82236

The stream has gone dry at this point

82237

Hiking up the second drainage

82238

Water has appeared again in the stream bed of the second drainage

82239

A small meadow near the head of the second drainage. At this point, we will head into the trees on the
left side of the image, up and over a saddle and drop into the drainage that will lead us to Lava Creek.


82240

Dropping down into the third drainage

82241

Stepping out of the trees into the meadows at the headwaters of Lava Creek - looking south

82242

Headwaters of Lava Creek - looking north

82243

Tiny Lava Creek

82244

A yummy taste of Lava Creek Water. :)

82245

Some interesting square rock slabs in the stream on our way back to
camp.


82246

My legs are beat up after the bushwhack



Day 3 - Day Hike to Observation Peak

On our third day we set out to hike to the summit of Observation Peak and take in Cascade Lake which was along our way.

82271

Observation Peak day hike overview map

82247

The observation lookout on Observation Peak as seen from our campsite on Grebe Lake

82248

Trail junction sign

82249

Looking back west at Grebe Lake

82250

Typical scenery between Grebe and Cascade Lakes

82251

Made it to Cascade Lake

82252

Cascade Lake with the Washburn Range in the distance.

82253

Time to turn off to the peak

82254

Fall colors taking hold of the Fireweed.

82255

A look down on the headwaters of Tower Creek

82256

Hayden Valley below to the south

82257

Grebe Lake below

82258

The lookout on top of Observation Peak

82259

Mount Holmes to the west. There are a lot of dead Whitebark Pines on Observation Peak

82260

Electric Peak to the northwest. @Artemus

82261

Time for lunch

82262

Heading back down the trail

82263

A look to the east and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

82264

The Washburn Range

82265

Cascade Lake form above

82266

More Fireweed


Day 4 - Back to the trailhead

A non-eventful hike back to the Grebe Lake Trailhead, though we did run into some wolf track along the east side of the lake.

82267

Wolf track on the trail

82268

Weebles wobble but they don't fall down. :)

82269

Beautiful day

82270

Almost back at the trailhead.

I had a wonderful time on this trip - other than losing my bucket. The weather was perfect: low to mid-sixties every day, with low to mid-thirties at night. We had elk bugling around our tents every night, and pretty much all night long. We also had an owl hooting two of the three nights. Beside the swans on Grebe Lake, we saw hawks, ravens, geese, ducks, one elk on our hike to Lava Creek, one weasel and too many squirrels to count. One of those squirrels fancied dropping pinecones on my tent early in the morning. :mad: At one point, we got to witness the swans chasing Canadian Geese off the lake - something that I have never seen before.
 

wabenho

Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
133
Cool trip! I used to visit Grebe Lake often as a youth. I caught my first Arctic Grayling there. Thanks for bringing back good memories. I need to get back there and that side trip to Observation looks sweet!
 

scatman

Member
.
Joined
Dec 23, 2013
Messages
2,857
Cool trip! I used to visit Grebe Lake often as a youth. I caught my first Arctic Grayling there. Thanks for bringing back good memories. I need to get back there and that side trip to Observation looks sweet!

My pleasure @wabenho. It's a great, short backpacking trip. The grayling were jumping all over the lake in the evening hours.
 

Tim Valentine

Member
.
Joined
May 24, 2015
Messages
156
Yes thanks for showing what is beyond Grebe Lake. I too went only as far as the lake and caught my only Arctic Grayling there.
tv
 

SteveR

Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2016
Messages
678
It's interesting to see the wilderness side of Yellowstone- meaning that on our too quick evening-very full day-morning visit there, we were only interested in seeing as many thermal features as possible.
And thanks for being discrete in that campfire pic!
:eek:
 
Joined
Jan 18, 2014
Messages
326
I’m really enjoyin’ your reports...ya have me diggin’ out my maps and follow in’ along on th journey vicariousl..thanks!
Keep on postin’.
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
scatman Grebe Lake - Yellowstone National Park - September Trip Planning 6
TractorDoc Yellowstone's Wrangler Lake, Bog Creek, Joseph's Coat Springs, Broad Creek, Wapiti Lake, Hot Springs Basin, and Pelican Valley. The Second Half. Backpacking 15
kwc Another Southern Adirondacks hike - Clockmill Pond and Rock Lake Hiking & Camping 0
TractorDoc Yellowstone's Wrangler Lake, Bog Creek, Joseph's Coat Springs, Broad Creek, Wapiti Lake, Hot Springs Basin, and Pelican Valley. Part One of Two. Backpacking 61
kwc Round Lake, north central Adirondacks, in the Round Lake Wilderness On The Water 2
Jackson Heart Lake and Snake River for Labor Day Backpacking 23
scatman Pacific Creek, Moss Lake and Gravel Lake - Teton Wilderness - October 7, 2022 Backpacking 32
TractorDoc Yellowstone's Hayden Valley, Trout Creek, Beach Lake, and Arnica Creek Meadows. September 11, 2022. Hiking & Camping 7
balzaccom Obata Lake...xc in Yosemite Backpacking 0
scatman Grizzly Lake - September 7, 2022 Backpacking 31
P Yellowstone, one night by a lake Backpacking 19
kwc A Few More Photos from Scatman’s Grizzly Lake trip … Backpacking 3
P Scatman's Grizzly Lake hike, 2022 Backpacking 28
P Yellowstone--Heart Lake to South Entrance Backpacking 13
scatman Shoshone Lake Lollipop Loop - Yellowstone National Park - July 24, 2022 Backpacking 63
T How big are the Mirror Lake campgrounds in the Porkies? Trip Planning 6
Georgia Yankee Apostle Islands, Lake Superior (again), June 2022 On The Water 4
kwc Adirondack Hike to Middle Lake Hiking & Camping 0
K Hello from the Salt Lake Valley Noobs: Introduce yourself! 2
J Lake Powell at 3528 feet General Discussion 1
WasatchWill WRHR: Day 5 - Camp Lake to Titcomb Basin Backpacking 15
WasatchWill WRHR: Day 4 - Halls Lake to Camp Lake Backpacking 17
WasatchWill WRHR: Day 3 - 'Desolation Valley' to Halls Lake Backpacking 15
J Lake Mead NRA and Sloan Canyon NCA summit and vista hikes. Nov 21-25, 2021 Hiking & Camping 0
scatman Grizzly Lake - Yellowstone National Park - September - 2022 Meet Up (Members Only) 149
Jackson Hearst Lake Hiking & Camping 10
P Overnight at Ice Lake, Yellowstone Backpacking 4
TrailScot Lake Powell and the 'return' of Glen Canyon General Discussion 24
Jackson Hollow Top Lake Backpacking 13
TractorDoc Yellowstone's Shoshone Lake, Ouzel Creek, and Three Rivers Junction -- September 13-16 2021 Backpacking 62
TrektheWorld Crater Lake and Lone Eagle Peak Backpacking 1
randakag Anaconda-Pintler: Lake of the Isle?? Trip Planning 0
TractorDoc Off Trail to Yellowstone's Aster Lake and Upper Witch Creek -- September 13, 2021 Hiking & Camping 13
Bob Wind Rivers - Lee Lake Loop Backpacking 6
NorthwestWanderer Backpacking Idaho's Cecil D. Andrus-White Clouds Wilderness : O'Calkens Lake & Bighorn Basin Backpacking 2
A Wind Rivers: Clear Lake, Faler Lake and Roaring Fork General Discussion 7
balzaccom Gibbs Lake, High Sierra Backpacking 2
scatman Beartooth Wilderness - Flat Rock Lake Lollipop Loop - July 26, 2021 Backpacking 56
kwc Short jaunt to Broomstick Lake, southern Adirondacks Hiking & Camping 2
Janice Mirror Lake Highway - Crowds? Recommendation? Trip Planning 4
Chuck the Mauler Sierra North Lake / South Lake "loop" questions Trip Planning 10
Duketogo13 Questions about packrafting the Escalante/Lake Powell in September. Need help! Trip Planning 5
priz1234 Pine River, Lake Creek, Flint Creek Loop San Juan. 7/3-7/5 Backpacking 6
Georgia Yankee Apostle Islands, Lake Superior, June 2021 On The Water 4
JuddOutdoors Hike To Grass Lake //Desolation Wilderness //Lake Tahoe Basin Hiking & Camping 0
SirDonB Echo Lake via the Overlook Mt Trail Hiking & Camping 0
Tim Valentine Market Lake Idaho: Birds Photography 3
RyanP North Fork Bull Lake Creek Trip Planning 35
S Packrafting Escalante - FiftyMile Creek and low water level Lake Powell Trip Planning 8
Dustynails0 Beartooth lake to East rosebud traverse Trip Planning 6

Similar threads

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

Top