Hiking Avalanche Peak, Yellowstone

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Yvonne

I lava it!!!
.
Joined
Jan 19, 2012
Messages
3,122
This is a pretty short but steep hike, and definitely a leg burner. I really enjoy hikes with a lot of elevation gain and expansive views as a reward, so I thought I give it a try. This wonderful leg burner has an elevation gain of 2,200 ft in 2.5 miles up to the summit. It's only a short 5-mile roundtrip hike but the views are outstanding from the top of Avalanche Peak in all directions.
I left early from my base camp at Canyon campground and headed over toward the East Entrance and Sylvan Pass. There is a small parking lot on the right side of the road and to start hiking, you have to cross the road.



the first part of the trail goes through a lodgepole pine forest and immediately starts climbing up. I was glad I was already here in the park for a week and already seasoned to the higher elevation.



After about the first 0.7 miles the forest becomes more open and the first views come into place.



After a bit over a mile, I left the forest and the entire scenery opens up. Scree slopes descend into a large bowl below Avalanche Peak. This was definitely a good excuse to take a picture break and catch my breath. From this point on, the trail was mostly above tree line.





From this point, it was mostly switchbacks. I gained a lot of elevation in a short amount of time and with each switchback, the views started to get better.


looking south towards Mt. Doane

The trail continues to climb



more elevation gain and first view toward Yellowstone Lake



After about 1.7 miles the trail briefly flattens. The final ascend was still ahead of me.




Going Up


Trail across the scree

After a while, I got another great view of Yellowstone Lake and the entire area




View towrds Mount Chittenden and Cathedral Peak

I finally started to walk across the last ridge to the summit with the Tetons in the distance and Mt. Sheridan





Amazing views in all directions, this was definitely worth the effort.



Eventually, I reached the summit. It was super windy up here and only a few windbreaks erected by other hikers brought some relief.


I made it!!


Admiring the view


Silvertip Peak and Shoshone National Forest to the northeast


another view of Yellowstone Lake and Mount Sheridan in the distance



I sat down and enjoyed the view during a lunch break. I was the only one up there.
The hike back down was definitely much faster but pretty tough on my knees because it was so steep.



Eventually, I reached the trailhead again and 5 miles of awesomeness are behind me.
On the way back to Yellowstone Lake I stopped at Nine Miles trailhead because there was a Grizzly roaming around between the deadfall and snags.







This was a great finish of a great hike and I was actually happy I didn't see Grizzlies on any of my hikes. Each time I saw bears were when I headed from one hike to the next and they were close to the road.
 

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Pringles

Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2015
Messages
246
Every time I drive by that trailhead I think that I want to explore that trail. I’m not sure I want to go all the way to the top. I’ve thought that I just want to get to open ground, where you can see the bowl, but that scenery... wow. Which direction were you looking when you ate lunch? (Where your feet were out in front of you.).

The grizzly you saw is nicknamed Snow, and she’s a regular in that area. One of the local photographers says she gets scared of sandhill cranes. She’s 4 and one half. Her mother, Raspberry, is also often seen in the vicinity. We’re hoping Raspberry has cubs next spring. They are both looking healthy going into winter.

Thanks for sharing the description and pictures of that hike. It would be a real push for me, but it would be so neat.
 

Yvonne

I lava it!!!
.
Joined
Jan 19, 2012
Messages
3,122
Every time I drive by that trailhead I think that I want to explore that trail. I’m not sure I want to go all the way to the top. I’ve thought that I just want to get to open ground, where you can see the bowl, but that scenery... wow. Which direction were you looking when you ate lunch? (Where your feet were out in front of you.).

The grizzly you saw is nicknamed Snow, and she’s a regular in that area. One of the local photographers says she gets scared of sandhill cranes. She’s 4 and one half. Her mother, Raspberry, is also often seen in the vicinity. We’re hoping Raspberry has cubs next spring. They are both looking healthy going into winter.

Thanks for sharing the description and pictures of that hike. It would be a real push for me, but it would be so neat.
I figured that it was snow I saw in that area. I saw her a few times in total in both years exploring the park.
The view on top where I took the pictures was mostly looking to the North or Northeast.
I love the great expansive views in all directions, it definitely is a nice reward for the work hiking up.
I guess I'll go again next summer
 

b.stark

Forever Wandering
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Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
559
Looks like a great hike. Avalanche Peak was on my short list a few years back while I was in the area, but I tweaked a knee pretty badly in the Tetons and could only hobble around level areas in Yellowstone.
 

Absarokanaut

Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2014
Messages
568
Thanks for bringing back great memories of several hikes up Avalanche. I think it's an exponentially better hike than Washburn and recommend it for lots of friends that visit.
Avalanche.jpg
 

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