Washburn Meadows, Yellowstone

Pringles

Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2015
Messages
270
I had a weekend to hike, and thought this might be an interesting area.

Step one, spray my hiking shirt with mosquito and tick spray (two different sprays).

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The trailhead is called Glacial Boulder, because there's a large glacial boulder about 30 yards away.

Once you enter the woods, the are a few ravines to walk through and around, but then you get your first view. It showed promise.

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Supposedly, you could see Silver Cord Falls on the far wall. I looked, but not too closely. I sort of expected a sign. There was none, and the next thing I knew, I was on this roadbed trail and away from the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. A ways down the trail, the was a sign, in the middle of no where, saying the waterfall view was a half mile back. Sheesh. I'd look on my way back.

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Shortly after turning off the trail to Seven Mile Hole, I saw this meadow. Through the trees, the were wonderful views.

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The Washburn Meadows Trail goes by some thermal features. Unlike most thermal areas in Yellowstone, the was absolutely no one else around.

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There was one named thermal feature, Inkpot Hot Spring. The water coming out looked like India Ink. It was like water, but black. It looked really odd, as I crossed the little outflow steam.

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It bubbled actively.

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It was a fairly small thermal area, but had active thermals. The show was worth the 4.5 mile hike. Now, another mile to the campsite.

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Much, but not all, of the remaining walk to the site was in large meadows. I was thinking it would be awesome to have a view like this from camp.

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Of course, with thoughts like that, you know the trail will go back into the woods. And, it did. I did run into two young men, once I got into the woods, who had started st the same trailhead as I had, and day hiked to the top of Mt. Washburn and were now headed back. They were quite enthusiastic, and I was glad to have run into them.

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The site itself was not great. It wasn't awful, but the views were limited. I went back to the trail to get water after following the signs to, well, no water. There was a fire pit and kitchen area that was dark, in the trees. It's in the trees just beyond the food pole.

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Directly under the food pole was evidence of a former visitor. Mink?

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I went to bed that night, wishing I had a view to the north. The Aurora Borealis was to be out. I didn't see it, but I did have a fantastic view of stars.

The next morning, about a quarter of a mile from camp, right on the trail, I found where yet another resident had left his mark. I assume this was grizzly scat, but it could be black bear. It hadn't been there the day before, or at least I hadn't noticed it.

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I watched sandhill cranes, in the distance.

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Coming back to the thermal area, I got a better angle on the bison skull by the thermal pool. The were no other bones around it, and the display angle was perfect, so I assume someone put it there, but that would be a stupid place to walk.

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I joined the main trail again. I ran into another hiker, headed up to Washburn, as a day hiker. She mentioned bear scat on the trail ahead, but I only saw horse manure. I hope she wasn't that new to hiking and doing a 20 mile day with 2500 feet of elevation gain (and loss) alone. Maybe... .

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This time I saw Silver Cord Falls. It's in the dark downward streak on the far wall. That was by the Ribbon Falls campsite from earlier this summer.

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The last mile or so bobbed up and down a little, but was very rewarding. Views of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone are always gratifying. I got back to the car and headed to Canyon Village for some ice cream. :)
 

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Pringles

Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2015
Messages
270
You’re welcome. I wanted to go to Seven Mile Hole, but people talk about how the gravel is loose. I’m not exactly clumsy, but I’m not interested in skidding into the abyss, either. So, I went to Washburn Meadow. I’ve been told that after you’ve come up from the bottom of the canyon, it’s not too far out of the way to zip up to Inkpot Hotspring, and then head back to the trailhead. I think it might be a mile and a half, with very little elevation change from the intersection.
 

Yvonne

I lava it!!!
Joined
Jan 19, 2012
Messages
3,657
You’re welcome. I wanted to go to Seven Mile Hole, but people talk about how the gravel is loose. I’m not exactly clumsy, but I’m not interested in skidding into the abyss, either. So, I went to Washburn Meadow. I’ve been told that after you’ve come up from the bottom of the canyon, it’s not too far out of the way to zip up to Inkpot Hotspring, and then head back to the trailhead. I think it might be a mile and a half, with very little elevation change from the intersection.

I headed about the loose gravel. It can't be worse than descending 1500 feet on loose sharp lava rock in Hawai'i where you scramble down on all your four. And when I head down to the river behind my house to reach a massive lava flow it is super steep with loose gravel as well. I guess it's similar and I always have to be super cautious.
I'll give it a try next summer. Especially because I camp for 2 weeks at Canyon and the trail is so close by.
 
Last edited:

Pringles

Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2015
Messages
270
Wow, that sounds nasty. The Seven Mile Hole descent sounds much better. Take some pictures—for me. :)
 
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