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Lake District, Yellowstone National Park
Fast Facts




Yellowstone Nat'l Park
Wyoming 82190
Historic Interest
Points of Interest Nearby
Family Travel Tips

Moose, Pelican Valley


Photo by Bryan Harry, courtesy of National Park Service

Yellowstone's Lake District occupies roughly ΒΌ of the park. And while Yellowstone Lake is the centerpiece of this vast area, it's not the only site that merits attention. Pelican Valley is a top spot for viewing wildlife. Indian Pond is a great place for greenhorn hikers to ramble. The sizzling basin known as Mud Volcano is the most volatile hydrothermal area in Yellowstone National Park. West Thumb is the park's most scenic corner. The Thorofare offers experienced backpackers a taste of wild Yellowstone. The South and East entrance drives are much more than scenic gateways, they are grand ways to arrive and splendid routes to depart.
Getting There
The Lake District occupies the entire southeast quadrant of Yellowstone and encompasses the park's East and South entrances. The roads to Bridge Bay, Lake Village and Fishing Bridge are accessible to wheeled vehicles from early May through October and oversnow vehicles from late December to early March.
Getting Around
There are three ways to experience the Lake District; walk, boat and drive. The trails in the area range from easy to extreme. All are open to hikers. Natural Bridge Trail is the only bike path. Not all boardwalks are easy walks nor are they all wheelchair (and stroller) accessible. Pelican Creek and Storm Point trails are easy and short. Elephant Back Mountain and Pelican Valley trails are graded moderate. Howard Eaton Trail is a full day trek. Thorofare Trail is a multi-day backcountry adventure. Boat rentals and scenic cruises are found at Bridge Bay marina. Ranger-led walks and talks are offered at Lake Village, Fishing Bridge, Grant Village and West Thumb. NB: Yellowstone Lake is grizzly country. Check the ranger station for trail closings before you set out.
Things to Keep in Mind
The shoreline stretch of Grand Loop Road from Grant Village to Fishing Bridge is the best-served area of Yellowstone. There are visitor centers and convenience stores at Fishing Bridge, Bridge Bay and Grant Village. Hotels and restaurants are found in Lake and Grant Villages. There is a campground in Bridge Bay and one at Grant Village. There is no food or water at geyser basins and trailheads. There is little reprieve from the sun on boardwalks and trails. Pack water and snacks. Wear sunscreen and hats. Junior ranger booklets are available for purchase ranger at stations throughout the park. A fishing permit is required for all Yellowstone anglers. Permits are required for backcountry camping.
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