Mount Washburn (Yellowstone National Park)
To get to the Chittenden trailhead: Drive South from Tower junction about 8.7 miles and turn onto the signed Chittenden road. Take this well graded dirt road one mile to the trailhead. There is ample parking here and a bathroom.
To get to the Dunraven trailhead: Drive South from Tower junction about 13.3 miles and park at the signed trailhead. There is a bathroom here.
from Chittenden trailhead it is 2.5 miles to the top.
- Wild Flowers
- Wild Animals
Hike up Mount Washburn in Yellowstone National park
At an elevation of 10,243 ft, Mount Washburn dominates the Eastern part of Yellowstone National park. As you can imagine, there are fantastic views of the park from the top of this mountain. The views are well worth the climb, even though you have to share it with many other people, as this is a very popular hike in Yellowstone National Park.
There are also several methods to get to the top of Mount Washburn. The Chittenden road is still in use to service the lookout at the top of the mountain. However, it is closed to all but official park service traffic and hikers. This trail/road has the advantage of being graded for vehicles and is relatively devoid of trees that would block the views of the park. There are also lovely wildflowers all around you as you hike.
Given a choice, I preferred the Dunraven pass trail to the top of Washburn. You still get the wildflowers, but you also have more of a feel of hiking up a trail. The trail from Dunraven was also a road once, but since it predated the Chittenden road, it has since closed to vehicles, to the benefit of hikers. There are more trees, a smaller trail, and less parking at this trailhead... all of which lead to a more enjoyable hiking experience for my tastes.
Karen and I hiked up the Dunraven pass trail and then she returned to the car as I continued down the other side to the Chittenden road trailhead. Either way you go, you'll be rewarded with the views of the park from the top of Mount Washburn. The top of the mountain has a small visitor center with several lookout levels and a working fire lookout tower. Either fortunately or unfortunately, there is a cell tower here, so you can send and receive cell phone signals.
After you've finished calling your friends back home to tell them what a wonderful Yellowstone trip you're having, return the way you came.