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Hiking & Walking: Wyoming > Yellowstone National Park

Quick Facts

Lava Creek Trail

Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 6,500 Feet (2026.2 Meters) At Undine Falls
Elevation Gain: 800 Feet (249.4 Meters) At Undine Falls
Length: 4.5 Miles (7.5 Kilometers)
Recommended Season: Spring to Fall
USGS Maps: Trails Illustrated (Mammoth Hot Springs), Mammoth and Blacktail Deer Creek USGS quads.

Outfitters and Guides

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Lava Creek Trail, located near Mammoth, offers a 4.5 mile hike that follows Lava Creek downstream past Undine Falls (60 feet), descending gradually.
Lava Creek meets the Gardner River farther downstream. The trail crosses a foot bridge on the Gardner River, and there is one final ascent to a pullout on the North Entrance Road just north of the Mammoth Campground.

Yellowstone has a designated backcountry campsite system, and a Backcountry Use Permit is required for all overnight stays. Each designated campsite has a maximum limit for the number of people and stock allowed per night. The maximum stay per campsite varies from 1 to 3 nights per trip. Campfires are permitted only in established fire pits. Wood fires are not allowed in some backcountry campsites. A food storage pole is provided at most designated campsites so that food and attractants may be secured from bears. Neither hunting nor firearms are allowed in Yellowstone's backcountry.

Permits may be obtained only in person and no more than 48 hours in advance of your trip.Permits are available from most ranger stations and visitor centers. In order to obtain the best information on trail conditions, permits should be obtained from the ranger station or visitor center nearest to the area where your trip is to begin. The Backcountry Use Permit is valid
only for the itinerary and dates specified. Backcountry travelers must have their permits in possession while in the backcountry.

Directions from Mammoth Campground: Travel north 4.4 miles to the bridge at Lava Creek picnic area on the Mammoth-Tower Road. Leave a vehicle at the Lava Creek Trailhead, a marked pullout just south of the campground at Mammoth.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: June through October .

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Makes for a brief overnight. From the falls, the trail drops steadily. At the bottom of the descent, you see a backcountry campsite off to your left. If you're not alert, you can miss it.
ICON Hiking & Walking Lava Creek Trail
ICON Horseback Riding Along Lava Creek.

Related Activities
Albright Visitor Center - Albright Visitor Center (formerly bachelor officers' quarters) & Museum, located five miles inside the North Entrance, features a museum, Moran Gallery, theater, Yellowstone Association, backcountry office and handicap accessible restrooms between Visitor Center hours.

Blacktail Deer Creek-Yellowstone River Trail - Blacktail Deer Creek-Yellowstone River Trail, located near Mammoth, offers a moderate 12.5 one-way hike.

Indian Creek Campground - Indian Creek Campground, located in the northwest section of the park, features 75 RV and tent sites.

Mammoth Campground -

Rescue Creek Trail - Rescue Creek Trail, located near the North Entrance to the park, offers an eight mile hike or 16 mile roundtrip.

More Information

Visitor Information:

Yellowstone National Park, P.O. Box 168 , Yellowstone, WY, 82190, Phone: 307-344-7381


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