my favorite hike in yellowstone.

yellowstone day hike

This place is magical! If you’re looking for a FULL DAY hike in Yellowstone, I’ve got you covered. River crossings, up and over mountains, through forests, two waterfalls, and oh, rock jumping makes this my favorite place in Yellowstone. I try to keep a lot of my favorite spots a secret, but this one is honestly such a trek, so if you’re looking for an easy day hike, this ain’t it. It’s an all day event – about 17 miles total! – so make sure to plan ahead with friends and make sure you pack plenty of snacks and lots water. Don’t forget bear spray!

ouzel pool yellowstone

Ouzel Pools Hike

Directions: From Jackson Hole, drive north to the north entrance of Grand Teton National Park. Drive to Flagg Ranch and turn left onto Grassy Lake Road. You 100% need all wheel drive as it starts out as maintained, and then quickly turns into a not maintained road. You will drive a ways down and pass the Grassy Lake Reservoir, and drive over the bridge. Continue down the road and on the right hand side is a trail head, which is a little hard to find, called Grassy Lake Trail Head. Click here for the best directions.

Length: It’s about 17 miles out and back – every time I’ve done it, it has taken us all day. I wouldn’t recommend young kiddos.

Difficulty: It’s a relatively easy hike but it’s a HAUL out there. I’m really stressing that it’s not a beginner or even medium hiker trek. I’m always exhausted after this hike and I consider myself a pretty avid hiker. I don’t want folks to think this is an easy walk in the woods because it’s pretty far. Also, take into account that you’ll be using a lot of energy when swimming in the hot sun in the pools. There’s a current so you’ll be treading water, a lot. Bring extra snacks and water.

What to Bring: The obvious: plenty of food, water, bear spray, bug spray, and sunscreen. I’ve always brought an extra pair of sandals to cross the two rivers – you don’t want soggy hiking boots or you are bound to get blisters. I usually tie them to the back of my backpack and use them to cross the water. Ouzel Pools is crystal clear so bring goggles to check out the fishies!

The Trail: This trail is really two trails in one – Union Falls and Ouzel Pools. I like to start out heading to Union Falls, posting up and eating lunch at the top to view the waterfalls, then heading back down the trail and veering off to spend a chunk of time at Ouzel Pool, which is warm because it is heated by a geothermal stream. The side hike adds about a mile to your trip. There is a rock to jump off of with a deep pool and hanging out under the small waterfall is always re-energizing. There isn’t a clear sign for the pools but it’s close to a hitching post for horses. After heading back from Union Falls, about a half a mile, there is a trail on your right that is unmarked but obvious – go here and hike for about 0.3 miles to the pools. Once you are done soaking in the sun, take the trail back out to the main trail, and turn right to head back to your car. For full map on All Trails

NOTES: I am by no means a hiking guide so if you’d like more detailed information on this hike with GPS coordinates and all that jazz, click here