Avalanche Peak – Yellowstone National Park

Avalanche Peak, YNP

I started the day off in Cody, Wyoming in the Southfork where I live. It was a perfect day to go on a short hike up in Yellowstone. A hike that has been on my list was Avalanche Peak, which is on the edge of Yellowstone. I started out my day by driving down the beautiful Northfork Hwy. This hwy is full of wildlife and almost every time I drive I see big horn sheep and other animals. As you enter Yellowstone Nation Park,  you begin right away going up Sylvan Pass, which is an incredible view and shows you the higher peaks of the Absaroka Mountains. As I started my way down the pass I kept my eyes out for the turn out at Eleanor Lake(which is pictured above), which is the beginning of the trail head. Here is where I met up with my friend to climb the mountain together. We began the journey up the mountain. The trail begins in the trees, which is thick grizzly bear area, so I head my senses heightened as I was looking around for these giant bruins. We kept following the trail until an opening appeared, which gave me my first glimpse of the peak, as well as the neighboring Hoyt Peak. At this point the trail started to become very steep. My heart started to pound in my head as I kept on going towards my goal. We kept up the ridge line towards the peak. After a few minutes we came to the exposed ridge to the summit. This is a spectacular view of the wild Absaroka Mountains. A few more switchbacks and we were at the summit. The views show many different areas of the surrounding mountains. We could see the Tetons, Yellowstone Lake, and the Rugged South Absaroka Mountains. As we were chilling at the top taking photos of the breath taking landscape, then the well known Wyoming weather kicked in. I still wanted to take more pictures, so I stood my ground. Then my friend began to holler at me to get down from the peak. As I stood up, I could feels static electricity in my hands and head. My phone started crackling, and at this point I noticed a ladies hair stand strait up. I told her to get down from the peak quickly, my friend and I went off the trail and started scrambling down the mountain to get away from the static electricity. As I was going down it started to rain, making the already loose rock very slick. I kept on tripping and almost falling down the slope. To make matters even better it started to hail. At this point we knew we had to get down fast. After awhile we finally made it back to the trail, and being Wyoming the weather went back to bright sunny skies. We headed down the rest of the mountain back to the trail head. As we made it to the bottom, I looked back up and thought to myself, I just made it down that in my cowboy boots.

Overall this was a great hiking experience. I would consider it Yellowstone’s best hike. It has everything from steep exposed ridges to walking through the trees. There were a few people on the hike, but it was not too crowded. Together we covered about 6 miles in some rugged terrain of Yellowstone National Park.

-Ricky Pearson