Climbing Mount Washburn in Yellowstone was a memorable expertise – one of the vital enjoyable hikes I’ve ever taken.
Mt. Washburn is without doubt one of the highest factors in Yellowstone Nationwide Park, with an elevation of round 10,200 ft. The height was named after Henry Washburn, one of many expedition members from the 1870s who used to scrub their garments in Outdated Devoted.
You possibly can climb Washburn in certainly one of two methods: From Dunraven Go or from Chittenden Street. I did each. Right here’s the news.
Methods to Hike Mount Washburn on the Dunraven Go facet
On my first day in Yellowstone, I hiked up the Dunraven Go facet of the mountain. The climate was nice and folks have been sporting shorts, however as I moved increased (it’s a 1,393-foot elevation achieve), it acquired chilly.
This route goes by way of forested areas, and it’s one of many final locations within the park the place the snow melts yearly. For a lot of the path, the snow was gone, however in some spots, it was a pair inches deep, whilst temperatures have been delicate all over the place else in Yellowstone:
As I reached a prolonged collection of switchbacks, I used to be hit with a blast of some type of hail/rain/snow mixture – a wintry combine, as they are saying. I assumed it was actually cool to expertise snow in the course of the summer time. (And all this time I assumed Vanessa Williams was filled with shit when she sang, “Generally the snow comes down in June.”)
Fortuitously, I used to be dressed for the climate with a long-sleeve hoodie. In case you’re going to hike Washburn, taking some heavier garments with you is a should, it doesn't matter what time of yr.
I began feeling a bit of dizzy and thought I is perhaps beginning to really feel altitude illness. I’m undecided if that occurs at 10,000 ft, however contemplating that just a few hours earlier I used to be at a a lot decrease elevation in Wyoming, it appeared believable. Not desirous to danger passing out up there, I ended and circled.
It was nonetheless an pleasing hike, with nice views, despite the fact that I didn’t attain the summit.
Climbing Mt. Washburn on the Chittenden Street facet
Two days later, on my ultimate afternoon in Yellowstone, I seen that Chittenden Street was open. It had been closed the 2 earlier days. Since I used to be nonetheless desirous to see bears and bighorn sheep, I needed to take the hike once more.
If Chittenden Street is open, you may drive to a degree partially up the hill, which leaves a 2.2-mile hike with a 1491-foot elevation achieve. If the street isn’t open, you may nonetheless hike that facet, however you’re a further 1.2-mile hike to succeed in the trailhead.
The Chittenden facet has a few forested areas, but it surely’s largely large open, leaving plenty of nice views (which might result in quite a lot of nice Yellowstone photos) and a greater shot at seeing wildlife.
As I started the hike, I noticed bighorn sheep tracks. This was an excellent signal!
Then got here the scary indicators. Like bear tracks proper on the grime path. And bushes whose trunks had been slashed by grizzlies marking their territory.
Having by no means seen a bear within the wild, I used to be fairly frightened, however I embraced the concern and continued onward. Shortly after reaching a pleasant open space, I noticed a bunch of individuals standing collectively and pointing.
Then, I noticed the grizzly!
It was possibly 100 yards away, in regards to the size of a soccer subject. I snapped a few photos and slowly started backing away, because it was heading in my course. Earlier than lengthy, it circled and went again over the hill.
Right here’s a diagram of the place I noticed the bear.
Sadly, I didn't attain the summit on the Chittenden facet, both. Even after the grizzly disappeared, I didn’t wish to preserve strolling in his course. Plus, it was getting late within the day and I used to be alone – two no-nos in terms of climbing close to bears.
Those that make it to the summit of Mt. Washburn will discover a fireplace lookout tower with a customer middle and restrooms. Total, this can be a medium-length hike that gained’t be super-challenging for skilled hikers. Simply carry your bear spray!
Climbing Mt. Washburn in Yellowstone: Abstract
Washburn is without doubt one of the extra fashionable hikes within the park, so be ready. In case you’re not eager about heading into the backcountry by yourself, the Washburn hike is without doubt one of the higher walks you may take by way of the park, filled with panoramic views and alternatives to see wildlife.
By the best way, for those who’re questioning the place else to see bears in Yellowstone, try my information on the park’s wildlife.
Have you ever hiked in grizzly bear nation?