|Hike Name:||Yellowstone National Park - Heart Lake|
|Directions:||PARKING: (Southern Trailhead, South Enterance Parking Area) – The southern trailhead for this hike is located at the South Entrance. It is located about 50 miles (which took us nearly 1 ½ hours to drive) from Jackson, Wyoming. Follow 191 North out of Jackson (which is also 89/287) through Grand Teton National Park to the southern entrance to Yellowstone National Park. Once you clear the gate, go about 500 yards and turn right into the parking area that overlook the Snake River. A ranger station is nearby (but they don’t issue backcountry permits here to my knowledge.) The south entrance is normally open to wheeled vehicles from the first Friday of May through the first Sunday in November, and to tracked oversnow vehicles from the third Wednesday in December to Monday of the second full week in March. Limited services are available near the south entrance.
(Northern Trailhead, Heart Lake Parking Area) – The northern trailhead is located about thirty minutes north of the southern entrance to the park. It is on your right and marked with signs that indicate this is the lot for Heart Lake access. There are no facilities in this location.
We parked at the southern entrance, and hitched back to it from the Heart Lake parking area. There’s a lot of traffic in the summer on the park road that joins these two trailheads, and we got a ride within 15 mintues. Jackson, Wyoming has the closest airport to the trailhead, but Billings and Bozeman, Montana also have airports that provide access to the park. There was a $20 fee to enter the park when we visited (which was good for access to Grand Teton National Park as well) for seven days.
|Total Hike Distance:||22.60 miles|
|Hike Difficulty:||Moderate to Difficult|
|Hike Type:||One-Way, Shuttle Hike|
|Hike Starts:||South Entrance Gate|
|Hike Ends:||Heart Lake Parking Area|
|Trails Used:||South Boundary, Heart Lake|
|Backcountry Water Sources:||Streams, Rivers, Lakes|
|Management:||National Park Service|
|Contact Information:||Yellowstone National Park
P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168
Visitor Information - 307-344-7381
|Best Season:||Spring, Summer, Fall|
|Road Conditions:||Primary Paved Roads|
|Hike Summary:||The hike to Heart Lake starts in the southwestern corner of Yellowstone National Park. Our route passes campsites on the Snake River and at Basin Creek Lake and Heart Lake. Both the river and the lakes are loaded with trout which makes for some great fishing if that’s of interest. There is also some choice soaking spots where hot springs mix with the Snake River or Witch Creek. The Park Service only allows soaking in these mixed water areas and not in the hot springs themselves. Regardless, you’ll really enjoy this hike and you’ll have a chance to see a lot of wildlife and some areas still affected by the Yellowstone fires of 1988.|