The Agate Creek trailhead is reached by taking the first 2.3 miles of the Specimen Ridge
Trail from its western side. The Agate Creek Trail leaves the Specimen Ridge
Trail, gradually ascends 500 feet through open sagebrush meadows high above the Yellowstone River before plunging 1300 feet to the Yellowstone near the mouth of Agate Creek.
This seldom-used trail takes curious visitors and eager fishermen to a remote section of the mighty Yellowstone River at the bottom of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone near the canyon's terminus. Here the canyon is covered with trees and does not display multi-colors like it does at the beginning of the canyon some 15 miles up river. But the river and canyon still have a wild sprit and afford adventuresome runners an intimate experience.
One of America's few northward flowing rivers, the Yellowstone begins a few miles south of the park and travels 670 miles before emptying into the Missouri River near the Montana-North Dakota border. It is the longest undammed river in the continental United States.
To the southwest, the skyline is dominated by Mount Washburn
. At the 1.6 mile mark the trail crosses Quartz Creek just before it plunges down an eroded ravine to join the Yellowstone. Soon the trail skirts the edge ridge above the river and views up and down the river are outstanding. Up river you see into the reaches of the Grand Canyon. Down river you can see a distinctive light-colored rock outcropping towering above the river. This is the Narrows near Tower Falls
The final 1.4 miles of the trail precipitously drops over 1300 feet. The trail ends at the Yellowstone River near the mouth of Agate Creek. The river here is strong, but fishable and offers the chance to catch some of its biggest cutthroat trout. Agate Creek also sports a decent population of small trout.
Thanks to guidebook author, Tom Carter, for sharing this trail description. To learn more about visiting Yellowstone, check out his book, Day Hiking Yellowstone
Buffalo are commonly seen grazing on Specimen Ridge