Chittenden Road-Mount Washburn Trail
ElevationAscent: 1,309' 399 m
Descent: 0' 0 m
High: 10,075' 3,071 m
Low: 8,765' 2,672 m
GradeAvg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 18% (10°)
Current trail conditions
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“Follow an old stagecoach road to the top of Mount Washburn and enjoy a commanding view of the Park.”— Tom Carter
To find the trailhead to the Chittenden Road-Mount Washburn Trail, follow the well-marked Chittenden Road for a half-mile or so south and east of the Grand Loop Road to a large parking area. From there, the easy-to-follow dirt road climbs steadily, but never too steeply, through mostly open meadows to the top of 10,243 foot Mount Washburn.
The mountain was named for Henry D. Washburn, Surveyor-General of the Montana Territory and leader of the 1870 Washburn Expedition through Yellowstone. That year General Washburn climbed this mountain to locate the best route to Yellowstone Lake. "The country before us was a vast basin. Far away in the distance, but plainly seen, was the Yellowstone Lake," wrote Washburn.
The first fire lookout station on the summit of Mount Washburn was constructed in 1921. The current station was built in 1940. In 1979, a small Visitor Center was added. Because of its central location, Mount Washburn affords the best possible overall view of the park. General Sherman of Civil War prominence summed it up well when he stated, "Any man standing on Mount Washburn feels as though the whole world were below him." On a cold day it is even possible to make out the steam from an eruption of Old Faithful!
Thanks to guidebook author, Tom Carter, for sharing this trail description. To learn more about visiting Yellowstone, check out his book, Day Hiking Yellowstone.
Land Manager: National Park Service - Yellowstone National Park