Trail Run Project Logo

Hellroaring Creek Trail

Intermediate/Difficult

Trail

17.4 mile 28.0 kilometer point to point
95% Runnable
Intermediate/Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 2,044' 623 m
Descent: -1,238' -377 m
High: 7,336' 2,236 m
Low: 5,838' 1,780 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 28% (16°)

Dogs

No Dogs
Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by Tom Carter

Drop to a dramatic crossing of the Yellowstone and continue along well-named Hellroaring Creek!

Tom Carter

Features Birding · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Few run the full length of this trail. It leads out of Yellowstone and into the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness. From there, it's many miles to the nearest road. It is possible to make this a 24-mile loop run by leaving the Hellroaring Creek Trail at the 10.9-mile mark and following the Telephone Basin Trail east, then the Coyote Creek Trail south, back to the Hellroaring Creek Trail near where it crosses the Yellowstone River.

Description

The first 7.5 miles of Hellroaring Creek Trail lie in Yellowstone. Thereafter, it enters Custer Gallatin National Forest and continues 10 miles along the creek to its headwaters near Hellroaring Meadows.

The trail begins with a steep 600-foot drop in first 1.1 miles, through Douglas-Fir forests that show the effects of the 1988 fires. It passes Garnet Hill Spur Trail (on right) at .8 miles and soon arrives at a dramatic crossing of the Yellowstone River. Here an impressive steel suspension bridge constructed in 1935 hangs above a small rock gorge. Far below the mighty Yellowstone rushes furiously by.

The trail continues through a stand of large Douglas-firs. The name is hyphenated because it is not a true fir. Its generic name is pseudotsuga, meaning "false hemlock." In Yellowstone they are found only in a narrow elevation band between 6,000 and 7,000 feet. Its most distinctive feature is its female cone, which contains three-pronged, feather-like bracets between its scales. Look around for examples of these unusual seed cones.

The trail leaves the forest, passes a junction with the Buffalo Plateau Trail (at 1.5 miles), and continues across a sagebrush flat. The prominent conical peak that lies ahead is Hellroaring Mountain (8,363'). It's the largest outcropping of granite in Yellowstone. Most of the park's granite has been buried beneath later volcanic debris. Granite is a form of hard volcanic rock that cooled very slowly underground, allowing crystals to form.

At 2 miles a junction with the Hellroaring Stock Cutoff Trail is reached. The Hellroaring Creek Trail continues straight, fords the creek, turns right, and continues north along the creek. To avoid this swift, dangerous ford, most runners follow the cutoff trail 2 miles north and cross on a stock bridge. Both trails afford great views of Hellroaring Creek, named in 1867 by gold prospectors who it was a real "hell roarer," and the name stuck.

Just past the bridge, you rejoin the main trail (at 4 miles) as it continues north. For the next 4.5 miles the trail closely follows Hellroaring Creek as it churns south, earning its name. At 7.5 miles the trail leaves Yellowstone, enters the NFS Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness, and continues another 10 miles along the creek. There it joins with other wilderness trails.

It is possible to make this a loop run by leaving the trail at the 10.9-mile mark and following Telephone Basin Trail to Coyote Creek Trail back to the Yellowstone River.

Thanks to guidebook author, Tom Carter, for sharing this trail description. To learn more about visiting Yellowstone, check out his book, Day Hiking Yellowstone.

Flora & Fauna

Chance to see elk, buffalo, and coyote.

Run this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

Need to Know, Runner Notes

Is something wrong? Let us know. Have photos to share? Help fellow runners know what's here.

Contacts

Rate This Trail

Rate Quality


   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Trail

Check In

Check-Ins

none

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 2 votes

#9

in Tower

#6049

Overall
  4.5 from 2 votes
5 Star
50%
4 Star
50%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#9

in Tower

#154

in Wyoming

#6,049

Overall
16 Views Last Month
1,115 Since Sep 9, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult

0%
0%
33%
67%
0%
0%

Photos

The Hellroaring Creek Trail drops quickly from the trailhead to the Yellowstone River.
Apr 26, 2016 near Tower J…, WY
Yellowstone gorge looking west from the suspension bridge on Hellroaring Creek Trail.
Jan 15, 2016 near Tower J…, WY
Suspension Bridge on the Yellowstone River trail (looking north)
Jan 6, 2019 near Tower J…, WY
Heading down the bluff to 2H3 on Hellroaring Creek.
Jan 15, 2016 near Tower J…, WY

0 Comments

Trail Run Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Running