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Lovely, one-way, downhill trail along small creeks and open meadows with good wildlife viewing.

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6,855' 2,090 m


5,361' 1,634 m


232' 71 m


1,595' 486 m



Avg Grade (3°)


Max Grade (14°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

One of the earliest trails in the park to become clear of snow, because of its relatively low elevation.


This one-way, mostly downhill trail begins at on the Blacktail Deer Creek Trail, 0.7 miles from the highway and ends on the Mammoth to North Entrance road, about a 1/2 mile from the North Gate.

The trail veers left from the Blacktail Deer Creek Trail and travels through open sagebrush meadows. Watch for buffalo in the meadows. At 0.9 miles, the trail drops slightly and crosses tiny Rescue Creek. The creek was named as a result of an incident on the 1870 Washburn Expedition. Truman Everts, an elderly member of the expedition, became separated from the group south of Yellowstone Lake. He lost his glasses, lost his horse, and spent the next 37 days starving and freezing and hallucinating as he made his way through the untracked wilderness.

Upon his rescue, he was within but a few hours of death. Everts was found near the "Cut" on the Blacktail Plateau Drive, about 10 miles southeast of here. Later map makers mistakenly believed he was found on this creek and named it “Rescue” Creek. The trail continues along Rescue Creek, following it upstream for the next mile. At 2 miles backcountry campsite 1A2 is passed and the trail veers right and leaves the creek.

At the 2.7-mile mark, the trail crosses an imaginary line that marks the boundary between Wyoming and Montana. At the 3.2-mile mark, you reach the highpoint of the trail and it begins a 4.4-mile, 1500-foot drop. This highpoint also marks the 45th parallel of latitude, an imaginary line that circles the globe halfway between the Equator and the North Pole. This line passes through Minneapolis-St. Paul, Ottawa, Venice, and the northern tip of Japan. Contrary to popular belief, the majority of the Montana/Wyoming state line does not follow the 45th parallel through the park.

The trail begins losing elevation and soon picks up Turkey Pen Creek and follows it beneath two prominent hills – first Turkey Pen Peek, then Rattlesnake Butte. A shabby, rough-hewn cabin that looked “like a turkey pen” was built here in 1867 by the first white settler in what later became Yellowstone National Park. Truman Everts was brought to the cabin following his rescue.

At 6 miles the trail levels, leaves the creek, and begins a big bend to the left across open sagebrush meadows. This open country is excellent pronghorn antelope habitat. At 7.5 miles the trail drops to a bridged crossing of the Gardner River just before ending at the highway.

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

The trail is excellent for viewing buffalo, elk, and antelope.


Shared By:

Tom Carter

Trail Ratings

  3.9 from 7 votes


in Tower


  3.9 from 7 votes
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Trail Rankings


in Tower


in Wyoming


3 Views Last Month
2,468 Since Feb 1, 2016



Looking west just south of Rattlesnake Butte at sunset.
Apr 24, 2016 near Gardiner, MT
The trail winds through fields of wildflowers in late July.
May 29, 2022 near Mammoth…, WY
There are two tracks as you descend toward the road. In the spring, you may encounter, rain, snow, or sunshine, so be ready for any weather conditions.
May 29, 2022 near Gardiner, MT
The trail descends steeply toward the fields outside Gardiner and the Yellowstone River.
May 29, 2022 near Gardiner, MT
A bridge crosses the Gardiner River, and then its just a short walk to the parking area. This is a great hike in the early spring since its clear of snow, so all you have to contend with is mud in places.
May 29, 2022 near Gardiner, MT
The vegetation can get tall in various sections of the trail.  Compared to other trails in Yellowstone, its easy, but make sure you have maps to make sure you stay on the right trail.
May 29, 2022 near Mammoth…, WY



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