Rescue Creek Trail
ElevationAscent: 232' 71 m
Descent: -1,595' -486 m
High: 6,855' 2,090 m
Low: 5,361' 1,634 m
GradeAvg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 26% (14°)
Current trail conditions
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“Lovely, one-way, downhill trail along small creeks and open meadows with good wildlife viewing.”— Tom Carter
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.
Land Manager: National Park Service - Yellowstone National Park