This pleasant 1.7-mile trail is seldom traveled because of the difficult Slough Creek
ford at the very beginning of the trail. The 50-foot wide ford can be treacherous early in the summer and is not recommended before mid-July. The ford however is easier than the Buffalo Creek Trail crossing of Slough Creek
in the First Meadow (which is calm but deep). If taking the Buffalo Creek Trail is your objective, starting it here on the Soldiers Trail may be the better option.
After fording Slough Creek
, the Soldiers Trail continues to the right following Slough Creek
upriver. At the .6-mile mark the trail veers away from the creek and begins a gradual 370-foot climb, the top of which is reached at the 1.4-mile mark. Unlike most of Yellowstone which is covered by volcanic lava flows and other volcanic debris, the exposed rock in this area is mostly granite, some uncovered by and others brought in by glaciers. The same glaciers that carved the broad Slough Creek valley. The trees in the area are mostly Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir, intermixed with the lodgepole pine (two-needled) and a few big Douglas firs.
At the 1.6-mile mark, the trail drops a bit and enters Slough Creek
’s First Meadow from the west. The trail ends where the Buffalo Creek Trail rises up from the meadow on the right and joins the Soldiers Trail.
Thanks to guidebook author, Tom Carter, for sharing this trail description. To learn more about visiting Yellowstone, check out his book, Day Hiking Yellowstone