Yellowstone’s Northern Beauty: The North Loop Experience

Yellowstone National Park is a natural wonderland, and the northern loop can take you on a journey like no other. Packed with scenic areas, hiking trails, and wildlife, the 142-mile northern loop reveals the grandeur of the Yellowstone wilderness.

yellowstone's north loop

If you are looking for a unique adventure, there are some important things you need to know first.


The northern loop is in the northern part of Yellowstone National Park, extending through the Lamar Valley, Mammoth Hot Springs, Tower-Roosevelt, and Dunraven Pass. The loop is accessible from the park’s northeast entrance at Gardiner, Montana, and the park’s east entrance at Cooke City, Montana.

What to do at the Northern Loop in Yosemite

The northern loop in Yosemite is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, wildlife watchers, and history buffs. The loop offers a unique blend of stunning scenery and endless activities that will leave every visitor in awe. Here are some top things to do on your Yellowstone northern loop adventure:

Wildlife you can find there

The northern loop is home to bison, elk, wolves, bears, and other wildlife. You can spot these animals in their natural habitat from the comfort of your car or while hiking one of the many trails in the area.

Visit Mammoth Hot Springs

The terrace-like formations of Mammoth Hot Springs are an awe-inspiring sight. The hot springs create crystal pools, terraced formations, and other unique shapes over time. Stroll on the boardwalks and enjoy panoramic views of the hot springs.

north loop yellowstone

Hiking trails

There are many hiking trails in the northern loop for all abilities. The Mount Washburn Trail is a scenic five-mile round trip hike that offers stunning panoramic views of the park. The Lamar River Trail is a 10-mile round trip hike that provides an opportunity to spot wildlife such as grizzly bears, wolves, and bighorn sheep.

Lamar valley

The Lamar Valley is regarded as one of the best places to watch wildlife in the park. The vast landscape, dotted with bison herds, is an awe-inspiring sight. Grab your binoculars and camera and enjoy the show.

Interesting facts about the Yellowstone Northern Loop

The Yellowstone Northern Loop boasts an impressive geological history, having formed from volcanic eruptions over 600,000 years ago. This loop has the highest concentration of geysers in the world, including the iconic Steamboat Geyser—the world’s tallest active geyser. Moreover, the area is home to the famed Yellowstone Caldera, one of the largest volcanic systems on the planet, often referred to as a ‘super volcano’. Wildlife in the area is notably diverse, too, with the Lamar Valley frequently dubbed as the “Serengeti of North America” due to its high animal population. Lastly, the historical significance of the loop is noteworthy as well, featuring the Tower Fall, which was a central subject in the paintings of Thomas Moran, an artist paramount in promoting the inception of Yellowstone as a National Park.

Frequent questions about the Yosemite North Loop

How long does it take to complete the northern loop?

Completing the Northern Loop in Yellowstone National Park largely depends on the activities you plan to undertake along the way. For a leisurely drive with occasional stops for sightseeing, it could take approximately 4 to 7 hours. However, if you plan to explore the hiking trails, watch wildlife, or stop at major attractions like Mammoth Hot Springs, Tower Fall, or the Lamar Valley, it may take a full day or even multiple days. Remember, the goal is not to rush, but to immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty and awe-inspiring experiences that Yellowstone offers.

What is the best time to visit the northern loop?

The best time to visit the northern loop of Yellowstone National Park is during the late spring and summer months, from May to September. During this period, the park’s weather is generally warm and pleasant, making it ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking and wildlife viewing. Moreover, the park’s roads and facilities are fully open and operational. However, it’s worth noting that this is also the peak tourist season, so there might be larger crowds. For those who prefer a quieter experience, the early fall, particularly September, can be a great choice, offering beautiful autumn colors and a slightly cooler climate. Winter visits are also possible for the adventurous, as the park transforms into a snowy wonderland, but access is limited due to road closures, and the weather conditions can be challenging.

yellowstone north loop


The Yellowstone northern loop is a natural wonder that combines breathtaking scenery, wildlife, and history. Whether you are a seasoned hiker or a first-time visitor, the northern loop will offer you unforgettable experiences. From hot springs to wildlife watching and hiking trails, there are endless activities to keep you entertained. Plan ahead, bring your camera, and enjoy the adventure of a lifetime on the Yellowstone northern loop!

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