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Beaver Ponds Loop

Yellowstone National Park

A nice 5-mile loop around beaver-inhabited ponds.

Hiking Easy

9.1 km
269 m
270 m
2-3 hrs
Low Point
1.9 km
High Point
2.1 km
Beaver Ponds Loop Map

Choose this hike for scenic views and high chances of spotting various wildlife. You could come across: elk, waterfowl, bison, mule deer, moose, grizzly and black bears, and of course, beavers. The walk is relatively flat, and very easy going, so young kids will enjoy it!



The loop begins and ends in Mammoth Hot Springs. From the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel parking lot, head for the southern Beaver Ponds trailhead sign by Hyman Terrace thermal feature. The trail takes you up the eastern foothills of Sepulcher Mountain, affording you with fantastic views over the canyon of Gardner River and across to Mount Everts.

The trail then follows the babbling Clematis Creek across a meadow and into a narrow, wooded ravine before climbing up the north side of the valley. When the path levels out you’ll find yourself at a junction with a trail to Snow Pass. Turn right, continuing along the Beaver Ponds Trail. You will cross another meadow, which comes alive with wildflowers in summertime. After the meadow, you will be taken through a patch of forest, before the path breaks out into grassland. There is then a short, gentle descent down to Beaver Ponds, which mark the 2.2-mile point of the trail.

Circle around the 4 ponds, looking out for beavers and their dams, water birds and muskrats. The trail crosses the last pond’s exist channel on a wooden footbridge, climbs the hillside on the other side, and passes through the fir tree forest before reaching Elk Plaza, the expansive grassland which sits 1,200 feet above Gardner Canyon. Follow the path across the grassland for about a mile. The path then turns into a disused track- Gardiner High Road- which eventually brings you back to the parking lot behind Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel.


https://www.nps.gov/thingstodo/yell-trail-beaver-ponds.htm https://www.hikingproject.com/trail/7008561/beaver-ponds-loop https://www.americansouthwest.net/wyoming/yellowstone/beaver-ponds-trail.html



Walking along a well-kept trail that’s mostly flat. No obstacles are present.

Low Exposure

1 out of 4

The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.


1 out of 4

Close to help in case of emergency.

Best time to visit

between March and November


  • Wildlife
  • Picturesque
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features
  • Family friendly

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area