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Bunsen Peak

Yellowstone National Park

A popular out-and-back route climbing 1,300 feet through meadow and forest to the Bunsen Peak summit.

Trail Running Moderate

6.8 km
398 m
398 m
1-2 hrs
Low Point
2.2 km
High Point
2.6 km
Bunsen Peak Map

This is a popular out-and-back day hike climbing 1,300 feet through meadow and forest to the Bunsen Peak summit. The peak is named after German chemist Robert Bunsen, who famously invented the Bunsen Burner, and also studied geysers in the 1840s. You will pass by the famous Mammoth hot springs, and from the summit, you’ll get sweeping views across the Mammoth area of Yellowstone, as well as the Gallatin and Washburn Mountains in the distance.



Find the trailhead 5 miles south of Mammoth on the Grand Loop Road. The parking lot is across from the Glen Creek trailhead and just south of Golden Gate. The 2-mile trail to the summit instantly starts climbing through sagebrush-covered hilly fields and then into a burnt forest, singed to a crisp in the famous 1988 wildfires.

Climbing steeper and steeper, the trail enters a flat basin of meadowland and trees, before going through a series of switchbacks. Look behind you for spectacular views of Mammoth hot springs, Cathedral Rock, the Hoodoos, Terrace Mountain, and the Golden Gate. After 2 miles of relatively strenuous climbing, you’ll reach the first of Bunsen Peak’s three small summits. You’ll see Mammoth village, Swan Lake Flat, the Mammoth Hot Springs area, and the southern end of the stunning Gallatin Range. From the summit, you can either turn and go back directly the same way you came or extend by following a well-marked trail for another 2 miles, steeply descending over 1300 feet down the peak’s northeastern slope to a junction with the Bunsen Peak Road. From here, you can make a loop by following the Bunsen Peak Road Trail a further 3 miles around to the right and back to the Bunsen Trailhead.

Sources: https://www.nps.gov/thingstodo/yell-trail-bunsen-peak.htm https://www.americansouthwest.net/wyoming/yellowstone/bunsen-peak-trail.html



Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.


1 out of 4

Close to help in case of emergency.

Best time to visit

between March and November

Guidebooks in this area