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Shoshone Lake and Geyser Basin

Yellowstone National Park

Taking you off the beaten track to one of the most impressive backcountry geyser basins in Yellowstone.

Trail Running Moderate

31 km
420 m
523 m
4-5 hrs
Low Point
2.3 km
High Point
2.5 km
Shoshone Lake and Geyser Basin Map

Shoshone Lake is not only the largest backcountry lake in Yellowstone, at more than 8000 acres, but it's also the largest lake in the lower 48 states not reachable by road. This trail brings you right around Shoshone Lake, plus past many other Yellowstone gems.



Start at the DeLacy Creek Trail located on the Old Faithful to West Thumb road, at the point it crosses DeLacy Creek. The trail drops 150 feet over 3 miles, taking you to the inlet of Shoshone Lake. You’ll quickly leave the forest and enter the lush DeLacy Meadows. Following the eastern side of the meadows for three miles, you then come to the lake and a junction where you need to go right onto the North Shore Shoshone Lake Trail. You’ll be taken around the north end of the lake, and then into the forest. For 5.8 miles the trail continues through the forest, eventually coming to a junction with the Shoshone Lake Trail on the left, which you need to jump on. After a short while you’ll come to the magnificent Shoshone Geyser Basin, which is packed with many large erupting geysers and colourful hot springs. Head back the way you came on the Shoshone Lake Trail, following it along Shoshone Creek and into a meadow, climbing away from the geyser basin for 200 feet, until you reach Grant’s Pass on the Continental Divide. For the next mile or so you’ll descend through a forest, approaching a meadow with a bridged crossing over Firehole River, and reaching a junction, taking the right on the Lone Star Geyser Trail. You’ll shortly reach this fantastically huge geyser, which erupts every 3 hours to a height of 45 feet! The trail takes you passed the geyser, along Firehole River and through a partially burnt forest, ending at the Lone Star Geyser Trail, just south of Kepler Cascades on the Old faithful to West Thumb Road. Note that the end point is different to the start so either run all the way back or plan a pickup! Tips:

For several reasons, it's advised to do this route in late summer. Firstly, part of the trail crosses Grants Pass, which isn't normally cleared of snow until late June. Shoshone lake is often frozen until early June, and the surrounding backcountry campsites can flood in July. If you do tackle this trail in early summer, you're likely to have to ford several streams that can be up to waist height, so carry appropriate footwear.




2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

between July and September