2 - 3
FATMAP difficulty grade
Explore Yellowstone’s rugged northeast corner which is packed with various wildlife, dramatic mountain scenery and untamed wilderness.
Pebble Creek Trail is an 11 mile out-and-back round trip, suited to runners with an adventurous spirit, who don’t mind getting their feet wet (you’ll need your fording shoes, as the trail crosse Pebble Creek 5 times). Directions: To get to the trailhead, starting at the gate at the northeast entrance of Yellowstone National Park near Cooke City, Montana, drive 1.25 miles west on Northeast Entrance Road and turn right into the trailhead parking area on the north side of the road.
If you’re coming from the opposite direction, the trailhead is 27-miles east of Tower Junction (and 8 miles past Pebble Creek Campground).
There is a map at the trailhead and a sign that reads ‘Warm Creek Trailhead 3K4’.
In the first 1.2 miles the trail climbs steeply over the 950-foot shoulder of Barronette Peak up to the top of the ridge, then travelling along a fire line cut in the famous 1988 forest fires.
To this day you’ll see the scars on the land from the fire, as large parts of the forest still remain singed black or completely barren.
The trail then drops down 270 feet, reaching the banks of Pebble Creek where you then run through beautiful meadows surrounded by the towering Absaroka Mountain Range.
You’ll then need to get your fording shoes on, as the trail crosses Pebble Creek, before bending left and continuing downstream, meandering through lush meadows for miles.
Make sure to keep glancing up, as there’s the chance to spot bighorn sheep, elk, and mountain goats roaming the craggy mountain tops.
Just after fording the creek for a second time, the trail enters a forest around the 5-mile mark.
For the rest of the journey the trail switches it up between forest and meadow, continuing south along the creek and crossing it at the 6.6 and 7.5-mile marks before pulling away from the creek.
The trail finishes with a 700 feet drop.
From here you can either turn around and run all the way back you came, or have a friend pick you up from the nearest highway, reachable if you turn left onto the Pebble Creek Connector trail, following it for .2miles.