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Hayden Valley free

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, United States | Official website
Hayden Valley Photo info
Zack Frank/Shutterstock
  • Type: Hiking, Recreation
  • Time to Spend: Half Day to Full Day
Overall Rating: 4.5 (4.6)
Value: 5.0 (5.0)
Facilities: 0.0 (N/A)
Atmosphere: 4.5 (4.5)
About these ratings

One of the main reasons to visit Yellowstone is to catch a glimpse of the park's fascinating wildlife, and Hayden Valley is one of the best places to do just that. This lush valley several miles north of Yellowstone Lake is a highly visited gathering place for bison, elk, coyotes and the occasional grizzly bear, not to mention numerous bird species. While you can get a good view of the valley from the Grand Loop, you need to get out of the car for the best perspective. Hikers should check out the area's two trails: the Hayden Valley Trail runs parallel to the Yellowstone River from Yellowstone Lake to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, while the Mary Mountain Trail traces the northern edge of the valley. While you're exploring, be sure to check out some of its geothermic features, such as Mud Geyser, Sulphur Spring and Black Dragon Caldron.

Hayden Valley is situated roughly 6 miles north of Fishing Bridge Junction. The closest facilities to Hayden Valley are located roughly 9 miles south at Yellowstone Lake. If you do come across some wildlife while exploring the valley, make sure to keep your distance. Consult our neighborhoods and safety section for more tips. Also be sure to check out the National Park Service's Lake Village, Bridge Bay, & Fishing Bridge Areas page for specific opening and closing dates of facilities, comprehensive maps of points of itnerest, a list of ranger-led programs, nearby facilities and operating hours.

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