Our Favorite Things
Having filmed in Yellowstone for over 30 years, Jeff and Karen Hogan know how to get off the beaten path and which of those paths are too spectacular to be missed. This guide focuses on our favorite activities one hour's drive or less from Lamar Valley Cabins.
Photo Credit: Clyde Vermillion
Location: 10 miles west of Lamar Valley Cabins
Trail: .3 miles to the lake: Suitable for children
This lake is so unique we had to give it its own shout-out. You should plan to spend at least two hours in and around Trout Lake.
Look for a small parking area on the right three miles past the Soda Butte Trailhead. Even though it's a short walk to the lake, you will feel like you are miles away from everything. Once you arrive at the Lake, follow the path east to where the creek feeds into the lake. Mid June to late July the cutthroat and rainbow trout spawn and enter into a mating frenzy. For a comic look at this event, check out Jeff's Yellowstone Wild film for National Geographic in the video library at the cabin.
If you enjoy fishing, bring the rod! Trout Lake is a hotspot for good-sized rainbow or cutthroat trout.
Hiking in Lamar Valley and Tower/Junction Area
Many hikes in Yellowstone are between Lamar Valley Cabins and Roosevelt Lodge. The linked guide below will give you a summary of what to expect. Still, our favorite hikes in the area include Slough Creek Trail for its stunning meadows, Specimen Ridge Trail for views of Yellowstone River, and Lost Lake Trail beginning at Petrified Rock and ending on the giant rocking chairs at Roosevelt Lodge with a cold beverage.
Horseback Riding in the Beartooths at Skyline Ranch
Location: 6.4 miles east of Lamar Valley Cabin along the Beartooth Highway
Turn left at the handpainted sign mounted on an old wagon on the left side of the road that reads "Horse Rides"
Not your typical nose-to-tail ride; even those I've had to prod to join have been amazed at the experience. You'll cross the beautiful Clarks Fork river, meander through meadows, and navigate scenery so spectacular it's hard to keep your hands off the camera and on the reigns.
Skyline Ranch has strong, gentle horses fit for riders of all ages and abilities. Click here to reserve your ride: Skyline Guest Ranch
Artist Point, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
Location: 51 miles into Yellowstone from Lamar Valley Cabin
To Get There: From Tower Junction, turn over Dunraven Pass to Canyon Junction, where Norris Canyon Road and Grand Loop Road meet. Stop at the Canyon visitor center to check out Jeff's film Yellowstone: Land to Life, made for the education center. Then, drive 2.2 miles south and turn left onto South Rim Drive. Proceed another 1.6 miles to the parking area at the end of the road.
Yeah, it really looks like that. This is one of those Yellowstone not-to-be-missed iconic views. Yes, it's busy. Yes, do it anyway.
Artist Paint Pots
Location: 62 miles from Lamar Valley Cabin
Hike: 1/3 mile loop
Want to hypnotize a child? Guide them through a maze of glippity gloppity splattering mud. Mud comes to life in this hike, and the addition of brightly colored geothermal features makes for the stuff of dreams. May or June is best, when the higher moisture content makes things really splattery.
This hike appeals to all the senses: the sound of the mud is both funny and soothing, the sulfuric smell of the geothermal features makes for great jokes, and the steamy, colorful fumeroles are so beautifully out of place. You'll have to drag the kids away from this one.
Snowshoe from the Cabin
Experiencing Yellowstone wrapped in a blanket of snow is beyond breathtaking. One of my favorite things things to do on a sunny winter day is grab a pair of snowshoes and walk out of the back door into the forest. Let curiosity be your guide as you wander about the pine trees and frozen creeks. Follow your tracks back to the cabin for a warm drink next to the fire.
Steep and Deep
Want to get up there? Beartooth Powder Guides are the folks to take you. From low-angle tree skiing to deeper bowls and couloirs, the options are limitless for exploring stashes in the area. If you are new to backcountry skiing, or an experienced skiier looking to explore some of the numerous high-alpine options, these folks will take you there safely. Want to stay down low? Their guides can take you on a cross-country ski tour visiting some of the area's frozen waterfalls.
Wolf Watching in the Lamar Valley
Lamar Valley is the wolf-watching capitol of the world. There are around 80 wolves within Yellowstone's 2.2 million acres, and the best time to view them is in the winter when a blanket of snow makes them easier to spot. A scope is an important tool as the wolves can be far from the road. Watch furry pups tangle in play or perhaps have a front row seat to a wolf hunt. To learn more about how to spot wolves, click here. Put on your warmest down jacket, bring your thermos, and prepare for memories of a lifetime. To warm up, pair this day with our next entry, a dip in the Boiling River.
The Boiling River is created where a large hot spring enters the Gardiner River, and hot and cold waters mix to form perfect bathtub temperatures.You'll find this spot about 2 miles north of Mammoth, just south of the 45th Parallel Bridge. Look for a parking area on the east side of the raod, and then walk upstream about 1/2 mile to where the trail meets the river. Hop in and soak up the natural beauties of Yellowstone. Bathing suits required.