Polychrome Overlook is named for the many vibrantly colored volcanic rocks of Polychrome Pass. The surrounding area is equally stunning with multi-colored flora, shining streams, craggy mountains, and distant glaciers and snow fields adding to the majestic vista. Visitors may be able to spot moose, caribou, or bears from this high viewpoint as the animals traverse the landscape below.
For those who would like to explore the area further, there are great opportunities for off-trail excursions from this overlook as well. Several small glaciers that are tucked into steep-sided valleys of the nearby mountains produce streams that flow to the north across a broad, open plain and eventually join the East Fork River. The wide, clear gravel river bars are surrounded by open tundra, hillsides, and small drainages filled with willows, and provide for relatively easy hiking for visitors wanting to see the multi-colored tundra up close.
Hikers can hike as far in as they would like - an overnight trip to the glaciers is an option for the adventurous visitor. This is a good option for people new to off-trail backpacking and for children if they can make more than 5 miles a day. Be sure your tent is out of sight of Park Road and is firmly fastened to the ground as the winds can be strong.
On the Road: The overlook is located just off of Park Road, and can be accessed from one of the park's shuttles.
Family Friendly: The trip to Polychrome Overlook can be as short or long as the kids can handle. Whether a quick stop off from the bus or an afternoon of off-trail exploring in the area, there is plenty to see.
Gem Type: Viewpoint