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Bechler Meadows Cutoff Trail



2.7 mile 4.3 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 50' 15 m
Descent: -50' -15 m
High: 6,420' 1,957 m
Low: 6,390' 1,948 m


Avg Grade: 1% (0°)
Max Grade: 4% (2°)


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Trail shared by Tom Carter

Cutoff trail crosses Bechler Meadows, affording spectacular views of the meadows and Tetons beyond.

Tom Carter

Features River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers

Not recommended before late July because of Bechler Ford and swarms of hungry mosquitos. The sandy-bottomed knee-to-thigh-deep Bechler Ford can be a challenge even into early August.


This 2.7 mile cutoff trail connects the Bechler River Trail with the Boundary Creek Trail. The trail begins just south of Bechler Canyon and it ends at a junction with the Boundary Creek Trail less than 2 miles from Dunanda Falls. From the trailhead, the cutoff trail immediately makes a difficult sandy-bottomed, but knee-to-thigh-deep ford of the Bechler River and heads into big, beautiful Bechler Meadows. At the .7 mile-mark it reaches a junction with the Bechler Meadows Trail, turns right, and continues along the north end of Bechler Meadows. To the south, enjoy spectacular views of the meadows and the Tetons beyond.

Gustavus Bechler, the chief topographer for the 1872 Hayden Survey, drew rudimentary maps of the area. Little attention was paid to this part of the park for the next 50 years. Then, in 1920, Congress considered damming the Falls and Bechler rivers and turning Bechler Meadows into a reservoir. Western water interests, fresh from victories over damming the Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite (1913) and completing Jackson Lake Dam (1916) had high hopes of success. A bill even passed the U.S. Senate. To combat this attack on Yellowstone, National Parks Association member, William Gregg, made extensive explorations of the waterfalls in the southwest corner of the park in effort to publicize the beauty and value of the area. His articles in magazines like the Saturday Evening Post, together with opposition from Yellowstone Superintendent Horace Albright, carried the day and no dam was constructed.

At the 1.5 -mile mark the cutoff trail leaves Bechler Meadows and enters the forest for the last 1.2 miles before ending at a junction with the Boundary Creek Trail. To the left, that trail travels 6.7 miles to the Bechler Ranger Station. To the right, it climbs 1.7 miles to an overlook of Dunanda Falls.

Thanks to guidebook author, Tom Carter, for sharing this trail description. To learn more about visiting Yellowstone, check out his book, Day Hiking Yellowstone.

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Jul 7, 2018
Lori Trail
Moose! Beautiful river and falls 3mi

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in Wyoming


4 Views Last Month
185 Since Sep 8, 2015



Fording the river at the Bechler Meadows end of the trail (southern end). Even in August, the water was thigh-deep here.
Jul 24, 2019 near Yellows…, WY
After the ford.
Apr 4, 2016 near Yellows…, WY


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