Bechler Meadows Cutoff Trail
ElevationAscent: 50' 15 m
Descent: -50' -15 m
High: 6,420' 1,957 m
Low: 6,390' 1,948 m
GradeAvg Grade: 1% (0°)
Max Grade: 4% (2°)
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“Cutoff trail crosses Bechler Meadows, affording spectacular views of the meadows and Tetons beyond.”— Tom Carter
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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Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Need to Know, Flora & Fauna
Local Club: Yellowstone Forever
Nov 7, 2019: Meet a Few of Yellowstone’s Lesser-Known Animals
Nov 6, 2019: Naturalist Notes: Western Tiger Salamander
Land Manager: National Park Service - Yellowstone National Park