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Cascade Lake Trail



2.2 mile 3.6 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 99' 30 m
Descent: -115' -35 m
High: 8,031' 2,448 m
Low: 7,949' 2,423 m


Avg Grade: 2% (1°)
Max Grade: 9% (5°)


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Trail shared by Tom Carter

Lake-fisherman’s paradise - pass by pretty meadows to Cascade Lake to angle for cutthroat & grayling

Tom Carter

Features Lake · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly Depending on backcountry experience and fitness, this could be a great trail for the family to spot wildlife and take some casts at Cascade Lake.

This is in prime grizzly habitat, so check for closures or restrictions before you begin. Buffalo also frequent the area. Keep your distance - the NPS recommends staying at least 25 yards away from buffalo and 100 away from bears. Mosquitos are scary-bad here too, usually until August.


This short trail begins near the Cascade Lake Picnic Area, north of Canyon Village, and ends on the north shore of lovely Cascade Lake. From there, visitors can fish, climb Observation Peak for great views of the surrounding area, or continue on the Howard Eaton Trail to Grebe and Wolf lakes.

This is the shortest and best route to Cascade Lake. The first .3 miles the trail travels through dense lodgepole forests then drops to cross a small meadow. It then bends left and enters an area heavily burned by the 1988 fires. Soon you break out into a large beautiful meadow and travel along its north side, next to the treeline, for more than a 1/2 mile.

At the 1.3-mile mark the trail passes a junction with the Cascade Creek Trail (on the left). Turn right and continue through the fire-burned forests another .4 miles and enter a second large meadow. The trail continues across the meadow and ends on the north side of Cascade Lake at a junction with the Howard Eaton Trail and the Observation Peak Trail. Nearby is campsite 4E4.

Nice-sized Cascade Lake has a surface area of 36 acres and a maximum depth of 36 feet. Fishing is good for native Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout and Arctic Grayling planted here from a fish hatchery at Grebe Lake (2 miles further west). These two lakes are some of the only ones in Yellowstone that sport populations of highly sought-after, large dorsal-finned grayling.

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

Flora & Fauna

Good opportunities to view buffalo, moose (near the lake), and wildflowers (in the meadows).

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Sep 18, 2018
Anastasija Petrosova
Aug 6, 2018
Emily Jones
Jul 3, 2018
Kris Soller
Aug 2, 2017
Brian Young
Aug 31, 2016
David Yake
Aug 19, 2016
Sean Fulton
nice little beginner backcountry hike. my lady and I took my sister and her husband backpacking here for their first time out. We continued through...
Jul 19, 2016
Megan Bonsell
Jun 22, 2016
Roger Zutterling

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