Pelican Cone Trail
ElevationAscent: 1,752' 534 m
Descent: -35' -11 m
High: 9,639' 2,938 m
Low: 7,923' 2,415 m
GradeAvg Grade: 8% (5°)
Max Grade: 28% (16°)
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“A trail with views, wildflowers in season and the chance to spot wildlife.”— Margo Roseum
Soon, the trail will leave the stream and head up the hill into the woods. The climb from here is steady. Be mindful of fallen logs across the trail. The first mile will rise almost 500 feet, giving you glimpses of the valley below behind you. The trail maintains a steady but gradual climb from here. The trail will weave between new growth and old growth forests, providing opportunities for shade at certain points along the way.
The trail increases steepness at 2.5 miles in. Just past 3 miles, you'll enter into a fresh burn. You'll lose shade at this point so be prepared. The trail becomes less obvious and maintained-watch your footing. Keep your eyes peeled for petrified wood shards along the way, but please remember that it is illegal to remove any rocks from the national park. You'll wrap around the backside of the mountain providing views of the Pelican Creek Trail from above, as well as Mount Washburn and Hayden Valley in the distance. Before ascending the final climb, you'll be able to see the Beartooths and a fantastic view to the north. At the top, you'll see the fire lookout and incredible 360-degree views of the mountains around. On a clear day, you can see the Tetons in the distance.
Watch for afternoon thunderstorms that can change direction quickly. Mountain peaks are not a safe place to be during a thunderstorm.
This trail is fantastic for wildflowers throughout July and early August. It provides great opportunities to see bison, elk, deer, grizzly bear and black bear. Keep your eyes peeled for signs of animals including tracks, scat, and rubbed/scratched trees.
This is a long hike and the hours to be in Pelican Valley are 9am-7pm. This will be difficult to complete in one day without a fast pace and prepared group. There are not campsites in Pelican Valley so this must be done as a day hike. The Pelican Valley Trail is extremely rutted and easy to lose due to animal trails and maintained trails. It is not recommended to do this trail without a location app like the Hiking Project mobile app or a GPS. You'll also have 5 stream crossings in order to start this trail. Plan accordingly with timing.
Review by: OF rangers Margo, Karl, Gloria, and Meg.
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Land Manager: National Park Service - Yellowstone National Park