Pelican Valley Trail
ElevationAscent: 319' 97 m
Descent: -206' -63 m
High: 7,939' 2,420 m
Low: 7,803' 2,378 m
GradeAvg Grade: 1% (1°)
Max Grade: 9% (5°)
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“A vast open meadow with the meandering Pelican Creek, frequented by bison.”— Jake Bramante
Family Friendly This meadow trail heads out at an easy grade with lots of opportunity to spot wildlife. Turn around at your own pace.
The trail takes off across a broad, grassy meadow, crossing over a couple of wet areas on a boardwalk before entering a nice, airy lodgepole pine forest. From here, the trail is an assortment of burned and unburned forest with a couple of pocket meadows. The trail comes to a long, narrow meadow and gives you a preview of the valley.
You work your way down the meadow and the impressive meadow opens up before you. You pass by a geothermal feature reminding you that you are in the strange land that is Yellowstone. Pelican Creek lazily snakes below you with a few of it's old channels creating disconnected sloughs. Waterfowl are frequently seen as are bison that dot the landscape. This rich landscape also serves home to raptors, herons, and cranes.
The trail continues along the southwest side of Pelican Creek, passes a junction with the Pelican Creek Trail with a sign and the old dilapidated and unusable bridge. Continue on the Pelican Valley Trail as it works northeast going up and down the gentle undulations that finger from the forested hillside to the east. The trail alternates from being right along the creek, going through marshy grass to up on the hillside looking down.
The trail meets up with the forest to the east as it turns east, then works away from the creek, across meadows to the patrol cabin and trail junctions. Taking the Raven Creek Cutoff Trail and pairing it with the Pelican Creek Trail makes for a splendid loop.
This content was created by Jake Bramante of Hike 734. Visithike734.com for more expert Yellowstone content and maps that help you decide which trail to hike.
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Local Club: Yellowstone Association
Aug 14, 2019: Yellowstone Side Trip: Earthquake Lake Visitor Center
Land Manager: National Park Service - Yellowstone National Park