“A vast open meadow with the meandering Pelican Creek, frequented by bison.”
— Jake Bramante
Birding · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
This meadow trail heads out at an easy grade with lots of opportunity to spot wildlife. Turn around at your own pace.
Area is closed April 1 through July 3. From July 4 through November 10 the area is open to day use only between the hours of 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Trail is popular with bison and bears. Small undulations of the terrain create blind "corners" so care should be taken to be very alert.
Look for the Pelican Valley trailhead sign on the road east of Indian Pond on the East Entrance Road. Follow that road to the end to begin your outing.
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.
Flora & Fauna
Bison are easily seen. Bears frequent the area as well, but are less common than the bison. Spring and early summer have flowers. Waterfowl are common in the creek as are raptors such as bald eagles and Northern Harriers. Great Blue Herons and Sandhill Cranes are also common birds.