Tower Fall-Roosevelt Lodge Trail
ElevationAscent: 325' 99 m
Descent: -232' -71 m
High: 6,784' 2,068 m
Low: 6,490' 1,978 m
GradeAvg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 38% (21°)
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“A wonderful, but little used, trail with great views of The Narrows section of the Yellowstone River”— Tom Carter
This trail was built as part of the famous Howard Eaton Trail (HET). Dedicated in 1923, the 157-mile HET was constructed to accommodate saddle-horse parties touring the park after automobiles pushed them off the highway. The NPS built the HET quickly by "joining abandoned old roads, connecting existing game trails and making a trail route through open meadows with guide posts and signs." The trail was named in honor of Howard Eaton, the "Dean" of Yellowstone saddle-horse guides.
The trailhead begins near the Tower Fall Campground office at the rear of the campground. The trail follows Tower Creek .2 miles downstream to a bridged crossing. From there, it climbs steeply up 300 feet in the next 1/2 mile. Just above the switchbacks the trail affords impressive views of The Narrows area of the Yellowstone River, where the river flows through a tight canyon. Far below you, Tower Fall drops 132 feet on its way to join the Yellowstone. The portion of the river that you can see is relatively shallow and was used by Native Americans and early explorers as a fording spot. The historic Bannock Trail crossed the river here. From 1840 to 1878 this 200-mile trail was used by Bannock, Shoshone and Nez Perce Indians to traverse Yellowstone and reach rich buffalo hunting grounds to the east. Today this section of the river is known as the Bannock Ford. Many visitors turn around here after taking in the views.
The trail continues climbing through nice meadows and burned spruce-fir forests and reaches the top of the hill at the .7-mile mark. From there, it travels through rolling country with occasional nice views to the northwest of Pleasant Valley and conical-shaped Hellroaring Mountain. The trail ends at a junction with the Lost Lake Trail. To reach Roosevelt Lodge turn right and continue another .6 miles and down 340 feet to the Roosevelt Corrals.
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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Local Club: Yellowstone Association
Aug 14, 2019: Yellowstone Side Trip: Earthquake Lake Visitor Center
Land Manager: National Park Service - Yellowstone National Park