The Eagle Pass Trail is located entirely within Shoshone National Forrest. At the pass, the trail connects to the Mountain Creek Trail
and enters Yellowstone National Park. The trailhead described here lies just east of Eagle Creek Campground (6 miles east of Yellowstone’s East Entrance), between the campground and the "official" trailhead (used primarily by horse parties and which has no bridge to cross the North Fork). There is a small turnaround here and foot suspension bridge that leads to a number of private cabins (please respect their privacy). To also avoid fording Eagle Creek, it is possible to use the footbridge across the North Fork located in the campground.
Cross the footbridge and take an immediate right turn on a dirt road. Continue .3 miles and ford Eagle Creek. Thereafter, turn left and follow the trail that parallels Eagle Creek. In less than a mile you enter the Washakie Wilderness Area. The trail climbs 350 feet over the first 3 miles and affords nice views of Eagle Creek as it churns its way down. At 3.1 miles the trail makes the first of two crossings of the creek. The second crossing is about a mile up river. It is possible to avoid these two fords by continuing along the west side of the creek.
The trail continues climbing, closely following the creek and at 7 miles crosses good-sized Cabin Creek. At 7.9 miles the trail crosses Eagle Creek for good and a mile later enters beautiful Eagle Creek Meadows. For the next 2.5 miles the trail skirts the southeastern edge of the meadow, affording spectacular views up the meadow to snow-capped Mount Schurz, which marks Yellowstone's eastern boundary. At 10.3 miles the trail veers south, leaves the meadow, and enters the trees. The trail continues along a southern tributary of Eagle Creek, gently climbing until the 13-mile mark. At that point, the trail turns left and steeply climbs 1500 feet in the final 2 miles to the pass.
Eagle Pass may have been used as early as 1837 by fur trapper Osborne Russell to access the Thorofare. High in the rugged Absaroka Mountains at an elevation of almost 9500 feet, views from the pass are superb! Eagle Peak (11,358), Yellowstone’s highest, dominates the skyline to the west. Views to the south down Howell Creek to the Trident are also outstanding. To the east is a shoulder of Pinnacle Mountain. To the north are impressive views of your route to the pass.
The trail ends at the pass and connects to the Mountain Creek Trail
. It’s another 10 miles to the Thorofare Trail
Thanks to guidebook author, Tom Carter, for sharing this trail description. To learn more about visiting Yellowstone, check out his book, Day Hiking Yellowstone
This is grizzly country; take all necessary precautions. Good chances to see elk along much of the trail and to see moose in beautiful Eagle Creek Meadows.