Harriman State Park Hiking Trails

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Harriman State Park Hiking

Less than an hour from West Yellowstone, Harriman State Park is an idyllic spot to spend a day hiking and wildlife viewing. Read More

  • River Trail is an easy 2.5 mile trail that follows the Henry’s Fork from the Visitor Center. 
  • The 9.5 mile trip on the Golden Lake Loop is a complete tour of the northern end of Harriman State Park. 
  • The challenging 8-mile-long Ridge Trail leads to the Ridge Overlook, where the view will make all the effort worth it. 

The 11,000 acres of Harriman State Park and wildlife refuge are home to a plethora of species from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, including moose, elk, Sandhill Cranes and Trumpeter Swans. The eight miles of the Henry’s Fork that slowly flows through Harriman State Park also features some of the best fly fishing in the West. Twenty-plus miles of hiking trails provide access to this beautiful area and are perfect for wildlife viewing.

When hiking in Harriman State Park, remember that trails are multi-use (hiking, biking and equestrian use) and that hikers are asked to yield to equestrians. Pets are not allowed on trails.

All trails except the East Gate Trail begin at the Visitor Center.

To get to Harriman State Park from West Yellowstone, drive 45 minutes down US-20 West approximately 37 miles).

River Trail

An easy one-mile trail that follows the Henry’s Fork River down to the ranch. Excellent fishing access views of the Tetons. From the end of the trail, you can turn around and return to the Visitor Center, continue on to further trails or loop back to the Visitor Center on the first half of the Ranch Loop. 

  • Distance: 2.5 miles (round-trip) 
  • Time: .5-1 hour 
  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Type: Out-and-back

Ranch Loop

A great short walk that combines quality wildlife viewing with some interesting history, this loop leads hikers through the historical Railroad Ranch and along the shores of Silver Lake. Ranch Loop can be connected with other Harriman trails for longer hikes. 

  • Distance: 3.5 miles (round-trip) 
  • Time: 1-1.5 hours 
  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Type: Loop

Silver Lake Trail

One of the better trails for bird viewing, the Silver Lake Trail follows the western shore of Silver Lake, climbing up and down rolling hills. As a variation on the out-and-back, it is possible to connect Silver Lake Trail with the Ranch Loop via Thurmon Creek Loop, making a complete loop around Silver Lake. 

  • Distance: 5.5 miles (round-trip) 
  • Time: 2-2.5 hours 
  • Difficulty: Moderate 
  • Type: Out-and-back

Golden Lake Loop

At the northern end of Harriman State Park, the Golden Lake Loop wanders through meadows blanketed with wildflowers. Trumpeter swans are often sighted at Golden Lake. 

  • Distance: 9.5 miles 
  • Time: 3-4 hours 
  • Difficulty: Moderate 
  • Type: Lollipop (out-and-back with a loop at the far end)

Meadow Loop

With spring wildflowers showing their best, nesting Sandhill Cranes and grazing elk herds, the Meadow Loop Trail is a sure-fire pleaser. 

  • Distance: 8 miles
  • Time: 3 hours 
  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Type: Lollipop (out-and-back with a loop at the far end)

Ridge Trail

Make the climb through forests up to the Ridge Overlook and you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the Tetons and Harriman State Park. The (steeper) Ridge Shortcut makes its way to the same vista after climbing through classic aspen stands. 

  • Distance: 8 miles (taking Ranch Loop up and Silver Lake Loop back) 
  • Time: 4-5 hours 
  • Difficulty: Difficult 
  • Type: Loop

Thurmon Creek Loop

An ideal spot for finding elk in the fall, Thurmon Creek Loop is found at the north end of Silver Lake, between the Silver Lake and Ridge Trails. Thurmon Creek Trail can be accessed by Silver Lake Trail or the Ranch Loop. 

  • Distance: 2.8 miles 
  • Time: 1 hour 
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Type: Loop

Big Bend Loop

This long trail follows the Henry’s Fork as it makes its way through Harriman State Park. Bald Eagles are often spotted here. The Big Bend Loop Trail is accessed from the East Gate Trail or the River Trail. 

  • Distance: 4.4 miles 
  • Time: 2-3 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy   
  • Type: Loop

East Gate Trail

The only trail that doesn’t start at the Visitor Center, the East Gate Trail leads to Big Bend Loop from the Bing Lempke Parking area on Highway 20. 

  • Distance: 2.5 miles
  • Time: 1-2 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy   
  • Type: Out-and-back