Mount Washburn / Dunraven Pass Area
Includes Mount Washburn Lookout, Dunraven Pass
Mount Washburn in Yellowstone National Park.
Mount Washburn / Dunraven Area
The Mount Washburn Lookout rests on the summit of Mount Washburn
Mount Washburn Area
Grizzly bears are often seen on the slopes of Mount Washburn during the spring and early summer.
Aside from the magnificent views, the Washburn Area in Yellowstone National Park is also a popular place for grizzly bears. Grizzlies love the Washburn Area, and you have a fairly good chance of seeing one of these giants from the road, especially in the spring when they leave their dens that are tucked along the slopes of Mount Washburn. When driving between Tower Fall and Dunraven Pass, look out onto the slopes for grizzly bears, especially in the spring and early summer. If you see a bunch of people looking at something, STOP and find out what they're looking at- it could be a grizzly.
Wildflowers on Mount Washburn
Mount Washburn Hiking Trail
If you are willing and able, the Mount Washburn Trail is well worth the effort, because it takes you to the summit of Mount Washburn! There are actually two trails to choose from, one from the north called Chittenden Road, and the other is from the south that begins on Dunraven Pass. The distance to the summit from either trail is about 2 and a half miles, and the trails are very well maintained. From the trail heads, the total vertical elevation gained is approximately 1,500 feet in only 2 and a half miles, so it's definitely a good work-out!
Distance: 2.5 miles (one way)
Elevation Gain: 1,500 vertical feet
Elevation Loss: 10,243 feet
Which trail do we recommend? It's impossible for us to say. Both are beautiful, and both offer their own unique views. We tend to see more bighorns on the Chittenden Road Trail, but the Dunraven Trail also offers it's own share of wildlife and views. We've seen more grizzly bears from the Dunraven Trail. Another thing worth mentioning is that the Chittenden "trail" is actually a road so it seems big and wide, whereas the Dunraven trail is a true trail. But really, we've tried to pick our favorite between the two, and we simply can't.
Whichever trail you chose, it will take you to the top of Mount Washburn. Once you reach the summit, you'll see a fire lookout tower. Go ahead and walk up to the observation deck. The view from this deck is glorious! You can see the entire park and beyond from up there. In fact, on a clear day you can easily see the peaks of Grand Teton National Park!
Grizzly cubs nursing on the west slope of Mount Washburn.
Recommendations for Hiking the Mount Washburn Trail:
Male grouse trying to impress the ladies.
Grizzly sow and two cubs crossing the road near Dunraven Pass.