Bunsen Peak Trail

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190

Distance4.0mi
Elevation Gain2,989ft
Trailhead Elevation7,273ft
Top8,573ft
Elevation Min/Max7273/8573ft
Elevation Start/End7273/7273ft

Bunsen Peak Trail

Bunsen Peak Trail is a hiking trail in Park County, Wyoming. It is within Yellowstone National Park. It is 4.0 miles long and begins at 7,273 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 8.1 miles with a total elevation gain of 2,989 feet. Near the trailhead there is parking. Bunsen Peak (elevation 8,527 feet) can be seen along the trail. There is also a parking along the trail. This trail connects with the following: Bunson Peak Trail.

Bunsen Peak Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Top Trails Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks (Wilderness Press)
Andrew Dean Nystrom
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"This scenic cardio ascent is a popular early-season altitude acclimatization route. Many folks hike in jeans and tennis shoes, but boots and trekking poles come in handy for the scree slopes, especially if you opt for the full loop or the steep side-trip to Osprey Falls." Read more
Day Hikes in Yellowstone National Park (Day Hike Books)
Robert Stone
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"Dome-shaped Bunsen Peak is the eroded remains of a volcanic cone. From the top of Bunsen Peak are incredible views. You can see Mt. Holmes to the southwest; Cathedral Rock, the Mammoth Terraces and the Absaroka Range to the north; and the Washburn Range to the east. The trail to the peak winds through a burned Douglas fir and lodgepole pine forest from the 1988 fires. A beautiful new-growth forest has carpeted the hillsides." Read more
Hiking Yellowstone National Park (Falcon Guides)
Bill Schneider
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"As far as mountaintops go, this might be the easiest to reach in the park. This trail probably offers the easiest way to get a spectacular mountaintop view of the northwestern corner of the park. However, some people wouldn’t call this an easy hike. You go up 1,300 feet in 2.1 miles (a Category 2 climb). Fortunately the trail is superbly switchbacked to minimize the impact of the elevation gain. In addition, the scenery along the way tends to absorb you, so you don’t focus on the effort it takes to reach the summit of Bunsen Peak, named for the same fellow who invented the Bunsen burner, Robert Bunsen." Read more

Bunsen Peak Trail Reviews

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6/5/2012
Wonderful hike. Loved the open mountain views. Trail was covered in snow near the top so it was a bit of a guess to the peak.
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7/29/2008
This is a great trail, really nice views at the top. We made it an all-day event, descending the other side of the hill, then around to mammoth hot springs. After a lunch at the cafe there, we took snow pass trail back to our car. Loooong day but stunning scenery the entire way.
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10/2/2005
This is an excellent hike with grand views over a large part of Yellowstone. The trail up to the peak is a little strenuous but well worth it.
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7/26/2005
Do this trail in the morning, while it's still cool and there aren't many people. The views from the top are stunning--we could see both Mammoth Hot Springs and the Tetons. The switchbacks make the climb easier, but a walking stick will help--there's lots of rocky areas.
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9/16/2004
I circled around the peak on a flat nondiscript service road. Do not take this trail. I then decided to go down to Osprey Falls. This strenous hike was well worth it. I stood alone with my one-year-old son and gazed at the falls. It was a truly once in a lifetime experience.
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10/20/2003
This is a spectacular dayhiking area, with a number of options available to create a loop. Hiking up the west face, it's 2 miles to the summit, whereas from the east it's 3. My personal recommendation is to start on the old Bunsen Peak road, traveling three level miles to the intersection with the summit trail and the Osprey Falls trail. The walk is through a beautiful meadow with ever-changing scenery, but the sun will likely be in your eyes if you start out in the morning. Osprey Falls is a very worthy side-trip, and will add from 2.8 to 4 miles to your hike (I've seen conflicting reports). The trail swings back to the south along a dramatic bluffline, providing great views into Sheepeater Canyon before beginning the 800-foot descent to the falls. The trail is slippery, and steep in a few spots, but the awesome sight of the Gardner River spilling 150 feet down a gorgeous hidden canyon makes it quite worthwhile. Back on top, there are several nice resting areas along the bluff where you can catch your breath before beginning the long ascent of Bunsen Peak. It's a little difficult to find the trail, which begins directly across from the Osprey Falls trail. Look for cairns and markers, and when all else fails, head uphill until you reach the next identifiable path. Once you've reached the nice 18-inch wide trail, you shouldn't have any more problems. The burned skeletons of trees keep you from having a perfect view, but the scenery is still quite stunning. Once on the top you may notice a metal box with a rock on the lid; if you choose to read or add a note, please use caution. The heavy gusts of wind up here could easily toss the entire contents down into the valley. Going down the west side, each switchback opens up a new and spectacular view, arguably the best scenery on the hike. Going to Osprey Falls, the total elevation change is around 2200' or so in 11 or 12 miles. Skipping the waterfall but looping around on Bunsen Peak Rd, it's closer to 8 miles and 1350'.
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7/23/2003
My wife and I hiked this trail as a beginning point to hike the Osprey Falls trail. It's not too strenuous for most in good shape. The views are great. Plus, we saw some Bighorn sheep. Instead of hiking up to the three peaks then back down the same trail, continue down the other side of the peak on to Osprey Falls. Although the trail isn't marked well, it make for a great loop hike.
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5/21/2001
My husband & I are chemists, so of course we HAD to hike this trail to the top of Bunsen Peak. And we had a blast! Yes, the trail was steep, but the views were breathtaking all the way. And the solitude was nice -- we only encountered 3 other people on the trail. It took us 1.5 hours (at a leisurely pace) to get to the top, and 45 minutes to get down. There were actually 3 connected peaks, and Bunsen Peak was the 3rd one (where the U.S. Geological Survey was located). Since it was only mid-May, near the top there was still a lot of snow covering the trail. In fact, at one point there was such a large area of snow that we decided to slide down on our boots on the way down. That was really fun :) This was our most memorable hike at Yellowstone, and we would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys summit hikes on a beautiful day.
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Bunsen Peak Trail Photos

Trail Information

Yellowstone National Park
Nearby City
Yellowstone National Park
Parks
Yellowstone National Park
Local Contacts
Trails Illustrated Mammoth Hot Springs and USGS Mammoth
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Dec 2018