Heart Lake

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

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5 Reviews
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Heart Lake is a hiking trail in Teton County, Wyoming. It is within Yellowstone National Park. It is 15.2 miles long and begins at 6,976 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 30.5 miles with a total elevation gain of 3,900 feet. Along the trail there are springs.
Distance: mi Elevation: ft
Heart Lake is a hiking trail in Teton County, Wyoming. It is within Yellowstone National Park. It is 15.2 miles long and begins at 6,976 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 30.5 miles with a total elevation gain of 3,900 feet. Along the trail there are springs. This trail connects with the following: 8b1, 8b2, 8h1, 8c6, 8h4, Basin Creek Cutoff, 8h6, Mount Sheridan and 8h5.
Activity Type: Backpacking, Hiking, Trail Running, Walking
Nearby City: Yellowstone National Park
Distance: 15.2
Elevation Gain: 3,900 feet
Trailhead Elevation: 6,976 feet
Top Elevation: 8,144 feet
Driving Directions: Directions to Heart Lake
Parks: Yellowstone National Park
Elevation Min/Max: 6963/8144 ft
Elevation Start/End: 6976/6974 ft
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Hiking Yellowstone National Park

Hiking Yellowstone National Park

A long day hike or moderate overnighter into massive and beautiful Heart Lake and nearby thermal features; also a good base camp option. Heart Lake sort of looks like the big heart of Yellowstone, but it isn’t named for its shape. Instead it’s named for Hart Humey, an old trapper who frequented the area before the park was created.

Through the years, Hart Lake somehow became Heart Lake. Regardless of the name this seems like the heart of the southeastern section of Yellowstone. It’s a uniquely large and beautiful mountain lake in the shadow of stately Mount Sheridan. Anglers love the healthy population of large cutthroat and lake trout.

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Best Hikes along the Continental Divide

Best Hikes along the Continental Divide

A long out-and-back day hike or a moderate backpacking trip with several interesting side trips. Although a strong hiker can easily hike to Heart Lake and back in a day, it would be a shame not to spend more time there. I recommend a three-day trip, staying two nights at the lake and climbing Mount Sheridan on the second day.

If you want to spend four days, use the extra day to hike around the lake. Heart Lake looks like the big heart of Yellowstone, but it was not named for its shape. It is named after Hart Humey, an old trapper who frequented the area before the park was created. Through the years, Hart Lake became Heart Lake.

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Hiking Wyoming

Hiking Wyoming

South of Yellowstone Lake and west of Lewis Lake, in the south-central section of Yellowstone National Park. A long day hike or 2- to 3-day trip to a large and beautiful mountain lake.

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Top Trails Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks

Top Trails Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks

This demanding dayhike or more relaxed overnight trip is popular due to its wide range of attractions, including intriguing geysers and hot springs; the chance to bag a major peak; and inviting, lakefront, hiker-only campsites. It’s also a well-maintained stretch of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail.

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Backpacking Wyoming

Backpacking Wyoming

The wide, sandy, and sometimes dusty trail departs from the northeast corner of the parking area and travels east through a lodgepole pine forest. Most of the trees here are regrowing from a natural reseeding following the 1988 fires and provide very limited shade. Expect to be uncomfortably warm on hot summer days.

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Hiking Yellowstone National Park

Hiking Yellowstone National Park

This is a moderate backpacking route with two rather exciting fords of the Snake River.

From the Trail Creek Trail junction near the patrol cabin, the Heart Lake Trail follows the shoreline for about 2 miles to the southern tip of the lake. Here it climbs a small hill and drops into marshy Sheridan Lake, going through partially burned timber. From here the trail drops into Basin Creek and stays in mostly open terrain as it follows the stream past the Basin Creek Trail junction to Basin Creek Lake. Go straight (south) at the junction. The trail gets faint in a few meadows, but orange markers show the way.

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Best Backpacking Vacations in the Northern Rockies

Best Backpacking Vacations in the Northern Rockies

A popular backpacking trip around a massive mountain lake. This is a superb, moderately difficult backpacking trip especially suited for anglers—and one of the few major backpacking trips in Yellowstone that doesn’t require a bothersome vehicle shuttle. Heart Lake sort of looks like the big heart of Yellowstone, but it isn’t named for its shape. Instead, it’s named after Hart Humey, an old trapper who frequented the area before the park was created.

Through the years, “Hart” Lake became Heart Lake. Regardless of the name, however, this seems like the heart of the southeastern section of Yellowstone. It’s a uniquely large and beautiful mountain lake in the shadow of stately Mount Sheridan. Anglers love the healthy population of large cutthroat and lake trout. Bald eagles and loons love it, too, looking for the same fish, and grizzlies roam the slopes of Mount Sheridan. Heart Lake is a truly monstrous mountain lake. It spans 2,160 acres and gets down to 180 feet deep. It has also become a popular destination for hikers, so don’t plan on having the lake or the trail to yourself. Special attractions: Variety—lakes, fishing (lake and stream), wildlife viewing, mountain climbs, thermal areas—all in one trip.

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Hiking Yellowstone National Park

Hiking Yellowstone National Park

This is a popular backpacking trip around an expansive mountain lake with a variety of backcountry treats—lakes, thermal areas, fishing (lake and stream), wildlife viewing, and mountain climbing—all in one trip.

This is a superb, moderately diffi cult backpacking trip especially suited for anglers—and one of the few long backpacking trips in Yellowstone that doesn’t require an annoying vehicle shuttle. This trail is often closed until at least July 1 because of bear-management concerns, so check on this before heading to the trailhead.

Heart Lake sort of looks like the big heart of Yellowstone, but it isn’t named for its shape. It’s named for Hart Humey, an old trapper who frequented the area before the park was created. Through the years, Hart Lake somehow became Heart Lake. Regardless of the name, this seems like the heart of the southeastern section of Yellowstone.

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Hiking Yellowstone National Park

Hiking Yellowstone National Park

This long, tough backpacking route is best suited for serious hikers through a wealth of wild country you’ll probably have all to yourself.

This trip goes through some of the most remote and infrequently visited parts of Yellowstone and is obviously for well-prepared and self-reliant hikers only. It’s also one of the most difficult sections of the park because the gaps between campsites are greater, which often means 3 to 5 miles more per day than backpackers would normally expect. Because of high water at the fords and bear-management regulations, most campsites don’t open until July.

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Best Hikes along the Continental Divide

Best Hikes along the Continental Divide

This is a long, strenuous loop backpacking trip through the most remote corner of Yellowstone National Park.

This trip goes through some of the most remote and infrequently visited parts of Yellowstone—i.e. for prepared and self-reliant hikers only. To make it more difficult, the campsites are farther apart which means 3 to 5 miles more per day. Also, because of high water at the fords and heavy bear use, most campsites do not open until July. The distance between campsites makes this loop trip most suitable for serious hikers who can cover up to 12–14 miles in a day. Refer to the Heart Lake and Heart Lake Loop hikes for more details, but the first leg of the trip to Heart Lake is an easy hike on a great trail with a nice view of Heart Lake, Factory Hill, and the thermal features of Witch Creek along the last 3 miles.

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Best Hikes along the Continental Divide

Best Hikes along the Continental Divide

This is a moderate loop backpacking trip around Heart Lake, one of the largest mountain lakes along the Continental Divide.

We recommend a five-day trip with two nights on the west shore of Heart Lake (using the extra day to climb Mount Sheridan), the third night at 8B2, 8B5 or 8C5, and the last night at 8J4, 8J6 or 8J1. This is a superb, moderately difficult backpacking trip especially suited for anglers—and one of the few backpacking trips in Yellowstone for which an annoying vehicle shuttle is not required.

The first section (8 miles) is a pleasant, mostly level walk into Heart Lake, as described in the Heart Lake hike. If you have taken the counterclockwise route for the loop around the lake, turn right (south) at the junction just past the patrol cabin and stay at one of the six campsites on the west side of the lake. If you plan on hiking up to the summit of Mount Sheridan (and you will be sorry if you do not), reserve the campsite for two nights.

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Recent Trail Reviews

8/19/2008
0

I hiked this trail with 3 other women the end of July. We took 5 days and spent day two photographing wild flowers and hiking Mt. Sheridan. All of our campsites were beautiful and we had a fantsastic time. We especially enjoyed day 3 south of Heart Lake. The trail guide with campsite reviews was very helpful. I would definately recommend this hike for all the "Yellowstone" features; hot spings, geysers, lakes, valleys, wildlife!


8/4/2008
0

Very cool to see hot springs along the trail. When I arrived at the ranger station, I was told there was a grizzly hanging around the lake. I probaly didn't travel another mile when I ran into the bear along the trail(Oh sh#t). Luckily he ran off and I kept moving and had the bear spray at the ready...Keep a clean camp for your own safety.


8/27/2007
0

I did this trip in 4 days (3 nights). The area was not quite as scenic as I anticipated, probably because of the fire-damaged forests. The South side of Heart Lake is very dry and can get very hot during the day. However, I did see mule deer and moose. I only saw about 6 people the entire trip. Overall, it was a very nice and peaceful trip.


7/24/2007
0

The loop around heart lake is an excellent trail for everyone from the beginning hiker to the advanced. The trail consists of a 34 mile loop around heart lake that also travels south through some heavily forested areas, as well as some burnt areas. This is absolutely grizzly country and hikers should take necessary cautions. The best portion of the trail in my opinion is when you head south of the lake, making many river and stream crossings till you come to a burnt canyon that runs along the snake river and heads back north towards the lake.The trail is very easy to follow and well maintained, however once you start heading south of lake sheridan the trail is a little overgrown but still pretty easy to follow. I would also reccommend to anyone to take a side trip up to the top of mount sheridan where you'll be rewarded by breath taking veiws of the park. The hike up to Mount Sheridan is also quite strenuous so remember to bring plenty of water.


5/15/2003
0

This is a great trip , I took five days and made the loop around the lake. Mt. Sheridan is the highlight of the trip , it can be seen everywhere except on the back side of the lake. Make the climb if you can. It is worth the effort. We saw abundnt wildlife and weather , everything from hail to hot sun and this was the end of July. Bring the appropriate gear and you will be okay. If you explore enough you can find a Bald Eagles nest along the way. We saw no bear but did see moose , deer , buffalo , and elk. Outstanding moderately strenuous backpacking trip.



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