Heart Lake

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190

Distance18.7mi
Elevation Gain4,656ft
Trailhead Elevation7,786ft
Top8,144ft
Elevation Min/Max6963/8144ft
Elevation Start/End7786/7786ft

Heart Lake

Heart Lake is a hiking trail in Teton County, Wyoming. It is within Yellowstone National Park. It is 18.7 miles long and begins at 7,786 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 37.5 miles with a total elevation gain of 4,656 feet. The Heart Lake Trailhead parking is near the trailhead. There are also restrooms. Along the trail there are springs. This trail connects with the following: 8b1, 8b2, 8h1, 8c6, 8h4, South Boundary-Harebell, Basin Creek Cutoff, 8h6, Mount Sheridan, 8h5 and Trail Creek.

Heart Lake Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Hiking Yellowstone National Park (Falcon Guides)
Bill Schneider
View more trails from this guide book
"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." Read more
Top Trails Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks (Wilderness Press)
Andrew Dean Nystrom
View more trails from this guide book
"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." Read more
"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." Read more
Hiking Yellowstone National Park (Falcon Guides)
Bill Schneider
View more trails from this guide book
"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." Read more
Hiking Yellowstone National Park (Falcon Guides)
Bill Schneider
View more trails from this guide book
"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." Read more
Hiking Yellowstone National Park (Falcon Guides)
Bill Schneider
View more trails from this guide book
"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." Read more

Heart Lake Reviews

4
4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
icon5 Total
5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
8/19/2008
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!
0
Comments
4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
8/4/2008
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.
0
Comments
3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars
8/27/2007
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.
0
Comments
5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
7/24/2007
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.
0
Comments
4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
5/15/2003
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.
0
Comments

Heart Lake Photos

Trail Information

Yellowstone National Park
Nearby City
Yellowstone National Park
Parks
Yellowstone National Park
Local Contacts
Trails Illustrated Yellowstone Lake; USGS Mount Sheridan, Heart Lake, Mount Hancock, Snake Hot Springs, Alder Lake, Trail Lake, Crooked Creek, and Badger Creek
Local Maps