Electric Peak is considered to be one of the most difficult day hikes in Yellowstone National Park and reaching the summit is not guaranteed. Storms roll in fast, wildlife abounds, the milage is long and the elevation gain can be tiring. Yet, this full day hiking adventure is one that is sure to become a memorable experience in Yellowstone, forever cementing Electric Peak as a favorite mountain.
The hike is 20 miles and gains roughly ~4,000ft. Therefore, this hike is for experienced hikers only.
It will be a 10-12 hour day, at least and can be both physically and mentally challenging. This route is typically completed as a multi-day backpacking tour, but can be completed as a long day hike.
The top of the mountain is just under 11,000 feet above sea level and reaching it requires basic scrambling skills. Again, this is not for inexperienced hikers.
So why sign up for this long, steep trek to Electric Peak?
Because there is nothing else like it in Yellowstone.
The Electric Peak day hike takes you deep into the wilds of the Northeast corner of Yellowstone, giving you unique glimpses of the Gardner River, stunning views of the Gallatin Mountain Range, and a trail experience that is hard to beat. We will hike through known grizzly bear and moose terrain, more than likely spotting bison and elk in the low lands. We will also have a chance to stand on top of the tallest mountain in the Gallatin Range.
While long, the path to Electric Peak is incredibly scenic and enjoyable. During the summer, the wildflowers here are truly stunning. In the early fall, the colors found on the plants are spectacular. The trail meanders along creeks and a river, rises over hills, and generally we will only see a few people over the entire day. If you have ever desired a long day in the backcountry, capped off with a potential mountain summit, please read the “overview” and “itinerary” tabs below for more highlights.
Please note that reaching the summit is not guaranteed. We will do all we can to safely reach it, but weather, wildlife and other factors may impact the length of the adventure.
Towering over the Northwest corner of the park, Electric Peak is a mountain that once you notice, you can’t miss it. Visible all the way to Lamar Valley, this 10,969ft peak is equally rugged and wonderful. This is the highest mountain in Yellowstone National Park that is accessible by trail and the 6th highest peak in the park. Electric Peak was named in 1872 by the members of the second Hayden Survey. As they neared the summit a “crackling noise” was heard overhead and the crew felt electricity around them “so strong that [they] were obliged to . . . hurry down.” The peak is still a well-known spot for afternoon storms, so always check the forecast, be watching the clouds and be ready to bail on the summit if the weather is questionable.
Tossing a little of everything Yellowstone has to offer your way, aside from the thermal features, the trek to the summit of Electric Peak is not for everyone. Wildlife abounds, elevation gains persist and the mileage to do this as a single day hike can wear out the strongest of legs. Yet, there are few mountain summits quite as fun to reach as Electric. Before you read on, please know that this area is heavily populated with bears. It is also a region that can experience very quick weather changes, so be prepared for everything. Don’t let the warnings scare you though. Be smart. Be safe. Know your limits.
If the weather is and looks to be good, and you have the strength and skill to reach the summit, do not skip this tour. It has the power to forever change how you think about Yellowstone National Park. I had looked at this mountain for over three decades before I summited it and standing on the top of the rocks gave me a perspective of the park and surrounding region that I did not know existed. You may have the same experience.
- Panoramic Views
- Tired legs
- A newfound respect for the backcountry of Yellowstone