Elation And Elevation Atop Electric Peak

12 Hours


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 mileage is long and the elevation gain can be tiring. Yet, this full-day hiking adventure 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 lowlands. 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. 


  • Wildflowers
  • Wildlife
  • Remoteness
  • Panoramic Views
  • Tired legs
  • A newfound respect for the backcountry of Yellowstone


Day 1:
Details About the Trek

We will meet at the trailhead, located just south of Mammoth Hot Spring in the early morning hours. After a quick gear check and review of safety measures for the trek, we will head out on the long, but scenic hike.
To reach the summit, there are a few trails we need to take. The first trail from the parking area follows Glen Creek for 6.2 miles before reaching a junction with the Electric Peak-Southeast Ridge Trail. The first few miles of this trail, until it meets the Fawn Pass Trail at 2.2 miles and the Snow Pass Trail at 2.4 miles, was once used by wagons traveling between Mammoth and Norris before the current route through the Golden Gate was built in the 1880s. Past the junctions, the trail runs right along Glen Creek, entering a sometimes active ravine. Be on the lookout for moose here, as there is almost always one hanging out in the area during the summer. At around 3 miles, you’ll pass the Sepulcher Mountain Trail and continue up the Glen Creek Trail. Say goodbye to the flat prairie here, as you’ll climb around 700 feet over the next 4 miles.

At 5.2-mile mark we will reach the junction with the Electric Peak Trail. There are a few fallen logs to sit on as we refuel and rest a bit, which I highly recommend doing. The real hike starts now.

For the first mile of the Electric Peak Trail, the experience is fine, but be patient. A little over a mile after the junction, you will reach a fantastic overlook which grants a unique view of the Gardner River. Past the river view, the climb starts in earnest, gaining roughly 3,000 feet in the next 2.1 miles. Throughout this section, the region’s mountains peak out from behind hills, giving a great example of the high alpine terrain which you will be reaching shortly.

Eight miles from the parking area, you finally leave the trees behind and really start the summit push. By mile 9, the geology changes and the rocks look different. The trail is no less steep though, but the views do start to become even more inspiring as we pick our way up the rocks on the ridge. The exposure here isn’t too bad, but definitely be smart about where you go. A fall here could be very bad. Once you notice the geology change, you have about a half miles until the summit, which is reached after working up a seemingly endless field of scree and boulders. If you need motivation, beyond the fact that you are almost to the top, know that on this section we will cross over the boundary between Wyoming and Montana. This is also the 45th parallel of latitude, located halfway between the North Pole and the Equator.

The last scramble to the true summit is a bit technical, but isn’t required. The views found from a few feet below the actual top are just as good and saving energy is a wise thing to do, especially since there are still 10 more miles of hiking to complete. I do not recommend this scramble to the true top, as the risk of an injury is not wort the reward.

We reach the false summit at the 9.5/10-mile mark and the entire region unfolds in front of you. Down below, you can see the Yellowstone River, the Absaroka-Beartooth Ranges, the Gallatin Range, and if the light is just right, even the Tetons. We will enjoy the view a bit, but we will need to keep an eye out for storms. Typically, I don’t spend more than 10-15 minutes up here, as the route down will take some time and afternoon storms almost always occur.

The hike back follows the same trail and the last few miles before reaching the cars will feel like a lifetime. Despite all of that, the hike is a must for those hoping to climb a mountain that few park visitors experience.

What You Get/Won't Get


  • A knowledgeable guide who knows the region well, bear spray, access to gallons of water before the hike, use of binoculars, an expert guide, wildlife tips, trekking poles (if requested in advance), a few prepackaged snacks (jerky, nuts, etc...)


  • Hiking shoes, backpacks, water bladders/water bottles, meals

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

Elation And Elevation Atop Electric Peak
From $ 275
/ Adult