The Yellowstone River Overlook Trail Wildlife and Scenic Adventure

5 Hours


Bears. Bison. Marmots. Bighorn Sheep. Amazing geology. Stunning views of the Yellowstone River. Not only are these a few of my favorite things, but they are also what you will potentially get when you book this tour.

Located on the opposite side of the Yellowstone River from Calcite Springs and Tower Falls, the Yellowstone River Overlook Trail is a classic hike that is great for the whole family. With a slight elevation gain to start and then a rolling trail that is potentially full of wildlife, not only will this adventure give you unique wildlife-watching experiences, but it will also reward you with some lesser-known views and vistas. Following the canyon rim for the majority of the hike, the trail is incredibly scenic, simultaneously giving you views of the towering mountains to the Northeast and stunning glances of the Yellowstone River.

If you are seeking out a fun trail that is great for hikers young and old, consider booking this trail. More often than not, I see a lot of wildlife here, making it a dependable tour to gain confidence in hiking the trails beyond Yellowstone’s Boardwalks. I know that once you hike this trail, you will start looking for more trails to hike during your Yellowstone adventures.

This hike is roughly 6 miles in length and gains under 1,000 feet of elevation.

Those hoping for a longer day can just let me know and we will also go up the start of the Specimen Ridge Trail. Here, we will locate trail markers made from rocks and antlers, as well as sit above a cliff and scan for wildlife far below. This bonus is no extra cost and if you can do it, time-wise and body-wise, we totally will!


This is a summer and winter adventure. Snowshoes are provided.


Known best for showcasing unique geology, sweeping views of the canyon, river and mountains of the northern range, this hike makes for the perfect half day jaunt. You’ll also smell sulfur and see steam rising from part of the river. Not only will the views wow you, but you may also spot bison and bighorn sheep, as well as marmots, badgers, and even bears. If you are looking for a potential awesome wildlife watching hiking tour, this trail may be perfect for you and your family/friend group. 

The trail will start out in a prairie known for wildlife sighting, climb up a short hill and emerge on a canyon rim full of amazing sights. We will hike along the canyon rim, learning about the geology, history and wildlife that call the area home, before arriving at a bend along the Yellowstone River. Here, we will enjoy the day, stop for snacks and decide whether we want to return along the same trail, or embark on an off-trail adventure back to the trailhead.

What Your Half Day Hike Will Look Like

Day 1:
The Itinerary

The day starts at the western trailhead of Specimen Ridge, a short drive east from Tower Roosevelt Junction. After a short safety meeting, gear check and talk about the day, we will start the hike up toward the Specimen Ridge/Yellowstone Overlook Junction. This 1.1 mile section of trail, which gains around 300 feet in elevation, will take us through a prairie section that regularly has bison roaming and lounging. Therefore, we may have to walk far around them.
At the junction, we will walk up another small hill and find ourselves taking in a majestic view of the Yellowstone River. Here, you’ll learn about the region’s geology and history, as well as have a chance to scan for animals in the distance. After the first viewpoint, we will continue heading down river on the canyon rim, observing the geology and wildlife all around. This part of the tour, around two miles in length each way, will also have a few sort off-trail adventures to look for bones, antlers and other signs of animals.

After we reach the overlook above the Yellowstone River Picnic Area, we will head back. Those wanting a new route are in luck, as we can hike off-trail to the trailhead, if desired.

Overall, this trail will be roughly 6 miles in length and have approximately 800 feet of elevation gain.

What You'll 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.

The Yellowstone River Overlook Trail Wildlife and Scenic Adventure
From $ 200
/ Adult
From $ 100
/ Child