SUMMARY: The Mt Washburn Summit Trail from Dunraven Pass, with the trailhead located southwest of Mt Washburn, offers grand views, beautiful wildflowers and the possibility of spotting bighorn sheep and other wildlife. The 3.1 mile (6.2mile roundtrip) trail from the Dunraven Pass Picnic Area to the summit ascends 1,400 feet. It is a wide, well maintained trail that accommodates large numbers of summer hikers. The 10,243 foot summit contains one of the primary fire look-out towers in the Park. On a clear day, those reaching the summit will be rewarded with spectacular views of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Yellowstone Lake, the Hayden Valley with its buffalo herds, the Teton, the Absaroka and the Gallatin mountain ranges, to mention a few. Pack a lunch, take adequate water and relax on the summit enjoying the views. Make sure you take adequate clothing, including raingear. Afternoon storms and high winds are common and the temperature can drop quickly. There is an alternate route from Crittenden Road, north of Mt Washburn. This 2.5 mile (5 mile roundtrip) dirt road from the Crittenden Road parking area is shared by hikers and mountain bikers. The unobstructed views from the Roof of Yellowstone overshadow the large number of visitors.
RATING: Strenuous because of 1,400 feet of elevation gain. The trail is wide, generally free of obstructions; and, except for the change in elevation would be rated easy. 5 mile roundtrip.
BEST TIME OF YEAR TO HIKE: Early June until the snow flies (mid-September to early October). The road over Dunraven Pass is usually open for the summer traffic by Memorial Day. It is recommended that you check with a ranger at the Canyon Village Visitors Center to get the latest report on the Trail’s condition. It is located on the west side of the Canyon Village parking area. Check at any Park entrance to find out if Dunraven Pass is open.
AMOUNT OF TIME NEEDED: While a fit hiker might complete the hike in 3 hours, it’s recommended that you allow 4 to 6 hours including a ten minute drive each way from Canyon Village.
DIRECTIONS TO TRAILHEAD: From Canyon Junction (Canyon Village) drive north toward Tower-Roosevelt on the Grand Loop Road 4.5 miles to the Dunraven Pass Picnic Area. Turn right into the parking area. Restrooms are available. The Trailhead is located on the east side of the parking area.