There are few man-made structures in Yellowstone National Park that can even begin to rival the beauty and awe of the geysers, great views, and large, robust animals roaming the roadsides and backcountry areas. Only three come to mind. One is the historic Old Faithful Lodge Inn built of lodgepole pine and secured by peg and notch. Another is the yellow and white-trimmed Lake Hotel. The third man-made structure worth experiencing is the steel suspension bridge that crosses the Black Canyon of the Yellowstone on the Hellroaring Creek Trail. Only hikers can cross the bridge and the view down into the gorge below is one of a kind.
What Makes It Great
For the first mile, the Hellroaring Creek Trail winds through lodgepole pine forest and sagebrush. The roar of the approaching river can be heard as the same time the bridge comes into view. The suspension bridge itself crosses the Yellowstone River and the gorge the river creates below is known as the Black Canyon of the Yellowstone. While crossing, one can feel the sway and stretch of the bridge’s steel cables and beams. Look for osprey perched above the cliff faces or hovering in mid-air scanning the rapids below for fresh trout. Osprey, a large white and grey colored raptor, or bird of prey, exclusively dine on fish.
There are two junctions along this trail.The first heads toward Tower, just before the bridge, and the second heads up Coyote Creek just after the bridge. Bear left at each junction.
Beyond the bridge the trail continues another mile to Hellroaring Creek. This is a great spot for lunch before turning back and returning to the trailhead. For those wishing to explore farther, the trail continues another 1.5 miles to a footbridge over the swift, rushing Hellroaring Creek.
Who is Going to Love It
Those seeking a bit of adventure, or a great photo opportunity away from the crowds will love the Hellroaring Creek Trail. The suspension bridge looks like something out of a movie and crossing it can be fun and exhilarating. The bridge is extremely safe.
First time backpackers will also love this trail with the short hike to six well-marked backcountry campsites along Hellroaring Creek.
Anglers will also love exploring Hellroaring Creek up to the footbridge and beyond; Hellroaring Creek is known to hide some very large trout.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From the Tower Junction: Drive 3.7 miles west and turn into the Hellroaring Creek trailhead. The actual trail begins .3 miles down a dirt service road. Parking is free with an Entrance Pass.
Please respect wildlife and maintain the required distances from all Yellowstone wildlife. It is illegal to approach or remain within 100 yards of bears or wolves. All other animals must be within 25 yards.
Backcountry camping in Yellowstone National Park requires a backcountry permit. Backpackers can only stay in designated locations that are subject to reservation. Please follow all Leave No Trace guidelines as well.
Fishing in Yellowstone National Park requires lead-free tackle and a valid Yellowstone National Park fishing permit. Please clean all waders, boots, boats, and other fishing equipment before entering the park to reduce the spread of Aquatic Nuisance Species.