One morning we (me, my son and my daughter) got up reeeeaaaaly early to listen to the wolves howl in Lamar Valley. We were hoping to see them but we could only hear them howling to each other that morning. At about 6:30 am we drove to Trout Lake Trailhead for a hike. I had researched this hike and chosen it because there are river otters living in it but also because it was supposed to be such a beautiful hike. To see the otters you have to get there in early morning or right at dusk, apparently.
We were getting better at preparing for Yellowstone hikes.
- Bear spray: check!
- Bug spray: check!
- Cameras with extra batteries and memory cards: check!
- Sunscreen: check!
We were the only people there and it was totally quiet. We started up the wildflower-covered hill. It was July and had been rainy so everything was green and the wildflowers were at their peak.
After the small hill climb we topped the hill that looked down on Trout Lake. The surface was still as glass and the reflections were perfect. We were glad we were there so early and before anybody else was there.
We saw a small family of geese and a lot of Uinta ground squirrels. They ran into their little holes when they saw us but if you stood still they quickly came back out, noses twitching.
I don’t think they were begging, they were just curious and wanted to know if we were going to leave any time soon. We were really fascinated watching them and felt pretty lucky to get to see them so close. The best part about showing up for hikes early (aside from the lighting and cool temperatures) is that you can see more reclusive animals before the crowds scare them away.
The trail just winds around the lake. I would classify it as a very easy hike, apart from the short hill to get up to the lake. You can look in the clear water and see Yellowstone cutthroat trout just swimming around. They are a subspecies of Cutthroat that lives in Yellowstone National Park. Their bright red throats are really visible when you are standing there but I didn’t have the right filter to get a good photo. So bring the anti-reflection filter if you want pictures of the cutthroats.
We sat for a little while and just watched the reflection in the lake. It was just so cool.
We didn’t see any river otters unfortunately. I definitely want to return to Trout Lake, maybe for an evening hike. It’s one of the most memorable hikes I have been on.
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This is the most serene, beautiful hike. It's best to get here early.