Closest entrance and distance: 27 miles from Fishing Bridge to the east entrance.
The mountainous East Entrance Road is second only to the Beartooth Highway in terms of scenically splendid ways to access the park. If you’re bound for Cody, Wyoming, or want to make the gorgeous loop drive from here to the Chief Joseph and Beartooth Highways and back through the northeast entrance, you’ll peel off from the Grand Loop Road here.
Begin by tracing the shores of Yellowstone Lake past Indian Pond and the Pelican Valley Trail. This trail leads into remote and beautiful country, but this is ground zero for grizzlies, and hiking is restricted to daytime hours only. Continue around Mary Bay, the hottest part of the lake at 252°F (122°C) under the lakebed. A hydrothermal explosion formed this bay, and a small thermal area remains today.
Steamboat Point provides a nice vista over the lake, but the Lake Butte Overlook, a short spur off the road, is better. Cruise up here for sweeping views over the lakeshore, thermal zones, and an old wildfire burn. Between them you’ll find one of the park’s best picnic grounds at Sedge Bay: a stony beach right along the shore that doubles as a boat launch.
The road climbs into the high country from here, and 10,000-foot peaks crop up on either side of the pavement. After passing the delicate Sylvan Lake and Eleanor Lake (both dynamite picnic spots), you’ll reach 8,530-foot Sylvan Pass. This high point flanked by steep, craggy peaks makes a fine turnaround spot. For a serious cardio challenge, don’t miss the Avalanche Peak Trail, a short but steep grunt to the 10,556-foot summit.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.