Closest entrances: 23 miles from the Gardiner (north) entrance; 29 miles from the Cooke City (northeast) entrance
Distance: 19 miles from Tower Junction to Canyon Village
Grand Loop Road veers south here, cruising up and over Dunraven Pass on one of the park’s most beautiful drives. The first highlight on the way is the Calcite Springs Overlook, a vantage point 500 feet above the Yellowstone River. Just north you’ll spot a series of hot springs at the foot of a white- and yellow-splotched slope, colored by white calcite crystals and oil deposits brought to the surface by underground heat. Across the canyon stands a cliff of columnar basalt, left behind by a long-ago lava flow. Bighorn sheep or soaring raptors might also add to the view.
Just beyond is a general store and short trail to an overlook of Tower Fall, a powerful, 132-foot plume. Unfortunately, you can no longer hike to the base of the falls, but the aerial view is worth catching. Tower Fall Campground is across the road, a secluded and rustic option.
The drive gets even more scenic from here, climbing a winding road with sweeping vistas over the Lamar Valley and the Washburn Range (where the 1988 wildfires left a visible scar). Look for bighorns and bears as you scale the side of Mount Washburn ★★★—grizzlies are frequently spotted up here. The peak itself makes an excellent destination for a day hike; start your trip either on the northwest side, from Old Chittenden Road (another spot where mountain bikes are kosher), or from the southwest at 8,859-foot Dunraven Pass.
It’s all downhill from here. Make sure to pause at the Washburn Hot Springs Overlook, from which you can spot the rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and miles beyond on a clear day. If you need a break, the Cascade Lake Picnic Area is a particularly nice, wooded spot with fire pits.
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.