Climbing Mount Washburn, our experience
Upon arrival in Yellowstone National Park the landscape doesn’t look very mountainous. Don’t be fooled however, many peaks are above 3.000 meters which is higher than many famous mountains in The Alps, for example. When in Yellowstone, you will have to climb at least one peak. Simple as that! As we had quite a lack of time (three days in Yellowstone is not nearly enough!) we chose a relatively easy hike, so we ended up climbing Mount Washburn.
This 3.122 meter high mountain is a part of the Washburn Range. It was named after Henry D. Washburn, leader of the Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition, exploring the northwestern part of Wyoming that would eventually become Yellowstone. The Washburn Range is one of the two mountain ranges that are entirely located within Yellowstone National Park.
The way to the summit is an easy two hour (one way) hike that climbs 426 meters through the forest and over a wide logging road. Upon arrival in the park we were told that the hike was still closed because there was plenty of snow left but as we checked it out, there was only a small sign of snow so we decided to go for it. Eventually it turned out that there were still some snowy patches that actually turned into ice overnight. Some were a bit tricky crossing however never a real challenge.
While climbing Mount Washburn, the way to the top was incredibly windy. We were almost blown away and happy that we could hide inside the fire lookout that’s at the summit. After warming up here, we decided to ignore the cold and hike down again.
We don’t have any pictures of the mountain itself as it was incredibly cloudy when we arrived. Luckily it cleared up a little bit so we saw a few mountains in the distance (the Tetons for example) but we never got the stunning vistas we hoped for. As we started at 8.00 am already to avoid the crowds that (apparently) do the walk up, we were back down before noon when the sun peeked through the clouds for the first time that day…
Would we recommend climbing Mount Washburn and hiking to the summit? Sure, but only if it’s a sunny day! Looking back at our Yellowstone experience, we’d rather have spent some extra time at the geysers…
Want to read more about our tips and tricks for Yellowstone? You may also like these posts:
– How to plan your trip to Yellowstone National Park
– The highlights of Yellowstone National Park
– Climbing Mount Washburn in Yellowstone National Park
– Yellowstone National Park: a photo essay
For a daily dose of outdoor & adventure inspiration, follow us on Instagram and Facebook!
Thanks for sharing!