Seven Mile Hole Trail – Yellowstone NP
Date: July 17, 2017
Elevation Gain: 2,600 ft
Start Time: 8:07 am
Duration: 5.55 hours
Seven Mile Hole trail begins just north of the Canyon area in Yellowstone from a pullout on the road to Inspiration Point. Unfortunately the Inspiration Point road was closed for construction so we had to park and walk about a half mile up the road to get to the trailhead. We are staying near Teton Village so we had a very early start and long drive to get there. This was the first time we’ve hiked this trail so we were excited for something new.
After reaching the trailhead we walked through the forest for a little while and then came up to the edge of the canyon. We were a couple miles below Lower Falls in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. The view from the first lookout wasn’t so grand. We couldn’t see the river but we did have a nice view of a huge crane and construction crew working on Inspiration Point. We walked along the rim for a while and were able to get some nicer views of the canyon down to the river.
The trail then took a left turn which was the beginning of about a two mile trek through the forest. Although it was fairly thick with trees the ground cover was minimal so we generally had a fairly good view into the forest. This is always a plus while hiking in Yellowstone so that we can keep an eye out for bears. Off and on we could smell sulfur but could not see the geysers that created the smell. Sandy has been training for this moment for years because she usually walks behind me when we hike. Hey, we spend all day on the trail sometimes and a guy can only hold it back for so long.
We eventually reached the rim and although this area was not as steep as the main canyon the trail changed dramatically from our jaunt through the woods. It was steep, narrow and made up of loose white rock. We were working hard to keep from slipping but it was almost impossible to get good footing as we made our way down the switchbacks cut into the ridge. We were definitely not making very good time and we knew that we had about a mile and a half of this.
About half way down it leveled off a bit and we walked past a large geyser. We could hear water bubbling inside it but it wasn’t erupting. From there the trail again headed down exposed steep swichbacks which emptied into what looked like a dormant geyser basin. We then headed down another section that varied back and forth from steep to level. Suddenly a very impressive waterfall appeared on the cliffs along the other side of the Yellowstone River. In researching the hike I never saw photos of this waterfall so it was a very pleasant surprise. I’m sure that being a high water year added to what it offered up. We found ourselves standing at a viewpoint in complete awe of what we were seeing.
After leaving the waterfall we continued down a trail that was bringing us closer to the river until we finally came to a creek coming down the side of the canyon in front of us. We then turned and made our way down to the river. The Yellowstone River was definitely flowing at full force. As we stood at the bank we could hear large boulders rolling along the bottom of the river.
We found some rocks to sit on along the shore where I could soak my feet which was very nice. Sandy sat for a short while until she noticed weird looking insect all over the rocks. They appeared to look like nymphs of some kind but none of them were moving. Upon closer observation they appeared to the remaining exoskeletons of insects that have now moved on with their lives. After pulling my feet out of the water and placing them on a rock to dry I felt something moving along the heel of my left foot. Mystery solved! It was an insect that I have never seen before and it was impressively large.
The hike back out of the canyon was quite strenuous and hot. It did go quicker because our footing going uphill was much more stable than going down. We ran into a family of four Germans shortly after we reach the top. They had turned around once they reached the first sketchy parts at the top of the canyon. I walked along with one of them for a short while sharing with him the details of GPS app we use. Other than the Germans we only ran into one other person on the trail the whole day which was a real plus for us. We never saw any bears but there was fresh bear scat in the middle of the trail on the way back that wasn’t there on the way in. It was nice finding a new trail and a whole day of new experiences.
Sorry, no video of this hike.