Fan Creek- Yellowstone National Park
Fan Creek is possibly the most popular hike along the Yellowstone National Park boundary. With the trailhead located just off of Highway 191, Fan Creek is a quick drive from West Yellowstone and Bozeman. It’s also an easy hike, gaining only 50 feet in the 1.2 miles to the junction with Fan Creek Trail. The fishing along Fan Creek is great any time of the year. The scenery certainly won’t disappoint, either. Since Fan Creek is this accessible and beautiful, it’s easy to see why Fan Creek is popular in the summer and winter.
Leaving the Fawn Pass trailhead, the trail immediately climbs a small hill, and then runs through a mature forest. If this area is beautiful in the summer, it is stunning in the winter. Heaps of snow hang from the many trees, creating a view that would be fitting for a Christmas card. My favorite time of year to hike this trail (technically, snowshoe) is in the winter- the views are breathtaking, and there is significantly less traffic on the trail. After a quick 1.25 miles, Fan Creek Trail appears.
If you turn right at this junction, you follow Fawn Pass Trail; if you head straight ahead (and to the left), you will continue down the Fan Creek Trail. This trail then runs for another 6 miles, crossing Fan Creek along the way. At 2.7 miles from the Fan Creek Trail junction, a ford is required in order to continue along the trail. Navigate to the north side of the creek, and continue along the trail. After another three miles, you reach a bear management area. Turn around, and retrace your steps back to the trailhead.
The Fan Creek Trail junction at 1.25 miles is a quick turn-around spot for many, although the Fan Creek drainage is beautiful, many hikers and snowshoers have other destinations in mind for the day. Nearby Bacon Rind Creek and Tepee Pass both offer additional hiking, with more views to take in. Bacon Rind Creek has a trail profile is similar to that of Fan Creek, and the trailhead is just a little further up the highway. Tepee Pass, however, is steep. The Yellowstone National Park trail system is extensive- grab a map (or use the one provided on this site), and start exploring!
Directions to the Trailhead
From West Yellowstone, drive 21 miles north on Highway 191. The trailhead will be on the east side of the road, clearly marked as the Fawn Pass Trailhead.