Truth in advertizing

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ Yellowstone Up Close and Personal Chat Page Version 1.60 ] [ FAQ ]

Posted by Ballpark Frank ( on 09:45:05 05/21/15

In Reply to: Solfatara Creek hike posted by Skeets


Have you done this hike before?

I'm not sure I would apply the term "fairly level" to the climb from Lemonade Creek up to where the power line corridor crosses the ridge above Lake of the Woods. For anyone in decent shape and somewhat acclimated to the altitude, this hill should not pose a problem. On the flip side, if you have anyone who has serious problems doing hills, for whatever reason, be that cardiac, orthopedic, or simply conditioning issues, that climb could pose a problem. The very first time I went up that hill, I was part of an interpretive hike led by a seasonal interp ranger who had never done the hike before. It was a fairly hot day (for Yellowstone), and we had a group of 25-30 visitors. We had several participants who had trouble getting up that hill. It wasn't until we got over the top, and were temporarily stopped where the old road went down through the trees (pre-88 Fires) to Lake of the Woods, that one somewhat corpulent man mentioned his heart condition. He was flushed and perspiring profusely. It was a very scary backcountry moment, and this ranger was an obvious rookie. She didn't know what to do. Thankfully, there were several visitors along who appeared to be knowledgeable in healthcare matters. They took over managing this fellow's situation to a successful conclusion. (My son and I were part of a group of 3 or 4 that had gone searching for the lake that the ranger said "is around here somewhere", so we missed the worst of the drama. We found the lake, which the ranger had noticed on a map, but had never been to. These days, thanks to 1988's North Fork Fire, you can see the lake from the trail, which runs along the power line right-of-way in that area.

You have a few up/downs along the powerline corridor as you descend from the high point above the lake. The only other significant hill is at the very end of the trail, as you reach the Norris Campground. It isn't more than maybe 100-150 vertical feet, but it can be emotionally taxing to anyone having trouble with hills, and wearing down.

One other odd attribute of this hike is that most of it follows the power line right-of-way. The power utility accesses their poles and cable via ATV, or in some cases, larger vehicles. There are places where ATV-size bridges exist, but other areas where ATV's can get through without benefit of a bridge, but under wet conditions can be sloppy for those on foot. If you run into one of these situations (usually after you clear the forest and are in the broad meadow plain over the last several miles), you can usually ad lib and leave the trail to circumvent any ATV-induced mud bogs.

There is one potential logistical complication that could impact your plan, and that has to do with the road construction. I remember one day last year when the folks working on the road were using a lot of the parking space at the north trailhead for staging some of their earth-moving gear.

Here's wishing you fine weather (quite common that late in June) and respite from the vagaries of that construction project.


Follow Ups:

Post a Followup

Optional Link URL:
Link Title:
Optional Image URL:
Please enter the following value as your Submit Key:     
Submit Key:
Note: The Submit Key is Case Sensitive. Do not Copy and Paste!

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ Yellowstone Up Close and Personal Chat Page Version 1.60 ] [ FAQ ]