The Pelican Valley Trail in Yellowstone National Park

On our last day in Yellowstone National Park, we opted to exit the park out of the east entrance. We got an early start that day and decided to have one more hike before leaving. We chose the Pelican Valley Tail.

Over the course of the prior three days, we had visited most of areas in Yellowstone National Park.

On the morning of our departure, we stopped several times along Hayden Valley to enjoy the beautiful landscape, wild flowers and the park’s wildlife. 

As we made our way through the park, we discussed how we had hiked through the mountains and along the lake shores. Our hikes in the park had been concentrated in thick forested areas but we really wanted to hike in one of the open valleys in the park. 

So when we saw the Pelican Valley Trail on the map, we knew we had found our trail!

Pelican Valley Trail

Our hike was a little over 6 miles as we selected an out and back route.

We primarily walked in the flatland and open grasses of the basin. The landscape was extraordinary.

We often stopped along the way to gaze at the beauty and to look for wildlife through our binoculars.

The valley was lush and green. In many areas the landscape was filled with wild flowers that were in full bloom. We saw bison and elk along the way too.

There was something about this place that was grand; almost spiritual. The vastness of the grassy plain scattered with roaming buffalo and grazing elk made us feel right with the world.

We also had a feeling of potential danger.

We had heard reports from other hikers about grizzly bear and wolves sited on the trail that morning. This really unnerved Gail, but she bravely pushed on down the path and we had no encounters with them.

On our return trip, we spotted two bull elk grazing the meadow. We stood in silence to watch them for a while.

They were mostly interested in eating, but would occasionally lift up their heads to look at each other.

They locked antlers a couple times, pushing and pulling in a manner that seemed to be a test between them. Which animal was the more dominant? They would decide.

The hike was one of our most favorites from our Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park trip and an experience we will not forget anytime soon.

For more stories on this trip visit Yellowstone National Park

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