Bunsen Peak has a short, moderately strenuous hike to its summit. It’s a good mountain for families. The kids will feel they have accomplished something.
Bunsen Peak is also the highest point for some ways in each direction. As a result, it has good views of Mammoth Hot Springs, the Garndiner and Yellowstone River valleys, and the Gallatin Range.
Fun fact: it's named for the guy who invented the Bunsen burner.
Use the Golden Gate parking lot on the road from Mammoth Hot Springs to Norris. Ascending from Mammoth, the parking lot appears on your left as the road flattens out.
You might stop and look at the cliff on the drive up from Mammoth Hot Springs since a nice collection of ravens nest there.
The trail climbs straight out of the parking lot and then ascends gently along the edge of a cliff line.
Where there are cliffs there are bighorn sheep. We were fortunate to see a group of five just off the trail. They were “hiding” in the woods but easy to see, and not disturbed by the hikers around them. This made for some neat photo opportunities.
After cornering at the bighorn sheep, the trail ascended a bunch of switchbacks. We hit a few small snowfields (this was early June), each about ten yards across.
As you know, the weather can be unpredictable in the mountains (even little ones). We had a graphic demonstration of this because father/daughter got about a quarter mile ahead of mother/son. The lead group had clear weather, with just a slight drizzle for a few hundred yards. The trailing group got stuck in a strong hailstorm.
PS. I cannot endorse the way my daughter dresses in the mountains, but rest assured that I was lugging warmer stuff for her in my daypack.
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