One of the most snenic hikes in Yellowstone National Park. From the trailhead to the summit the trail winds through 11 miles of large meadows, lodgepole forests, mountainous scenery and massive Heart Lake. Everything from deer, elk, grizzly bear, and bald eagles can easliy be spotted on this hike. If you're lucky you may even spot a wolf. Once you've made it to the summit, you'll find yourself directly above Heart Lake. Looking to the south you can see the entire Teton Range on a clear day. To the north, glimpses of gigantic Yellowstone Lake can be see. You can even spot the yellow Lake Hotel with the help from the ranger that stays atop the lookout tower most of the summer. Shoshone, Lewis, Delusion, and other unnamed lakes can also be seen from the summit.
The trailhead for Heart Lake is 7.4 miles south of the West Thumb intersection on the south entrace road in Yellowstone National Park. From the trailhead follow the well developed path 8 miles to the lake. Turn right(south) at the Trail Creek Trail Junction found just before the lake. It's a steep 3 mile hike to the summit from here, zig zagging up the switchbacks.
-The trail is usually not open until July 1st due to bear management reasons.
-Plenty of water is also a good idea, because there won't be any for you on the mountain, unless there is still some snow patches left above the tree line.
-Get a backcountry permit if you plan on camping overnight at Heart Lake.
There are five great backcountry sites along the western shores of Heart Lake, the furthest one away only leaving you 4 miles to the summit. More camping can be found further south of here, and even more sites along Trail Creek Trail on Heart Lake's eastern side. Backcountry permits can be obtained at ranger stations throughout the park.