Best time to visit Yellowstone National Park

Dunraven Pass in Yellowstone National Park

Take a scenic ride on the highest road in Yellowstone

Best time: June–September

Dunraven Pass
Dunraven Pass
Dunraven Pass

Dunraven Pass is a mountain pass at the height of 2,700 m (8,859 ft) that is traversed by Grand Loop Road in Yellowstone National Park, Park County, Wyoming. The pass was named after the Earl of Dunraven, a titled Irish Peer who made a visit to Yellowstone in 1874. The paved road winds through the mountains revealing amazing panoramic views. Dunraven Pass closes every year in early October due to ice and snow and reopens in late May or early June. For more details and updates, check the NPS website. In summer, the primary hazard on the road is lightning above treeline.

Dunraven Pass also offers access to great hiking spots. Mount Washburn has some of the best panoramic views in Yellowstone. The trailhead to Mount Washburn is located next to the summit's parking lot, leading to a 10-km (6-mi) track with spectacular views, wildflowers, and wildlife, such as bighorn sheep and grizzly bears. Actually, because of the bears who come to look for whitebark pine nuts, it is not recommended to hike Mount Washburn in September and October.

At the top of Mt Washburn, hikers can enjoy the 360-degree views of the mountains, see Dunraven Peak to the west and the Canyon Area to the south, Electric Peak to the northwest, Cutoff Mountain to the northeast, Mount Sheridan and the Tetons to the southwest. The summit also features a lookout with bathrooms and an observation deck.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Dunraven Pass in Yellowstone National Park?

Dunraven Pass opens from June to September, allowing visitors to experience scenic drives and hiking. The pass remains closed from early October until late May or early June. Therefore, summer months are ideal for visiting Dunraven Pass in Yellowstone National Park. Show more

Where can I find the trailhead to Mount Washburn?

Mount Washburn trailhead is adjacent to the parking lot near the summit. Visitors can access this parking lot through Dunraven Pass road that passes through the summit. The trailhead begins here and leads to breathtaking scenery during the hike, making it a must-visit in Yellowstone. Show more

What wildlife can be spotted along the Mount Washburn trail?

Various wild animals such as elk, wolves, bighorn sheep, and grizzly bears are found as you walk through the trail while experiencing the beauty of Mount Washburn. It is, however, not safe to hike in September and October since the bears visit the place to look for whitebark pine nuts. One has to be cautious and carry a bear spray when hiking to avoid startling wildlife. Show more

How long is the Mount Washburn trail and is it difficult to hike?

The hiking trail through Mount Washburn is a 6-mile hiking trail that takes 4-5 hours to complete. This depends on the hiker's pace and fitness levels, while also considering the moderate steepness of the trail. It is a fairly easy trail that does not demand rigorous hiking experience from visitors, but it can be difficult for those who are not used to hiking at high altitudes. Show more

Are there any safety concerns for hikers during the Mount Washburn hike?

Lightning is the primary hazard on the trail from Dunraven Pass that visitors have to look out for during the summer. However, the park officials strictly advise hikers not to hike Mount Washburn during September and October, the time when bears search for whitebark pine nuts. Anyone who dares to hike during this period is recommended to hike in groups, carry a bear spray, and make plenty of noise to avoid sudden wildlife encounters. Show more

Ask a question

Find hotels and airbnbs near Dunraven Pass (Map)

Last updated: