DISTANCE: 5.0 MILES
Trail Type: Loop
Start Location: 1K1 (Sepulcher Mountain Trail), 44.973417, -110.705317
Total Hiking Time: 2.5 hours; 11:30 am – 2:00 pm
Crowd: Only one person in the late season
Animal Sightings: mule deer, elk, chipmunks, squirrels, bison (tracks), coyote (tracks)
Fishing Report: N/A, Fishing closed in the park on November 7th.
Starting one hundred yards north of the Liberty Cap, head west to cross Clematis Creek and switchback up its north bank to the junction with Beaver Ponds Trail. Follow the trail north through alternating old growth pine and sagebrush steppe. On your right will be a fantastic vista featuring Mt. Everts towering over the lower Gardner River – at this point you are looking over Elk Plaza, home to the sizeable Mammoth elk herd. Continue to the ponds (frozen over this day, the day after Thanksgiving) and look behind you at the last (and biggest) pond to see Mt. Sepulcher’s grim, sheer eastern face overhead. Return along the lower end of Elk Plaza. Near the end you will see a well-kept stagecoach road below you; this is actually open to public vehicular traffic in a one-way fashion from May to October, starting from your end in Mammoth and dropping five miles to the North Gate.
A surprising and pleasant day-hike, accessible year-round.