This summer we spent 4 days, 3 nights backpacking at Heart Lake in Yellowstone. We have been to Heart Lake before on day hikes. But it’s a long way in – more than 8 miles to the lake itself – and the trip back is uphill. There’s not much time to relax at the lake or tour around it to see what’s there. The answer is to backpack. Then there’s plenty of time to see beaver, mergansers, dragonflies, fir and fern forests, waterfalls, other lakes, streams, and more beaver. Even beavers performing ballets. The campsites are spread far apart – ours was 2 miles around the lake – and some are several miles further.
The Park Service permits camping at one site for only two nights. After that, you have to move. So we stayed two nights on the west side of the lake at what I call the presidential suite of campgrounds. Our own stream, a beaver lodge close by, many birds and flowers, lots of sun and shade, easy access to the lake, private swimming in crystal clear water, and the most delicious smells from all of the above. Then we moved to the east shore, with more beaver, moose tracks, bear scat, a lodgepole pine forest, and plenty of sun and clear water.
Here are a few pictures from the west side of Heart Lake: