As You Hike
Virtually all of this trail has been affected by the fires of 1988. As devastated as this forest may appear, it is not dead. In fact, by some measures it is more alive than before. Yellowstone was covered by aging lodgepole pine trees. This “lodgepole desert,” as some called it, supported relatively few species of plants and animals.
The fires opened up the overhead canopy and cleared the cluttered forest floor. Within weeks, grasses and other plant life began sprouting, and small animals began feeding on the feast of seeds dropped during the fire. Hawks, in turn, traveled great distances to prey on these vulnerable animals. Burned trees attracted insects that in turn attracted a variety of birds.
Listen for the sounds of a forest alive.
Much of the trail is dark gray from obsidian.