How Did Mt. Washburn Form?

Yellowstone National Park features more than 40 peaks that soar over 10,000 feet, and the beautiful Mt. Washburn is one of them. Standing at 10,243 feet, Mt. Washburn is Yellowstone’s most visited high peak, and many visitors choose to take Mt. Washburn guided tours to learn more about this natural wonder and to take advantage of its most scenic views. Read on to get to know more about Mt. Washburn and how it formed.

Ancient origins

The Mt. Washburn we marvel at today is actually all that remains of a volcano that erupted around 640,000 years ago. On Mt. Washburn guided tours, you’ll be able to see how the eruption formed the vast Yellowstone caldera, allowing visitors to get a sense of the amazing scale of the Yellowstone super-volcano.

As you travel to the summit of Mt. Washburn, you’ll notice dark breccia consisting of angular volcanic stones that formed 50 million years ago. As watery mixtures of ash and rocks flowed downhill to tropical lowlands, the deposits settled to the matrix you can see today. Mt. Washburn, and the Washburn Range as a whole, consists of lava flow debris that was preserved on the side of a volcano.

Visiting Mt. Washburn

The time of year you visit Mt. Washburn has an amazing effect on the scenery you’ll enjoy during your visit. Snow often obstructs Dunraven Pass, one of the typical routes to the summit, until the end of June.

In July and August, visitors can marvel at the stunning wildflower displays along the mountain, but keep in mind that afternoon thunderstorms are frequent during this time of year. In August and September, you’ll have to keep a lookout for grizzlies that flock to the area looking for whitebark pine nuts and other forms of sustenance. You’ll also likely be able to see bighorn sheep and many other active fauna in their natural habitat, but be sure to stay on trails to avoid disturbing the natural vegetation of the area.

Once you’ve reached the top of Mt. Washburn, you’ll enjoy stunning views and interpretive exhibits inside the shelter at the base of the fire lookout. You’ll be able to see an endless panorama from the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and beyond.

While experienced hikers are able to summit Mt. Washburn on their own, Mt. Washburn guided tours help visitors make the most of their time on the mountain. You’ll take advantage of your guide’s knowledge, stories and personal connection to Yellowstone National Park as a whole, providing an enriching experience that truly brings the area to life in a memorable way.

Learning about Mt. Washburn, and Yellowstone National Park in general, is a fascinating experience for nature-lovers of all ages. Whether you’re visiting solo, with your family or as part of a larger group, Mt. Washburn guided tours will give you the inside scoop on one of America’s natural treasures. Learn more about Mt. Washburn and other amazing peaks and mountains by booking your tour with Yellowstone Tour Guides today.