Queen’s Laundry Hike

Queen's Laundry Bath House

Here's something a little different. Hiking to a bit of Yellowstone history.

I’m a sucker for anything hidden or difficult to find. Maybe it’s the whole finding a treasure map thing and going on an adventurous quest. Whatever it is, I’m like a moth to a flame, and off I go. I heard about this place a few years ago. It sounded intriguing, and any hike you take in Yellowstone will be beautiful and fun anyway, so why not?

This is the Queen’s Laundry Bath House. It began construction in 1881, and it may be the oldest park visitor structure in a National Park. In 1881 Superintendent Norris proposed the construction of the bathhouse for public use. After the structure was up, Superintendent Patrick H. Conger took over and decided not to complete the bathhouse. He didn’t think it was the proper direction for the park to take. In 1964, the park service wanted to remove the partial structure but left it as the only example of a structure from Yellowstone’s early civilian management period. Okay.

So, the log structure sits on the edge of the Queen’s Laundry thermal feature in the Lower Geyser Basin. The water here was cooler than normal, so early tourists took advantage of it and bathed in the water. Don’t do that now. The water temperatures have changed over the years, and you’ll boil! The bathhouse was to have two rooms and a dirt-covered roof. As it stands now, it is 8.16 feet by 19 feet. The roof is incomplete.

Queen's Laundry 2

If you want to see it for yourself and you are an experienced hiker, you can find it near the western end of Sentinel Meadows on a travertine mound formed by Queen’s Laundry Spring. Coordinates: 44°33′49″N 110°52′14″W

Go south along the service road about a mile beyond the Firehole River bridge to the second trail-head on your right. You will come to one sign with an arrow showing the way to the Queen’s Laundry. If you like, you can go off-trail (be careful as this is a thermal area) and visit numerous hot springs just 100 yards to the southwest (left) of the trail. You’ll see steam from the thermal area. You’ll find fumaroles, hot springs, and mud pots. Don’t get too close. The ground can be thin in these areas. Please be careful. If you are unsure how to navigate in thermal areas, please stay on the main trail.

This is one of the lesser-known places in the park, and you will need to hike to it, which means you will be alone here. So pack a picnic lunch and harken back to a time when everything was just a little calmer where the wilderness ruled, and the pace of life was slower. Who knows what history you’ll find, what past ghosts you’ll encounter, or what adventures you’ll have along the way. =]:)

Try These Related Posts


Please let me know what you think. =]:)