Purple Mountain Trailhead
Approximately .15 of a mile after turning north to travel to Norris is the Purple Mountain Trailhead. A small turnout on the south side of the road allows parking for the trail that begins on the north side of the road. The mountain is named for the colored patches of volcanic ash along its upper slopes. The trail is a 2.5-mile hike that heads north and climbs over 1500 feet with switchbacks near the trails end. Most of the hike is through dense lodgepole pine forest that limits viewing opportunities, but summits with a viewpoint overlooking the confluence of the Gibbon and Firehole rivers forming the Madison river. On clear days you are treated with a beautiful view of the Tetons to the south, the Madison Canyon, and distant rising steam from the Midway and Lower Geyser Basins. During the early part of the 1900’s, the trail was used as a lookout for smoke to detect forest fires.