How could I pass up exploring an area with such an enticing name? The origin of the title, however, has no ties to Hades. According to Yellowstone Place Names, a prospector on a hunting trip in 1867 reported back to his group that the next stream was “a hell roarer.”
The beginning of the trail descends through a Douglas fir forest until it reaches the Yellowstone River. A sturdy suspension bridge spans the Black Canyon of the Yellowstone, and the river underneath rushes fiercely through the rock walls, perhaps angry at being confined to so small a space.
Velvety green rolling hills welcomed me once I climbed out of the river canyon, and the distinct Hellroaring Mountain dominated the landscape as I headed toward the creek. Hellroaring Mountain belongs more appropriately in my Yosemite world—it’s one of the rare peaks in the park composed of granite; indeed it’s Yellowstone’s largest granite outcropping. Most of Yellowstone’s peaks display rock formed from surface volcanic eruptions.
Hellroaring Creek definitely lived up to its name. The mighty waters surged toward their destination and I was very glad I did not have to ford the creek. Instead, I picked a comfortable spot on the soft grass near the banks of the creek, and watched butterflies flutter from wildflower to wildflower.