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Mystic Falls – Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park


Hot Springs, Geysers, River, and a large Waterfall


2.5 miles out and back for the quickest route to the falls

Parking Lot Elevation


Summit Elevation


Elevation Gain/Loss

188 feet

Time Required

1-3 Hours




Yellowstone park entrance fee

Water Info

One bottle of water should be plenty per person

Best Season

Spring, Summer, Fall



Sun Exposure

The trail is largely shaded but still be prepared for some sun

Trail Condition

Very well traveled dirt path


At trail head

Visitor Center

Old Faithful Visitor Center




At Old Faithful

Family Friendly?


Trail Map

Driving Directions

The Trail:

I had heard that Mystic Falls was one of the busier hikes in Yellowstone because it is so close to the busiest feature in Old Faithful. I had also seen pictures of the falls and come away unimpressed. We did this hike the first weekend in October. We saw very few people and I came away very impressed. This is definitely a waterfall where pictures do almost no justice. The falls are much larger and more powerful than they appear and we visited in the low water season. In spring I bet they are awesome! The route described here is the quickest route to the falls and then we came back the same way. ( I had an 8 month pregnant wife ready to kill me for making her hike at all) I tracked just over 2 miles out and back the short way. You can also make a 3.4 mile loop out of the trip. The routes are all very well signed. There is also an option for a very large loop hike with back country camping options that would take you past Imperial Geyser and Fairy Falls as well. The parking for this hike is at the Biscuit Basin trail just west of Old Faithful. The parking area is well signed. Biscuit Basin is one of several Geothermal areas to hike. You will hike to the back of Biscuit Basin passing several beautiful spots along the way.

At the back of the basin there will be a small plaque marking the trail.

Other hikes in the area like Fairy Falls had left me unimpressed with the views because the trails are mostly in thick pine trees that you can’t see out of. I was expecting the same here. Boy was I wrong. The trail was absolutely gorgeous and followed a pretty river most of the way. This would also be a great one for just about anyone since there is very limited elevation gain and plenty of scenery to keep your mind off of what is there.

Keep your eyes out for wildlife. We saw several deer.

You will quickly come to another plaque marking the split for the loop option. Right is the longer route. The trail follows the Little Firehole River. Did I mention how much I loved the area? Haha.

You will hear the falls and see the mist just before they slightly come into view.

Mystic Falls is a 70 foot cascade that even in fall was impressive. It really is much better than pictures fall. It was also interesting that several hot springs join the river at or right by the falls. There was steam rising from several spots. The falls were a great place for a snack.

The Return:

We returned the same way we came. I would recommend most people walk the extra mile and do the loop option. I have heard that its pretty. The trail continues above the falls for this option.

Personal Thoughts:

I went into this hike expecting very little. I came away having really enjoyed it. I loved the riverside walk and the falls were spectacular. This is a great one that I recommend for people of all ages.

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The Bottom Line

Difficulty is basically the length, duration and stress of the Trek. If the Trek is really long then it will receive a higher rating. If the Trek is short then it won't receive that high of a rating. However, difficulty rating also includes how tired we were at the end of the Trek.

Technicality is how strenuous the Trek is. If there is lots of bouldering or if there is bushwhacking involved then the rating will be higher. Technicality also includes if there are steep inclines or the need for ropes and other equipment.

Enjoyment is strictly how much fun we had doing the Trek. Regardless of how tired and exhausted we were, if we had a ton of fun doing the Trek then it will receive a higher rating.

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About The Author
I love adventure! I live in Cache Valley, Utah. Do you have questions on any of my Treks? Email me @ joshua.oyler@gmail.com

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