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Fairy Falls

Old logs resting below Fairy Falls as it pours over a large cliff. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

The Fairy Falls Trail is an easy 2.5 mile (one way) hike that brings hikers to a stunning 200 foot waterfall behind the Midway Geyser Basin. The hike can be easily paired with the popular Grand Prismatic Overlook Trail. And while there is technically water along the trail, I can tell you from experience it’s best to avoid it.

Fairy Falls Trail Description

From the Fairy Falls Parking Area, head up the Fairy Falls Trail as it crosses the Firehole River. The trail is frequently used as a maintenance road, which creates a wide and easy gravel hike. Along the way, the trail will pass multiple hot springs in the Midway Geyser Basin. Be sure to follow common sense and stay on the trail and respect the thermal features.

As you approach 0.5 miles in, you’ll begin to see Grand Prismatic Spring in the distance. Shortly after, you’ll see the Grand Prismatic Overlook Trail branching off to the left. If you haven’t hiked this trail yet, it’s highly worth doing, especially considering the trail reconnects 0.25 miles ahead. For those opting to pass the overlook for whatever reason, continue straight.

The wide easy path will provide some great views of Grand Prismatic Spring as you pass by the vicinity. Not far beyond though, at 1 mile in, you’ll reach the trailhead to break off for the falls. Head left to begin up toward Fairy Falls.

Water Reflecting Clouds
Water pooling over sinter in the Midway Geyser Basin reflecting the clouds above. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

The trail will wind through a young forest recovering from the fires of 1988, where roughly one-third of the entire park was burned. The next 1.25 miles are so are fairly consistent, as you weave through the quiet and serene forest. About a third of the way in, you’ll cross a small stream with the help of a footbridge, continuing through the forest along the easy trail.

As you approach the falls, a more recent forest fire burn opens up the woods on the right, providing a change in scenery. Just beyond, Fairy Falls comes into view to the left. From here it’s an easy and quick ascent up to the base of the falls.

The majestic 200 foot waterfall makes for a mesmerizing place to relax, as old logs provide ample spots for rest. It’s an iconic scene that few people take the time to visit, so enjoy your stay and when ready, head out the same way you came in. Looking for a couple more miles? Continue heading on to Imperial Geyser!

Getting There

From Old Faithful, head north on the main road for 4.4 miles. Turn left into the Fairy Falls Parking Lot.

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