Distance: 2 miles
Type: Out and back
The hike to Terraced Falls is not only isolated and secluded, but also features some of the most waterfalls you’ll find along such a short distance. While it’s not the most accessible hike, it will reward its visitors with magnificent waterfalls, both large and small, culminating in the 180 foot, Terraced Falls.
Terraced Falls Trail Description
The hike begins just off of Grassy Lake Road where it descends along Cascade Creek as you quickly reach the southern boundary for Yellowstone National Park. At this point, the trail veers away from the creek while you descend at a steeper rate than what you’ll encounter along the rest of the trail, dropping through an expansive lodgepole pine forest, void of any road noise. It doesn’t take long for the trail to rejoin the creek, where it will remain through the bulk of the hike.
For the next 1.25 miles, the trail gradually and pleasantly ambles through the forest, never straying too far from Cascade Creek. Along the way, one waterfall after another fills the air with natural white noise. Each waterfall is uniquely different, and while none yet get above about 30 feet or so, they’re all remarkably captivating. In addition, each one also contributes to larger cascades, creating quite the spectacle as the creek rushes around many corners.
The only real exception is a slower section of the creek where beaver dams have created small ponds where the willows are growing lush and thick. It’s a great opportunity to keep your eyes peeled for wildlife.
At about the 1.25 mile mark, Cascade Creek joins the Fall River, a much larger flow of water that features its own waterfalls, as well as the magnificent Terraced Falls shortly ahead. Another 0.75 miles later, and after a couple more waterfalls, the trail works its way onto a rocky outcropping where the enormous Terraced Falls cascades below.
Terraced Falls itself is a steep cascade that pours rapidly over the cliffs, sandwiched between the rocky overlook you’re standing on, and a similar scene on the opposite side. It crashes down over 130 feet, weaving westward below the falls as the Fall River flows aimlessly into the distant hills and mountains beyond the overlook.
Enjoy this scene as long as you’d like, and when you’re ready, explore the same way you came in, seeing each waterfall again from the opposite direction.
Getting to the Terraced Falls Trailhead
From the Flagg Ranch area, head west on Grassy Lake Road for 12.5 miles and look for the small trailhead on the north (right) side of the road.