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Mystic Falls

Yellowstone National Park

July 24th, 2011

2.3 miles
250 vertical feet
Total Time: 1:42

Starting elevation
7307 feet
Max elevation
7448 feet

Rating: 7/10

Directions: From West Yellowstone, drive east to enter the park. Just past the Madison Campground, turn right toward Old Faithful. Follow the road for a few miles before turning right into the Biscuit Basin area.   View Driving Map

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GPX File

It was late afternoon and people were milling about, some wading out into the Firehole River. The sign at the front said that it was a bear frequented area, but we had our bear spray with us so we weren't too concerned.

People wading in the Firehole River

From the crowded trailhead, we crossed the bridge and started onto the boardwalks through the thermal features of Biscuit Basin. The boardwalk contains a loop, and we randomly took the right fork on the way in. We passed through the warm steam of a pool, then reached the other side of the loop, turning right to head toward Mystic Falls.

Biscuit Basin

This flows straight into the Firehole River

Leaving the boardwalks, we left the crowds behind, as well. The trail climbs gradually upstream through the forest, roughly parallel to Little Firehole River. At first the river is out of sight to the left, but after turning left toward the falls (instead of right toward the overlook), the river is clearly visible.

Little Firehole River

Despite the warning sign at the start of the hike, we didn't see anyone else carrying bear spray, and a few were hiking solo (groups of 3 or more are recommended in bear country). However, even though most people stuck to the boardwalk, the trail here was still fairly well-traveled, so the chances of seeing a bear seemed somewhat diminished.

Soon we saw the falls ahead of us. We found a spot to stop and enjoy the falls from below. For those of you with a bit more time, you can make it a loop by continuing past the falls to the right, adding about another mile but enjoying nice views.

Mystic Falls

It was already late afternoon, though, so we simply turned around at this point. Once we got back to the boardwalks, we took the right fork to see the part of the boardwalk loop we'd missed on the way in. We walked past the Sapphire Pool, then soon crossed the bridge back to the parking lot.

Sapphire Pool

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