Popular Posts

If you would like to see some Taking It Outside videos visit my YouTube Channel

Friday, December 3, 2010

Mystic Falls Trail in YNP

According to Yellowstone.net there are over 1,100 miles of hiking trails in Yellowstone National Park.  Considering that YNP encompasses 2.2 million acres I have no trouble believing the claim.  I was fortunate enough to hike a little over 12 miles of those trails in July 2010 - only 1,088 miles to go!

The longest hike was to see Osprey Falls near Mammoth Hot Springs. - See earlier post for review of the trail.

The second hike was the Mystic Falls Loop.  The trail begins at Biscuit Basin which sit on the northern edge of Upper Geyser Basin, which is home to the iconic Old Faithful Geyser.
Probably the most recognizable geyser in the world.
We parked our motorcycles at the Biscuit Basin parking lot and viewed the numerous geysers and springs that the boardwalks surround before hitting the trail to visit Mystic Falls and Biscuit Basin Overlook.  We saw Sapphire Pool which looks so inviting, but at 200+ degrees Fahrenheit is not the place for swimming.
Sapphire Pool is so clear, looks like a natural swimming pool. 
After looking at the other geysers and springs we started the trail on the west side of the boardwalk loop and quickly entered the pine forest.  We passed an information board that the trails from that area including the much longer Fairy Falls Trail and Summit Lake Trail.

The trail forks about 1/8 mile after leaving the boardwalk.  We choose to go right (counter-clockwise), but afterwards I wish we would have taken the trail clockwise.  The sloping is not as steep on the way up and the views descending would have been better in my opinion.
Map of some trails in the Biscuit Basin.
We encountered a series of switchbacks and ascended about 1,000 feet to reach the Biscuit Basin Overlook. From the overlook we watch Old Faithful erupt as well as some other geysers that also erupted.  We could see the features in Biscuit Basin, the Firehole River and most of the Upper Geyser Basin.  The view was spectacular.
Upper Geyser Basin as seen from the Biscuit Basin Overlook.
The Biscuit Basin Loop boardwalk.  Sapphire Pool can be seen.
We continued west on the trail as it ran on top of the ridge and through the forest still trying to recover from a fire many years ago.  After about 1/2 mile the trail has another fork.  To the right/west the trail goes to Fairy Falls.  We took the left fork and turned south towards Mystic Falls.
The trail continued on the ridge.  The effects of the fire is still visible.
The Little Firehole River seen from the trail on the ridge.
The trail soon begins a gradual descent. We could see Old Faithful again.  After another 1/2 mile or so we could see the crest of Mystic Falls.  We continued the trail and were able to get a great view of the entire 70 foot waterfall.  It was a great view.
The crest of Mystic Falls.
Mystic Falls
The trail descent a little farther and then flattened out as it continued to skirt the Little Firehole River.  The trail slows works it way slightly northward and away from the river, back into the forest and intersects the Summit Lake Trail.  We turned left and hiked past the first fork that we took to begin the hike.  Through the forest we hiked until we emerged back at the Biscuit Basin Loop boardwalk.

The hike is roughly a 3 mile loop from the parking lot and is easy to moderately strenuous.  The views are great and you will leave the crowd behind.  I am glad we took the hike.  It was really nice to see Yellowstone from areas that were not crowded and were very peaceful.