Osprey Falls Trail is a 7.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Yellowstone National Park, WY that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until October.
Directions from Mammoth: Travel 4.7 miles south. Immediately past the Golden Gate Bridge park on the left in the Glen Creek Trailhead parking lot. Begin on the Old Bunsen Peak Road Trail.
This falls is well worth the struggle to get there. The difficult is getting down to the falls and back up from them. The falls are huge. We did this after our half marathon. I would hike this again
Fairly easy until the last 1.4 mile down a series of switchbacks to the bottom of the falls. I hate heights and this part of the trail is narrow and steep. The hike back up the same 1.4 miles is even more difficult since the switchbacks rise at steep inclines at times (but, I'm also 60 years old).
Having said all of that, I loved the hike; the beauty of the falls; and the fact that I did stretch my comfort zone.
We hiked on the Old Bunsen Peak Road Trail. We walked through a rather large herd of elk. They were so close you could have touched them as you walked by. They stopped grazing only to look up as we walk by them. It was an amazing hike! Further down the trail we found a large bison skeleton. The rib cage was so large, I stood inside the ribs (mind you I am only 5' 3".
Views of the Gardiner River are beautiful!
We saw a mount goat just as we descended down the trail to the falls.
That part of the trail is brutal going down and coming back up.
A thunder storm rolled in and we were pelted with slushly snow pellets. But we did not mind! It was an amazing hike and I have no regrets!
We didn't hike directly to Osprey Falls, we went via Bunsen Peak than descended down towards Osprey Falls meeting up with that trail just before the "Warning" sign. The hike in and out of the canyon to Osprey Falls is brutal on the legs, especially after hiking up to Bunsen Peak, but is doable and well worth the pain and effort.
If I was to do this hike again I would still do it via Bunsen Peak even though it is very strenuous. Walking through a forest that must have been burned at extremely high heat because it is still barren almost 25 years after the fire. The views on this hike are amazing, and we saw only 5 hikers from the trailhead up and over Bunsen Peak. There were 2 hikers at Osprey Falls and a we did see a few on the way out. There are two Yellowstone experiences, one is around the lodges/big attractions, and the other is back country. If you want to get away from the crowds get on the trails!
This hike is amazing! Definitely one of the best kept secrets of Yellowstone.
According to the signage, the trail is 9.2 miles. We went the whole distance on foot. The first 3 miles is pretty flat- you're on an abandoned gravel/dirt road and we were able to run it. The 1.5 mile descent to the waterfall is steep and tough, but absolutely worth it! We had a picnic in the adjacent cave and it truly was an unforgettable experience.
The hike back up was exhausting. Bring a lot of water! The last 3 miles back were mentally challenging and we wished we had biked. By 1 pm, it was about 90 degrees (date 7/3/13).
Note: Do not forget bear spray! Two weeks prior to our hike, a female and two cubs were spotted on the trail. In general, you'll see a lot of wildlife, so allay bring a camera!
There is no way to photograph the falls from the bottom of the trail or anywhere along it. The trail is a very difficult hike out and very little cover from the sun.
This is a tough one! Osprey Falls is located outside of Mammoth Hot Springs and below Bunsen Peak. You can either hike the entire trail or bike the first part. We decided to bike the first five miles (smart move). From there we followed the switch backs down the mountain (be careful of the loose rocks) 2+ miles to the bottom where the most beautiful waterfall is -- Osprey Falls. Its was shaded and cool but a welcome retreat after the journey. We hiked along the banks, eat and played in the water for a while. Then started back up the mountain. Ugh! Not so much fun. It was an unusally hot day for Yellowstone, which made it more difficult but after many restful breaks we made it back to our bike for the pedal back. I'm every fit and actually ended up pushing my bike up some of hills because I was so tired. But it really was worth it and we plan on doing it again! PS - did not see one other person the entire time!