Explore the most popular waterfall trails in Custer National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

backpacking
15 hours ago

Hiked this trail about four years ago, and it is absolutely gorgeous. Great scenery and stunning views.

Looking forward to going again at the end of July. I'm looking for a key exchange on July 31st at the Clarks Fork Trailhead. Email Pete at peter.s.weber@ndus.edu. Thanks!

Stunning, spectacular, exquisite, magical...

Love this hike, first part is rather steep and you're in the open with no cover but the tree cover comes back and it's not bad at all. There's a beautiful waterfall in the beginning and the upper lake has phenomenal small fish fishing. Worth a day hike easily!

hiking
3 days ago

This was an absolute amazing hike. It’s not exactly short and has a decent incline, so bring your lunch. There is a really awesome and big cascading waterfall along the way just off the trail. It’s big enough to feel the mist and goes for quite some time. I recommend checking that out. When you get to the lake, it’s breath taking. Also make sure you bring bear spray.

hiking
5 days ago

I never hike and this one I did. It was definitely a challenge, but pretty the whole way and doable. We carried our 2 yr old as well. There’s fishing and a good spot for a break at the lake before you turn around and go back.

This was a tough hike! Very fun! Lasted a few hours. Highly recommended!

Good trail with a great payoff at the top. Especially good for hikers who need a shorter trail with a big incentive ( like your friend or family member that’s newer to hiking)

Well maintained trail system and beautiful views. We only went to the falls this trip but I have packed into Rainbow Lake in the past and found it and Elk Lake well worth the climb.

Breathtaking views from the beginning to the end ! It was so Beautiful, and We were very happy that our friend recommended this hike . The hike wasn’t very difficult, but bring a hat and sunscreen as there aren’t many shaded area till Elk lake. It became very hot at high 80’s (July 10th).

hiking
11 days ago

Beautiful hike the whole way. Pretty easy/slow incline the whole way up. Only tough part would be navigating the rocky parts of the trail. Views at the top are incredible.

backpacking
12 days ago

Wow. Just got home from backpacking the Beaten Path (Cooke City to East Rosebud) and it was an adventure I’ll never forget.

7/6/18 Snow covered most of the trail from Russel to Fossil lake. We would have likely gotten lost if not for our map/compass. There were also two places we needed to cross fairly wide rivers to get to the trail (water was about knee/thigh deep, pretty fast, bring trekking poles and extra socks!!!!)

Once we made it past the Twin Outlet Lakes it was pretty smooth sailing. Absolutely spellbinding scenery and a clear trail to follow.

One last word of advice to anyone headed out early July, the mosquitoes were biblical. We were eaten alive from Cooke City pretty much until after Rainbow Lake. Bring high intensity insect repellant and apply liberally. We used spray but I’m still absolutely covered in bites from the last three days.

Despite all that, this really was a remarkable, one of a kind trail I’d highly recommend - just wait until later in the season when the snow has melted away from the trail and the mosquitoes aren’t as bad!

hiking
12 days ago

We only went 2 miles up. The sign to start the trail is not clear, no mention of the falls. There is no shade the first 1.5 miles. We were looking for the falls. we finally noticed a trickle on the MT and not sure if that was it. Definitely not the water falls I was expecting. It started to get nice after 1.5 miles so maybe the rest is better. The fire really made it barren those first 1.5 miles.

hiking
15 days ago

First time hiking this trail. Hiked The 4th of July. Very beautiful hike! There is a section that is nothing but rocks and boulders, but I was prepared with my hiking poles and made it through just fine. Once you get to the lake the view is breathtaking! I would do this trail again!

hiking
20 days ago

Been coming here the last 2 years. Due to never having a car on both sides I’ve always had to hike out the way I hike in. It’s always east rosebud to fossil lake or Clark’s fork to lake Dewey. Probably my favorite place in the world. Coming back on July 3 to hopefully hike into fossil to camp from the rosebud side if snow isn’t too deep. The stretch from twin outlets to fossil is just stunning

hiking
27 days ago

Great day hike. Pleasant trail with some beautiful views. Went all the way to the Meadows and back.

Hiked the trail once a couple years ago and going back in a couple weeks for round 2. One of the most beautiful places I’ve been.

I’m also looking for a car/key exchange July 4-7.

Redjeff30@gmail.com

Looking for a key swap for July 6th-8th or July 14-16th. Please email Justin at jjeflar@gmail.com

Unfortunately we headed down river at the start of this trail instead of upriver & so cannot do a relevant review. However we did trek 14k out & back in total & it was a very picturesque trek. We had the river rapids for company the whole way & stopped half way for a picnic lunch on a rock with lovely vista. No sign of any bears although we did have beat spray at the ready.

hiking
1 month ago

A wonderful easy hike for a day trip! Bring a hammock and hike straight up to the top past where the trail ends and there is a lot of awesome spots! One of my weekend favorites.

hiking
1 month ago

It is an ok hike with alright views. Too crowded. The hike was a bit of a challenge but nothing way too hard. Good for families!

So incredibly beautiful. Definitely worthy of repeating

I hiked the Beaten Path last July. I am not the most physically fit person who hikes daily, but with determination and endurance anyone can start and finish a 28 mile hike. At one point after starting from the Chief Joesph trail head I started to feel tired, my body ached. I wanted to give up. I told myself,, I would make Russell lake my final destination and head back to parking the next morning. The following day I woke up and asked myself what was I thinking? to give up on something I had planned on doing for a year. I knew my journey was just about to begin with every will power in my body and relentless mind set, I knew my destiny was to finish the Beaten Path. From the highest breath taking views of Fossil lake, to sitting by the most quiet coves by twin lakes I had no regrets. I was asked by what I believed to be the Crow sprits near the end of my 2 1/2 day hike if I would ever return to hike this trail again? with East Rosebud lake behind me, I looked back at the unforgivable wilderness and replied w a Yes. One thing I learned about this experience last year was to always embrace ones Beauty, Culture and History. Oh and one other thing "They Don't call it the Beaten Path for Nothing" Embrace

hiking
1 month ago

Road to trailhead closed at Pinecove camping area (about 5 miles from trailhead) met a fellow hiker said rumor was the road would open again Memorial weekend.

We parked at campground and walked up to West Rosebud Lake, since we had driven out.

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome hike with great views up to the lake. The lake seemed kind of low at this point but there’s still plenty snow on the peaks.

Awesome hike, loved the scenery all the way through. The lake is hard to find a private area to sit around, we wandered for a bit to find an awesome rock accessible to have lunch on. Pretty easy for all skill types!

Fantastic Memorial Day hike. One of my favorite trails. We decided to turn back before we got to the upper lake due to the snow, but it was still fantastic. We went early morning and had the trail to ourselves on the way in and met a couple folks on the way out. We even did a bit of trail running.

backpacking
1 month ago

Spectacular!

First hike I’ve ever done and I loved it!!!

Beautiful hike, the views are incredible. A lot of people were just hiking up to the falls which was impressive going to the lake is worth it though. Of the 10 or so dogs on the trail only ours and one other was leashed. Even the ranger that checked our fishing licenses had an unleashed dog, just something to be aware of.

Great first hike of the year! Only made it to the lower lake due to too much snow. Would definitely like to do this hike again when the snow melts.

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