Fairy Creek Trail to Imperial Geyser

EASY 60 reviews
#10 of 203 trails in

Fairy Creek Trail to Imperial Geyser is a 6.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October.

6.5 miles
387 feet
Out & Back

kid friendly



nature trips

trail running






wild flowers


no dogs

Short route: Park 1 mile south of Midway Geyser Basin, cross the steel bridge and walk 1 mile to the trailhead. Long route: Park at the end of Fountain Flat Dr. and walk 1.75 miles to trailhead. The trail travels through young forest to the 197-foot-tall Fairy Falls passing Grand Prismatic Spring, wildflowers, lodgepole pines, and more. The hike to Fairy Falls is very easy despite its length. The trail passes Grand Prismatic Spring, and a short detour scramble up a hill offers a spectacular view of the spring. Along the hike are tons of wildflowers, obsidian, lodgepole pines, and other wildlife.

5 months ago

One of the coolest hikes I've ever been on. My cousin and I had the whole trail and Geyser to ourselves after the falls as it started raining and scared everyone away. It was creepy not seeing humans for so long alone with the geyser and the beautiful geothermal creek leading up to it. Will never forget this one

8 months ago

This was a wonderful hike. The original starting point makes this a shorter hike, but my group started the trail on Grand Loop Road and the Fountain Flats drive, and made this a 9-10 mile hike in and out.
It was quite busy when you got to the main trail to the falls, and there was rarely a moment where you were all alone. This isn't necessarily bad, as you can converse with your fellow travelers and assess how packed it will be at the falls.
The falls was gorgeous and had a lot of water running off, with the local chipmunks and a raven hanging around while visitors moved in.

8 months ago

Super-easy trail that ends at a beautiful waterfall—or so you think. Continue a bit further past the falls, along the trail to the right, and you'll find yourself in Imperial Meadows. It's here where you can find both the Spray & Imperial geysers, nestled along a winding, rust-colored creek.

It seems nobody ventures past Fairy Falls, as we had both of these majestic geysers completely to ourselves—it was far more enjoyable than dealing with the crowds at Grand Prismatic.

9 months ago

An easy hike to do. Starts out great with views of Grand Prismatic Spring from above on the newly constructed platform which is fairly crowded. Most people turn back at that point so the trail isn't real busy to Mystic Falls. It's a fairly uneventful walk to the falls, but the falls themselves are very cool with an almost 200 foot drop to a pool beneath. I took the trail to Imperial Geyser which was fun to see as it erupts pretty regularly. Overall a nice easy hike though fairly hot in July with little shade so bring water.

9 months ago

Favorite trail I hiked at Yellowstone!

10 months ago

Great views

10 months ago

It was a little hard to find since we had no cell service the mass majority of the time way. Consider downloading the map beforehand. If you keep hiking past the waterfall you get to see some awesome geysers! It is close to a 6 mile hike in and out.

10 months ago

Easy hike with nice waterfall. Trail was crowded first week of august

Friday, June 16, 2017

Wasn't able to do this hike because it was closed. Supposedly it's closed for most of the year. Would have liked to know that.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Mixed emotions on this review, the walk to the falls is actually pretty boring, a very flat walk through a forest that was burned out years ago, probably would have been much more fun when there was big pine trees to look up to, but right now there is nothing to keep your attention. plus it get hot cause while there is little shade, it's not the same as an old growth forest, the fall them-self are OK, but would not go to see them again. THE GOOD part of this trail is the chance to see Grand Prismatic Springs from above, you do have to Hike up a pretty steep hill to accomplish this! Very cool sight, only do the falls if you have extra time on your hands

Thursday, February 11, 2016

make sure you go up the hill to see the grand prismatic spring.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Labeled as a hike, but it's more of a long walk. The falls were OK, but the walk to it for me had a fun 1000 pound interruption. I followed, from a safe distance, a docile looking bison for about a quarter mile on the trail.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

My favorite hike in Yellowstone. Relatively flat, not too long, and a beautiful waterfall. In the spring, the fall is usually ices over somewhat, which makes it even prettier. Best part of the hike is about half a mile in. Find a spot, and climb up the steep hill to see an overall view of the Grand Prismatic Spring. It's bright blue center with orange and red flames can't be seen in its entirety from the boardwalk. It's a little challenging to climb up the hill, but you don't have to go too far up to be rewarded with one of the best views in the park.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

An easy gravel trail with little elevation gain. It passes through a young forest and terminates at a beautiful waterfall.

Friday, September 25, 2015

This was my favorite hike in Yellowstone! It starts out on a very wide crowded trail. Look on the tops of the trees on the tops of the hills to the left for eagles! Past all of the do not climb signs is a small trail head that goes up the hillside for an amazing view of the Grand Prismatic Spring. Not far past that is a small sign for the turn off for Fairy Falls. The trail goes through pine forests and old burn areas. Watch for deer through here! Close to the falls the trail opens up to a view of the valley. Bring binoculars to look for buffalo! Fairy Falls was my favorite waterfall of all the falls we saw in the park! They were just amazing! If you continue less than a mile past the falls you will find 2 very active geysers and possibly more buffalo!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Although the hike to the falls isn’t particularly enjoyable, the falls themselves are pretty impressive. First segment of trail passes “picture hill,” a challenging scramble up to a great vantage point of Grand Prismatic Spring. Old freight road is wide, flat, and smooth. After turning left at junction, trail remains fairly flat and smooth, although no longer as wide. Several muddy areas just before the falls. Plan to spend some time at the pretty falls before beginning the rather nondescript stroll back to the trailhead. Although this trail receives pretty heavy use, carrying bear spray is always a good idea.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

This trail didn't get a high rating, but we were blown away. Totally missed the view of grand prismatic on the way out, but scrambled up the hill to see it on our way back in. Kept going when we got to fairy falls and were treated to a private show from Imperial Geyser - we were the only ones there for a while. Beautiful.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

This is a pretty good hike and well worth it. You can see the Grand Prismatic Springs and take a hike up the overlook which I highly recommend along the way. Take lots of water and a lot of film in your camera because you will be able to get up close to the beautiful Fairy Falls.

Friday, August 07, 2015

A nice hike to get away from all the tourists. We stopped at the area where you can overlook Grand Prismatic Spring and then we went on to Fairy Falls. We only saw 6 other people once we turned on the fairy falls trail. It was nice to get out and exercise our legs after being in the car most of the morning.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I followed another reviewers advice and left from the end of Fountain Flats Dr. They were correct that it is a much less crowded starting point, but you end up walking a good 30 minutes on a bike path that looks to be an old road or old railroad track. It's nice out there, but it's wide open and completely straight...so you can see the horizon forever and feel you're making no progress. If you want to make it a loop, then coming back you are on that open straight and wide track for an hour+. You get some nice views of the river to your right, but overall I don't like hiking on a straight and exposed road like that.

The UPSIDE is that when you turn right onto single track it's quite un-used and nice (though much of it open and exposed). You go past some geyser activity and we saw a Bison in the distance. The falls were very nice and the little extra excursion to Imperial Geyser was well worth it. It was clear that if we had started from the main start point that we would have had far more people on the bulk of the trail.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Easy trail but worth hiking to. Most people never leave their vehicles at yellowstone and this was a nice easy hike to a beatiful waterfall. Only a few other people were on this trail even though the park was extremely busy. Imperial Geyser and Sputtering Geyser are just a short walk past the falls and worth checking out. Nice hike if you want to get out of the car but not spend a full day hiking somewhere.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Best little waterfall ever!

Best time to go is in the spring or in the fall. During the peak summer season the parking lot is so full that you will be hiking to the trail head.... But if you can get there before the sun is fully up, you may get a parking spot. HOWEVER, you may not be able to get out once you get back to your car.
The trail its self is easy, really no elevation gain. It can be hot under the mid-day sun but a quick rain storm will easily fix that.
(tip: hike about 1/2 ml or so past the waterfall ( cross the creek at the falls) and there is an impressive thermal creek and a small geyser)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

We made a loop of this through the valley near Imperial Geyser. The walk to the falls through the regrowing forest helps you understand the role fire plays at Yellowstone. Imperial Geyser and nearby Sputtering Geyser is worth the extra walk just to enjoy a thermal feature without the crowds. The trail back to Grand Prismatic goes through a valley frequented by bison. Early morning should be a good time to see some. The trail has been obliterated in two points as new thermals have popped up. Finding the right track is not too hard as the trail appears to be an old road.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Leisure hike, even for seniors! Round trip was about 3.5 hours at a comfortably slow pace. The trail to the turnoff to Fairy Falls is a graveled maintenance road. From the turnoff it is a well layed out trail with a few muddy/mushy spots. The Falls were very full and the spray was cool and refreshing.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

This is another family-friendly trail. The trail goes through some former burn areas and therefore has very young trees. There were a few times I wished I had applied sunscreen. But the falls are pretty sweet.

Monday, September 23, 2013

This waterfall wasn't very fairy-like. I would recommend this "walk" (it's not a hike) to families with young children because it's easy, flat, and just a gravel road/trail. The waterfall is not as "amazing" as some would describe. It's just a waterfall

Thursday, August 22, 2013

If you want to do this hike, there are two ways. 1. Start at the parking lot labeled Fairy Falls. It is about .25 miles south of Grand Prismatic Springs. From there, it is about 2.5 miles to the Falls and you can come back. This parking area is VEERRYYY busy, probably second to only Old Faithful. I think a lot of people think this is the access to Grand Pris. Spring. IT IS NOT. (Although if you walk about .3 miles, and then up the hill you get a great view of Grand Pris. Spring; best in late afternoon from there). 2. The other place to start hiking to Fairy Falls is from a couple miles up the road to the North. Look for Fountain Flat Dr. Take that road about a mile until it dead ends. This is the other trail head. There are other trails that start here as well. From here it is about a 5-7 mile round trip, depending on if you make the loop or do the out&back. We made the loop and in my opinion, it's worth it. Hike straight up the gravel path, you'll see springs in the distance and there are many more to come. After about 20 min, you'll come to a bridge over a small river/creek. Immediately after passing the river/creek take the trail to your right. This will take you all the way to the falls. There are lots of things to see on the way. Colorful springs, large burned areas, the coolest bridge/planks type thingy you'll ever cross through a low flat marshy area, and then the falls. There's also Imperial Geyser back there. It's a bit off the path but well worth seeing. It erupts every 30 seconds or so. Pretty cool. After the falls you can go back or take the loop. To take the loop, go left at the base of the falls. That will take you through the forest all the way to Grand Pris. Spring, where you can take a left and walk all the way back down the gravel path to your car. This is also pretty secluded. Over the 7 mile hike we only saw about a dozen people. :)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

This trail is located closeby midway geyser basin. This is close to where people get the good shots of grand prismatic spring if u hike up a small hill off the trail. On the way to this trail u get beautiful shots of a lake, a sideview of the smoke/steam coming off of the gps. Keep going about a mile or so and u reach the fairy falls trailhead. I didn't complete the whole 7 miles. We hiked to the waterfall and that's what we wanted to se I think if u keep going there's a few geysers and old roads. Pretty easy hike. The waterfall is 197 feet. Simple but beautiful :)

Saturday, March 09, 2013

In 1986, I remember my first hike to Fairy Falls was on a trail that went through mature woodland because the area had yet to be hit by the North Fork Fire that occurred two years later. On the second excursion, I was amazed at an altered more open landscape, the regrowth of a young forest, and Fairy Falls was as pretty as ever. Matter of fact, Fairy Falls is the most beautiful waterfall I have ever seen. But dont take my word for it, go see for yourself.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Great first hike in the park. Go the extra 0.65 mile to see imperial geyser with its frequent erruptions.

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