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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.

Length 6.5 mi Elevation gain 387 ft Route type Out & Back

Kid friendly

Hiking

Nature trips

Walking

Bird watching

Running

Forest

Hot springs

River

Views

Waterfall

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Muddy

Rocky

No dogs

Description
Waypoints (6)
Facilities
Contact
Tips
Getting There

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.

Two different parking areas are available.

Wyoming Business Council Tourism Office, Frank Norris Jr. Travel Center, I-25 & College Drive , Cheyenne, WY, 82002-0660, Phone: 307-777-7777, Fax: 307-777-6472

Plan on hiking for about 2-3 hours round trip if you turn around at the falls. Alternatively, you can continue on past Fairy Falls to Spray Geyser and Imperial Geyser. This will add another hour to your trip. Bring plenty of water and good shoes. This trail is fairly popular, but the dense trees make it so you don't notice the other hikers.

This trail located north of the Old Faithful area.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (143)
Photos (426)
Recordings (87)
Completed (862)
Colin Parks-Fried
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 11, 2020
HikingGreat!

Get out there early. Gets crowded quickly. Crowd thins as you move along. Then increases on way back. Gravel trail most of the way until you get to falls. Walk from parking to trail head +1mile and not included in mileage. Imperial geyser definitely worth the extra hike.

Angela C
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Hiking
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Matthew Quinn
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 6, 2020
HikingGreat!

Busy but pleasant hike. Recommend continuing on to Imperial Geyser after Fairy Falls because everybody stops at the Falls. Our group of 7 had an hour to relax and have lunch next to the Imperial Geyser completely alone - it has a beautiful colour scheme and erupts (maybe 4-6 feet) every couple of minutes. We had our own private show completely undisturbed. Definitely worth the extra effort.

Matt Wirth
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 6, 2020
Hiking
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Stewart Carnes
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 1, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful touristy hike to the falls. Very few people continued on to Imperial Geyser.

Jacob Orona
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 26, 2020
Hiking

Very cool hike. It gets less crowded the further in you go. Most people stop at the falls and turn around. Only to miss the best part at the end. The cage free geyser. We tried this hike last year and turned around immediately because we got eaten alive by bugs. This time however it wasn’t bad. I think it was because it hadn’t rained in a while so their wasn’t as many mosquitos. We also took some big spray that helped. So maybe pick a day when it hasn’t rained for a while. Just my guess. Awesome hike

Claire Kredens
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 21, 2020
BugsGreat!

bring your bug spray:-)

Randi Brunt
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 21, 2020
Hiking

Much of the trail is through a wooded area with not much of a view, but it is peaceful. The falls are beautiful and you can get right up in there. The trail continuing on to Imperial geyser goes through a grassy meadow and the trail takes you right next to the geyser which has a rainbow of colors. Fun, easy hike. We went early to beat the crowds.

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KRIS D
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 18, 2020
Hiking

Do this counterclockwise. The best feature of this trail is imperial geyser. Not the “waterfall”. We were swarmed in the giant meadow by biting flies. They are not impeded by bug spray. These bites are way worse than mosquitos. I don’t think it’s necessary to to this loop unless you’re a huge fan of open meadows. Just walk out to imperial geyser and back. This type of geyser is always having mini eruptions so it’s not one you have to time correctly. Make you you add the little walk up to grandprismatic overlook. Is super weird it’s not included on this loops since it’s the best and most popular thing on this route. Just follow the masses.

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Ryan Smith
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 16, 2020
Hiking

A great hike sampling the finest Yellowstone has to offer: the largest hot springs in the U.S., a beautiful 200 ft waterfall, and an incredible backcountry geyser that’s way more impressive that more popular ones like Old Faithful. A must!

Susan Brennan
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HikingBugs

5 star if you go to Geyser. Geyser is no miss. Very few people travel and geothermal properties are amazing. Must also do overlook of Grand Prismatic.

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Ryan Shainline
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 3, 2020
Hiking

We really enjoyed this hike. Mosquitos are out of control so be sure to cover up as much as possible and spray yourself down from top to bottom with bug spray. That aside, it really was a great time. Enjoy.

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Clisby White
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 28, 2020

(Summer 2018) Great trail to take to see a geyser without so many people crowding the experience. I didn't see a single other person for the several hours I sat out there and relaxed. I don't think many people even knew it was out there and just turned back after the falls. This thing is really cool and "erupts" for like 10 minutes with only very short breaks in between. If you climb the hill behind it you can see the geyser, fairy falls and the grand prismatic all at once. The trail was flat and the only semi difficult part was crossing the stream at the falls to continue on. Definitely worth the trip.

Charles Greenleaf
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 3, 2020
Hiking

the path to the falls is very popular and very easy. stop at the overlook for the prismatic pool and keep going to the geysers past the falls. all of this hike is beautiful and well worth the time

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Erin Wolfe
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Hiking

We did this as a family of 17 last summer with 9 kids ages 7-14 and it was fantastic!! It’s wooded a good part of the way, so not overly sunny but bring your really good mosquito spray! Between Fairy Falls and Imperial geyser was a big field where buffalo had clearly been recently (but none when we were there) so there was fresh-ish scat that was a BIG hit with all of the kids. There were mud pots as well. Highly recommend!

jeffrey swiderski
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 2, 2019
HikingMuddySnow
Lucas Gonzaga
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 24, 2019
Hiking

Definitely not intermediate hike but clearly an easy hike. It is flat all the way to the imperial geyser. You will hike through a very young forest (it burned a couple of years ago) with small trees until the fall. The fall is not the best i've seen but it was fair. The geyser though is pretty awesome. I recommend you to walk the very steep slope (if you feel doing it) on the other side of the geyser to have a better view of the geyser and the basin if you go a little bit further, it worth the 10min extra. Beware while going down on the way back it can be slippery but not dangerous if you take care and have hiking shoes.

Mark Bitter
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 5, 2019
Hiking

Nice, easy hike with a view of Grand Prismatic Spring along the way. Definitely go the extra distance from Fairy Falls to Imperial Geyser, well worth it.

DK Kadyrov
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 13, 2019
Hiking

just great, 7 miles in total

View DK's Recording
Bannon Giessen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 22, 2019
HikingMuddy

Be ready to walk across logs or go off trail a bit to get around some muddy pools. The waterfall is splendid, and most of the hike to the waterfall itself is tight packed woods so you needn't worry too much about the sun.

Robyn Larsen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 18, 2019
HikingMuddyNo shade

We had intended to do the shorter Fairy Falls trail but somehow didn’t notice the turn off. Turned out to be a very happy accident. The longer trail had almost no traffic and walked right past a cute little geyser. There’s also a section that was basically walking on balance beams. Not a lot of trees for shade but we had a great view of the falls for miles as we hiked to them. It was muddy in places but not too bad. Mostly flat so it wasn’t too bad hiking/walking 4 more miles than we intended to. We really loved this one.

Matthew Oranges
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 11, 2019
HikingBugsMuddy

Samantha Lewis’s review below nailed it. The hike starts off relatively mundane (and crowded due to its ease) but gets much better closer to the falls, which provide some nice shade and spray to cool down on a hotter day. To go past the falls and on to the geyser (there are two, one that isn’t accessible from the trail and one that is), you have to double back a bit and cross the river to pick the trail back up, which wasn’t a difficult crossing (plenty of downed trees across as bridges). Highly recommend continuing on, as you get very up close and personal to a very active geyser (smaller than Old Faithful but without the long wait!). We also continued up the short steep hill behind the geyser which gave some great panoramic views of the geyser and falls, as well as the valley. A fellow hiker mentioned a pretty lily pad lake further on, but somehow a bison had wandered his way up the hill and cut us off so we couldn’t see ourselves. It had rained in Yellowstone a few days prior to our visit and the trail was still muddy in parts but very manageable with boots and easy to navigate around as needed. I’d recommend bringing some bug spray - they were killers once in the wooded section and we had to save several fellow hikers out there who neglected to bring some along! Overall a very nice hike with great views and not overly challenging (especially with moderate weather).

Kate Garazha
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 2, 2019

Stunning, really loved it

Adam Knapp
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 4, 2018

Hiked to the prismatic overlook, and then finished on this trail. Totaled about 10 miles. The imperial geyser was the highlight of the trip. Hike was pretty boring compared to other hikes, but was very easy. Worth seeing the geyser over the falls or prismatic.

Doug Geiger
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 24, 2018

Had to scramble into the woods to let a herd of bison pass. The falls are spectacular.

Janine Forrest
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 14, 2018

started before 9 so had trail to ourselves most of the time (so nice given how busy it can get at midway!).. easy walk to falls and 2 geysers.. go up the hill for great view of imperial geyser.. we did the loop and walked through meadow back to the fountain trail - saw 3 bison and just kept following the orange square guides - felt very isolated in wide open meadows and geysers so was great although started getting pretty hot.. walk back on fountain flats path to midway parking lot was uneventful.. stopped for lunch at firehole river...

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