EveryTrail is now a part of AllTrails! Please click here to read more.

Fairy Creek Trail to Imperial Geyser

EASY 72 reviews
#14 of 217 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.

Distance: 6.5 miles Elevation Gain: 387 feet Route Type: Out & Back

kid friendly


nature trips

trail running


bird watching


hot springs




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

Stunning, really loved it

7 months ago

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.

11 months ago

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

11 months ago

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...

11 months ago

Wasn’t super impressed with the views of grand prismatic spring. A nice short incline but very crowded.

11 months ago

I'm giving this 5 stars, but with a caveat: the initial part of the hike is very boring and very crowded. The best part is the falls and beyond, so the beginning/end of the hike are a bit of a drudge. The geyser is totally worth it, though. Leaving the parking lot, it's a wide, flat gravel trail. There's tons of people heading up to the overlook. You walk alongside the springs which is nice. There were lots of muddy parts, but they're easy to get around. The trail then passes through a sparse forest for a while. There's really nothing interesting to see here and I was somewhat regretting choosing this hike. The portion approaching the falls (less than 0.25 miles) is very rocky, but still mostly flat. Getting up to the falls you need to climb over some logs. The falls were also crowded around midday. You can climb over some logs and rocks to get closer to the falls. I also climbed a bit up the side, which I'd only recommend if you have good shoes and are comfortable with a bit of climbing as it's steep and the footing is loose. To continue, you need to cross over the little stream via logs. It's not too bad and the water isn't deep so you could just wade through it, but this may be a problem if you need more stability when walking. As of 7/2, the trail is very muddy in the portions leading up to and away from the falls. There are logs and boards, but you'll still probably get your shoes a little muddy. The trail continues through a meadow and more forest. The trail here is more interesting but still mostly flat. If you continue clockwise you'll arrive at the Imperial Geyser. This geyser erupts very frequently, making it well worth the trip! You can get right up next to it. I saw very few people throughout this part of the hike, so it really felt like a hidden gem. There's a hill next to the geyser that's not part of the trail, but you can climb up it to get a great overhead view. As a warning, the hill is very steep and the footing is loose. That portion is difficult and strenuous, but it's not part of the trail and is totally optional. Continuing past the geyser, you walk along a very interesting creek and pass another geyser in the distance. You can continue back at this point, but I'd recommend taking a brief detour into the meadow. (You reach a fork: right goes back to the falls, straight goes on to the meadow.) I walked for about a mile into the meadow and saw no one else. I believe this trail eventually goes to the Imperial Meadows campground. The trail through the meadow is obvious and easy to follow. You get a distance view of the falls and a panoramic view with lots of wildflowers. I also saw a lone bison playing in the distance, which was beautiful. Overall the easy rating for this hike is accurate. There are a couple of tricky points around the falls, but they're doable for most people including kids. The falls and geyser are definitely worth the long gravel part of the trail. Keep in the trailhead from the parking lot off the Grand Loop road is very popular since it leads to the overlook of the prismatic springs. When I arrived around 11 AM, the parking lot was full and most of the parking alongside the road was also. I think there's high turnover, but you'll spend a lot of time waiting. I parked at a pullout about a third of a mile away and walked alongside the road.

11 months ago

Absolutely love this trail! Fairly level the entire way through and the scenery is beautiful! Plus there aren’t usually a lot of people.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Best hike and geysers in the park!! Forget old faithful. This one is way cooler. We were the only people at geysers at 10. Everyone else seemed not to know about them and not well marked so this app is important

Monday, December 25, 2017

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

Monday, October 02, 2017

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.

Monday, September 25, 2017

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.

Monday, September 18, 2017

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.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Favorite trail I hiked at Yellowstone!

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Great views

Friday, August 04, 2017

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.

Friday, August 04, 2017

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)

Load More

Featured Trails