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Lava Creek Canyon Trail to Undine Falls

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Yellowstone National Park

Lava Creek Canyon Trail to Undine Falls is a 8.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until September. Horses are also able to use this trail.

Length 8.7 mi Elevation gain 1,177 ft Route type Out & Back
Kid friendly Backpacking Camping Cross country skiing Fishing Hiking Horseback riding Snowshoeing River Waterfall Wild flowers Wildlife Over grown Washed out No dogs
Waypoints (0)
Contact
Getting There

Yellowstone National Park PO Box 168 Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168 307-344-7381 (recorded information and an option to speak with someone) Additional info: http://www.nps.gov/yell/contacts.htm Idaho Travel Council, P.O. Box 83720, 700 West State Street , Boise, ID, 83720-0093, Phone: 208-334-2470

Directions from Mammoth Campground: Travel north 4.4 miles to the bridge at Lava Creek picnic area on the Mammoth-Tower Road. Leave a vehicle at the Lava Creek Trailhead, a marked pullout just south of the campground at Mammoth.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (31)
Photos (81)
Recordings (25)
Completed (106)
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Michael H Hual
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Hiking
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Jared Resnick
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Hiking

Ok, let’s clear up a couple things before discussing the hike: 1) This should just be called Lava Creek Canyon Trail that leads you to The falls 2) If you call the ranger station, at least that’s what they call it, because that’s it’s name 3) Don’t start in the campground, start where the trailhead clearly begins as there is a sign and a trailhead marked just for you 4) If you are coming in from the North Entrance, the trail head is clearly marked with a sign on your left. 5) If you reach Mammoth Campgrounds (on your right), you have gone too far 6) Mammoth Campgrounds is currently closed, parking there and starting isn’t even an option Now the hike: It’s breathtaking. You drop into a canyon and follow the river where you will see tons of wildlife, amazing wildflowers and nature blossoming in every direction. We saw two people on the hike. One a runner who was there and then gone and a fly fisherman who wasn’t even on the trail. There is a awesome suspension walking bridge shortly after beginning that takes you over the river and it is just beautiful. In the beginning the hike is rolling hills but the last mile+ is uphill. Straight up hill. We just climbed an 11k peak last week and this was not a little jaunt in the park. You need a lot of water. Double what you think you need as that summer sun coupled with summer wind will hide just how dehydrated you really are. All trails posts this as approx 8.3 miles. We clocked it a touch over 9 round trip. I think the estimated time is a little on the embellished side of things. I am sure you can do it in 3.5 hours but let’s remember that you need to be watching out for wildlife and be on the lookout for Prairie Rattlers this time of year. I highly recommend a walking stick in the tall grass to tap the ground, rocks and bushes. All said, this is a fantastic hike, but not one I would recommend for the beginner or someone that hasn’t spent a little time prior to the hike at an altitude over 6k. The views are unrivaled and the falls at the end are a treat. Well not really the end, surprise...now you gotta hoof it back.

Comment from AllTrails

- 2 months ago

The route has been updated. Thanks for the feedback!

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Grace Noonan
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Hiking

Awesome trail! Somewhat hard to follow in the beginning, but head south upstream of the river and you should be fine. We were the only ones on the trail and even saw a full buffalo carcass as well as a marmot! Great experience with an awesome view of the falls at the end!

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Kristen Baldauf
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Hiking

We did the end of the trail from the road to undine falls- it was just 1 mile round trip and super easy. Highly recommend- no mud either! Quick 20 min hike.

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Felix Boehme
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Hiking

Bison, Bald Eagle, Swanson's Hawk

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Kate Best
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HikingRocky
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Catherine Anthony
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Hiking

8/17/2018. We hiked this trail from the lava creek trail head parking lot out towards Undine Falls and back again. Steep downhill to get to the suspension bridge crossing the Gardiner River - a fun trail addition, especially the signs warning people not to try and get their horses to cross the bridge! You’ll walk through tall sagebrush and grasses, so be sure you have bug spray as well as your bear spray. We ran into three other hikers and spotted some elk grazing by the river. The trail shows signs of being VERY muddy earlier in the year, making the footing somewhat difficult. Hikers and large wildlife had churned it up pretty good, and it dried into a lumpy mess. Boots are a must here. We saw lots of signs of wildlife and an elk carcass, but no large animal sightings except the two elk. We started our hike at 9:30 am. Very pretty scenery along the river and at one spot in the trail you are close enough to get down to it.

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Sandra Conklin
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Hiking

Hiked from Lava Creek Trailhead to Mammoth Campground. It's almost all downhill this direction. Had the trail to ourselves; a rarity in Yellowstone. Beautiful, easy 4 miles.

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Etienne Tardy
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Hiking

Wildflowers were at their peak for a good 1.5 miles of the trail. Trail was pretty easy until the last .5 mile and doesn’t bring you right to the waterfall as expected. We went off trail and walked across creek to new trail to a road by the Undine Falls lookout. Saw quite a bit of wildlife and definitely enjoyed the suspension bridge which was early on.

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Megan Neihouse
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We started at trailhead near Undine falls. Hiked to get a closer view of falls about 1/2 mile

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Christopher Naoum
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Hiking

We left one car at Mammoth visitors center and drove the other to the trailhead. This was a great trail with amazing views. It dips down by the Uline Falls close to the top and then you essentially walk downhill all the way to the Gardener river where you cross on an extension bridge. This is where most would turn back but if you are going one way only, note that you need to walk around the construction area and through the Mammoth Campground.

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Priscilla Palmer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 4, 2015
Hiking

Leaving from Mammoth Campground around 2:30 PM, we walked down the hillside, crossed North Entrance road (Highway 89), to make our way to the Lava Creek trailhead. We made our descent down towards the Gardner River. The trail is not always well marked, so we built a few trail cairns from rocks as we went along in order to mark the way back. It helps to have a good map, and be fairly good at orienteering. Parts of the trail were in rather poor condition. A heavy rain that had created mud, and then was heavily traveled, not by humans but by the wildlife in the area. We rarely saw a human footprint, so if you would like a lightly human-traveled trail, this is the one. We did not see another person on the trail. The trail needed some maintenance to be called easy. I would place it at moderate with the conditions we traveled. We did not bring our hiking poles thinking that it would be easier than it was. My suggestion would be to bring a hiking pole for at least the comfort of having it along if needed. The trail is heavily traveled by unseen wildlife. We saw evidence of a large kill such as elk or bison (vertebrae) by the side of the trail. (See photo.) The trail was churned up from wildlife use after bad rain and in some places could be an ankle twister if not careful. On our return, the rain started but it was mostly a soft misty rain. My favorite parts of the hike were the suspension bridge and seeing Undine Falls. My boyfriend's favorite parts of the hike were also the suspension bridge and the elk that we saw on the hike back to the campground. We did a lot of singing on the trail (bear deterrent) and the elk were very curious about us. They just looked though, and didn't move towards us. NOTE: Great views of Gardiner River and Undine Falls. On the return, a good far off view of Mammoth. We got back to camp with a bit of cushion before dark; probably around 7 PM. The churned up trail made our hike longer than the 3 hours indicated.

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Wayne Dore
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Hiking
First to Review

Finding the trail head was a little tricky. But once I got there, I discovered that there were apparently two trail heads that converge near a suspension bridge. I began the trail near a small, wobbly suspension bridge over Gardner River. I wasn't bothered by the bridge having crossed other suspension bridges before. From there, I hiked along the river through sage brush to the convergence of Lava Creek and Gardner River, and walked along it through the canyon. Along the trail I saw mule deer, elk, bison, and a bald eagle. I saw old paw prints of black bear and coyote along the trail. There are a lot of basalt and travertine rocks strewn everywhere too. Near the waterfall is a moderately steep walk up to the shelf next to the waterfall. The waterfall is approximately 100 feet tall in 3 tiers. I could literally walk close to the brink. From that vantage point, I could see the Undine Falls pullout vantage point too. During warm and hot weather, I recommend head gear since part of the trail is through tall sagebrush, where ticks like to base jump to their victims.

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ctravels 123
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Road biking
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Emma Hurt
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Hiking
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Barbora Habalová
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Hiking
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Eric Bateman
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Hiking
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Eric Bateman
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Eric Bateman
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Eric Bateman
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Thomas Kissack
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Hiking
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Priyanka Badlani
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Gabriel Perez
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Joyce Devaud
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Hiking
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Jake Clifford
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Bradley Hughes
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Jim Bosco
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Hiking
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MICHAEL UNITT
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Thales Prescivalle
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Mark Powell
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