The Dye Clan
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  • TR: Jul 2011

Fairy Falls Hike

Zac and Bryce on the hike to Fairy Falls.

The hike to Fairy Falls is very easy despite its length. The trail passes Grand Prismatic Spring, and 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. Fairy Falls is 197 ft tall.

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Waypoints

Waypoint Latitude Longitude Description
Turquoise Pool -110.8376951309841 44.52669771332705  
Opal Pool -110.8386880392667 44.52672052345072  
Grand Prismatic Spring -110.8381570740855 44.52513915980422  
Excelsior Geyser Crater -110.8366827010354 44.52634637218745  
Good Place to Take Pictures From -110.84003332469 44.52357459687963  
Turn Left -110.8424084517074 44.52711871591354  
Fairy Falls -110.8699751833196 44.52503172083301  
Imperial Geyser -110.8762731044259 44.5317949814764  
Spray Geyser -110.8734373113416 44.53175434110435  

Trip Report: July 14, 2011

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. Fairy Falls is 197 ft tall.

The trailhead for the Fairy Falls hike is 1.3 miles south of the Midway Geyser Basin. Cross the Firehole River bridge.

Hike to Fairy Falls
Hike to Fairy Falls
Hike to Fairy Falls
Hike to Fairy Falls
Hike to Fairy Falls

Continue north along the old freight road as it makes its way behind Midway Geyser Basin.

Hike to Fairy Falls
Hike to Fairy Falls

Notice the brilliant colors of the Grand Prismatic Spring ahead on the right. Early visitors to the park were told it was ?so dazzling that the eye cannot endure it.? Most of the colors you see are caused by algae, which thrives in the hot spring water at temperatures up to 167° F. At that temperature, the algae is normally a light yellow color. Soon orange, red and finally green algae are found near the outer edge of the spring.

Hike to Fairy Falls
Hike to Fairy Falls

At the 1-mile mark, the trail turns left, leaves the freight road, and enters the forest.

Hike to Fairy Falls
Hike to Fairy Falls

Virtually all of this trail has been affected by the fires of 1988. As devastated as this forest may appear, it is not dead. In fact, by some measures it is more alive than before. Yellowstone was covered by aging lodgepole pine trees. This ?lodgepole desert,? as some called it, supported relatively few species of plants and animals.

Hike to Fairy Falls

The fires opened up the overhead canopy and cleared the cluttered forest floor. Within weeks, grasses and other plant life began sprouting, and small animals began feeding on the feast of seeds dropped during the fire. Hawks, in turn, traveled great distances to prey on these vulnerable animals. Burned trees attracted insects that in turn attracted a variety of birds.

Hike to Fairy Falls

Listen for the sounds of a forest alive.

Hike to Fairy Falls
Hike to Fairy Falls
Hike to Fairy Falls
Hike to Fairy Falls
Hike to Fairy Falls
Hike to Fairy Falls
Hike to Fairy Falls
Hike to Fairy Falls
Hike to Fairy Falls
Hike to Fairy Falls
Hike to Fairy Falls
Hike to Fairy Falls
Hike to Fairy Falls

Much of the trail is dark gray from obsidian.

Hike to Fairy Falls
Hike to Fairy Falls
Hike to Fairy Falls
Hike to Fairy Falls
Hike to Fairy Falls
Hike to Fairy Falls

At the 2.5-mile mark, you will reach Fairy Falls. Fairy Creek shoots out over the edge of the Madison Plateau and plunges 197 feet. Members of the 1871 Hayden Survey named it for the ?graceful beauty with which the little stream dropped down a clear descent.?

Hike to Fairy Falls
Hike to Fairy Falls
Hike to Fairy Falls
Hike to Fairy Falls

When you are finished exploring, return via the same route you came.