If you are in Yellowstone and wanting to see hot springs and nice waterfall all in short day hike, the Mystic Falls hike is a great option. The most direct route to the falls is only a 1.2 mile, 30 minute walk (one-way) on a flat trail. If you want a bit more exercise you can make a loop out of it by hiking up the switchbacks to Biscuit Basin Overlook for a nice view of the area (adds an extra mile to the journey).
Biscuit Basin Boardwalk
The hike to Mystic Falls begins from Biscuit Basin, a thermal area that is home to several beautiful hot springs and small geysers in the Upper Geyser Basin area. One of the most scenic is Sapphire Pool shown below – it is as crystal blue as the name implies.
The dirt trail to Mystic Falls starts from the far end of the boardwalk and is clearly marked.
Trail to the Falls
Shortly after leaving the boardwalk and there is a junction where you can choose:
Left: flat, direct path to the falls (0.7 miles)
Right: a longer loop that goes up some switchbacks to an overlook of Biscuit Basin (1.7 miles + 500 vertical feet of elevation gain)
– The parking at the Biscuit Basin trailhead is pretty limited so you may have to loop around several times before finding a spot, or it might be best to go during off-peak times.
– It’s always a wise idea to carry bear spray when hiking in Yellowstone. During the summer the trail is pretty busy so the chance of a dangerous bear encounter is probably lower than other trails in the park, but still it’s not a bad idea to carry bear spray.
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