Mystic Falls is a popular hike in the Old Faithful area. The easy-to-moderate level hike offers not only views of the 70-foot tall cascading namesake but also of Biscuit Basin and the Upper Geyser Basin. One of the 45 named waterfalls or cascades within Yellowstone National Park, Mystic Falls is created by the plunge of the Firehole River off of the Madison Plateau and down into Biscuit Basin. The entire length of this hike passes through forest previously burned in the 1988 wildlfires.
What Makes It Great
This trail begins at the Biscuit Basin Trailhead. From the parking lot, first cross the Firehole River via a trail bridge and locate the Biscuit Basin boardwalk. Stay on the boardwalk until you see the Little Firehole Meadows Trail. Turn left onto the Little Firehole Meadows Trail and follow it past the junction with the Summit Lake Trail. At 0.6 miles from the trailhead, turn right onto the Mystic Falls Trail. This trail takes hikers to both Mystic Falls and a small overlook above them.
Past the overlook the trail climbs to the next junction. Turn right onto the Fairy Creek Trail and stay on this trail to reach a small, fenced overlook with sweeping views of the Firehole River, Biscuit Basin, Old Faithful, and the Upper Geyser Basin.
After soaking in the views continue east past the overlook. Here, the trail drops steeply and brings hikers back to the Mystic Falls Trail. Simply retrace your steps on the Mystic Falls Trail to rejoin the Little Firehole Meadows Trail and a return to the Biscuit Basin boardwalk. While the amount of junctions may seem confusing, the short loop is actually easy to navigate. The combination of Mystic Falls followed by great views make this hike well worth it.
Who is Going to Love It
Beginner hikers looking to stray off the boardwalks and developed sites of the Old Faithful area and associated geyser basins will love this hike. The short climb, and several trail junctions to navigate, can add an element of discovery and suspense to what could otherwise be another short stroll. Much like Observation Point, the view of the Firehole River and the Upper Geyser Basin from the fenced overlook on this hike should come with a feeling of accomplishment for the beginner hiker. Have your camera ready too –the proof is always in the picture from up top.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From Old Faithful: Drive 1.8 miles north and park in the Biscuit Basin parking area on the west side of the road. Parking is free with an Entrance Pass.
Stay on the trails and boardwalks in all Yellowstone National Park geyser basins. People have been injured or have died as the result of coming in contact with boiling water in Yellowstone National Park. Scalding water underlies most of the thin, breakable crust in thermal areas.