Wraith Falls is not going to win any waterfall awards. It is neither the biggest or boldest in the park. However, what Wraith Falls does is make a drive by and see the sights vacation to let’s get out of the car and see some nature. It is a short, all age hike, with a nice award at the end. Located just five miles east of Mammoth Hot Springs on the Grand Loop Road. There is a small parking lot on the south side where the trailhead starts for this perfect family hike. Wraith Falls is a great choice for those that have children that do not want to leave the car. Short enough there should not be too much complaining. Long enough that they might see something worthwhile.
With the roundtrip distance of a mile the Wraith Falls Trail is as easy as it is pleasant. A nice flat boardwalk and dirt trail goes most of the way. Just at the very end this is a small hill to climb to see the falls. I enjoyed the incline. I know that sounds crazy but because I had to work just a little for it made me enjoy the view a little more. If it would have been too easy I would have just taken it for granted.
Wraith Falls is a white bulb-shaped cascade that spooked the early surveyors just enough to give it is ghostly name. A 100-foot cascade created by Lupine Creek as it flows and spreads out over a rocky hillside. The water level will change during the season going from one solid stream of water to two. I have even read that there have been years when it ran dry. Though I have never seen that happen past visits.
On two previous visits we have had some luck with seeing wildlife right off the trail. One year there was a large male elk grazing in the meadow. While another time two young boys were running excitedly to their parents yelling that they had seen a beaver. Which actually turned out to be a yellow bellied marmot that was getting a little sun on a nearby boulder. Unfortunately, on this last visit our only visitor was a chipmunk. Just goes to show you that you never know what you are going to get.
Wraith Falls is a very nice family friendly trail. Not too far, and definitely not too hard. It is a popular trail but it is amazing to see the number of people that will not go just because it is not visible from the parking lot. So you will not have the trail to yourself, however it will be less crowded than some of other destinations.
Distance 1-mile roundtrip
Difficulty Level: Easy
- Waterfalls of Yellowstone
There are many waterfalls in Yellowstone National Park to choose from, some are roadside falls like Moose Falls, Gibbon Falls, Rustic Falls, Undine Falls, Lewis Falls and of course the extraordinary Upper and Lower Falls while others require a hike to see like Lost Creek Falls, Fairy Falls or Mystic Falls. Whatever your plans are when you visit Yellowstone National Park make sure you seek out some of the great waterfalls that can be found in the park.
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