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Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
8.85 mi (14.24 km)
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Undine Falls in Yellowstone National Park is easily and often viewed from the road, but the 8.85-mile round-trip hike up Lava Creek Trail is a great way to view not only the falls but the beautiful Gardner River and Lava Creek canyons as well.

The hike starts out by heading into Gardner Canyon. After crossing a suspension bridge over Lava Creek the trail heads east through tall sagebrush. The hike contours under the broad Mount Everts. Mount Everts was once the basin of a valley, but rapid lifting and erosion from the Gardiner River have created the impressive mountain you see today. The multiple layers of ridge tuff, shale and sea bed sediments are an impressive visual example of the rich geologic history of Yellowstone. Wildflowers often fill the floodplain of the creek and offer nice opportunities for a creekside snack or a cool dip.  Lava Creek is a clear cold creek, providing great fish habitat, while lush islands provide forage for large game like elk, bison and bears. Remember to give all these animals plenty of space if you encounter them on the trails. The trail provides great views of Undinde Falls. Once you reach the falls, simply return to the trailhead on the Lava Creek Trail.

Lava Creek flows over Undine Falls in three steps for about 65 feet. Flows are highest in the spring due to snowmelt, making Undine Falls a popular place for early season visitors. It can also be viewed in the winter because it is on one of the few roads that is open in the park during the winter months.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

National Park Pass

Pros

Big game watching. Beautiful falls.

Cons

Gets hot early in the season.

Trailhead Elevation

6,552.00 ft (1,997.05 m)

Net Elevation Gain

825.00 ft (251.46 m)

Features

Backcountry camping
Waterfalls
Wildlife
Bird watching
Big Game Watching
Big vistas
Wildflowers
Fishing
Geologically significant

Typically multi-day

No

Suitable for

Horseback

Location

Field Guide + Map

Comments

05/08/2018
FYI: The first line of the hike description says it is in Yosemite :-)
08/04/2017
Good catch, Stephanie, thanks!
08/04/2017
The Lava Creek Trail only has about an 800 ft net gain, not 5700 ft.
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