Lost Creek Falls (Lost Falls)

Yellowstone National Park / Roosevelt / Park County, Wyoming, USA

Rating: 1     Difficulty: 1.5
Lost Creek Falls

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

Lost Creek Falls (I've also seen it called Lost Falls) was a light-flowing 40ft waterfall that sat quietly in a shadowy forest and mini-canyon right behind the Roosevelt Lodge. Its wispy flow suggested to me that it was a seasonal waterfall though on my latest visit in August 2017, it still had a healthy (albeit light) flow as you can see in the photo at the top of this page. Anyways, in a park where almost every attraction that was anywhere close to the main roads were crowded or lacked the peace and tranquility you'd hope for in a Nature outing, this waterfall presented such a refreshingly quiet and relaxing experience both times that I've done it. That said, the relative lack of human traffic meant that there was an increased likelihood of a bear encounter, and on our first visit to the park in June 2004, there just so happened to be a pair of cubs causing a bear jam close to the Roosevelt Junction!

According to The Guide to Yellowstone Waterfalls and Their Discovery, the falls got its name from geologist W.H. Holmes back in 1878 when he surmised that Lost Creek sunk out of sight in meadows further downstream before eventually joining the Yellowstone River. I'd imagine that in addition to waterfall hunters, this waterfall would also be a nice short hike for those staying at the Roosevelt Lodge. According to my GPS logs, the trail was about 0.8 miles round trip (0.4 miles each way), and I was able to complete it in a little over a half-hour.

After finding parking at the Roosevelt Lodge (see directions below), I followed a path that went between the main building and some of the cabins, and then approached a sign pointing the way to "Lost Creek Trail". After a few paces away from the cabins and deeper into the forest, I then encountered a signposted junction where the path on the right went to Lost Lake while the path on the left went to Lost Creek Falls. As I took the path on the left, further traces of civilization were now either non-existent or very sparse. The narrowing path was now flanked by low-lying shrubs as well as trees before it started to bend to the left following alongside Lost Creek itself. I noticed some wildflowers as well as berries growing alongside the trail, which indicated to me that grizzly bears would forage here to fatten up for the Winter.

At about 0.3 miles from Roosevelt Lodge, I reached the signposted "End of Trail", but the view from here of Lost Creek Falls left a lot to be desired. So I followed some fairly obvious footpath further upstream where the footing was looser (due to fallen rocks and deadfalls) before it eventually disappeared into Lost Creek itself. Once I reached the base of the falls, I was able to attain the photograph you see at the top of this page, while being surrounded by basalt-like cliffs that gave rise to the waterfall's vertical drop. With the terrain being so rugged around the falls, I had no desire to do any more scrambling to improve the views so I headed back the way I came.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

This pair of bear cubs caused quite the traffic jam in the Roosevelt area, which was near where Lost Falls was located. The presence of these bears was also a reminder to be bear aware on the hikeThis pair of bear cubs caused quite the traffic jam in the Roosevelt area, which was near where Lost Falls was located. The presence of these bears was also a reminder to be bear aware on the hike
The Calcite Springs Overlook was south of Roosevelt and Tower, and apparently it was a spot for spotting some eagles nesting in the distance as well as seeing this bend in the Yellowstone RiverThe Calcite Springs Overlook was south of Roosevelt and Tower, and apparently it was a spot for spotting some eagles nesting in the distance as well as seeing this bend in the Yellowstone River
Roosevelt Lodge was apparently a convenient base for excursions into Lamar Valley, which was oen of the prime wildlife viewing spots as well as a noted area for spotting wolvesRoosevelt Lodge was apparently a convenient base for excursions into Lamar Valley, which was oen of the prime wildlife viewing spots as well as a noted area for spotting wolves
Scoring a parking spot at the Roosevelt LodgeScoring a parking spot at the Roosevelt Lodge

Walking around the main building of Roosevelt Lodge, I then saw this sign pointing the way to the Lost Creek TrailsWalking around the main building of Roosevelt Lodge, I then saw this sign pointing the way to the Lost Creek Trails

Looking back towards the Roosevelt Lodge complexLooking back towards the Roosevelt Lodge complex

The signposted trail junction where going right led to Lost Lake while going left led to Lost Creek FallsThe signposted trail junction where going right led to Lost Lake while going left led to Lost Creek Falls

The further I went, the narrower the trail became, and the more naturesque it became as wellThe further I went, the narrower the trail became, and the more naturesque it became as well

Lots of low-lying shrubs and bushes concealing Lost CreekLots of low-lying shrubs and bushes concealing Lost Creek

The trail eventually started to skirt alongside Lost CreekThe trail eventually started to skirt alongside Lost Creek

Berries along the trail indicated to me that this was a grizzly bear foraging areaBerries along the trail indicated to me that this was a grizzly bear foraging area

I also spotted these pretty purple wildflowers along the Lost Creek Falls TrailI also spotted these pretty purple wildflowers along the Lost Creek Falls Trail

Reaching the signposted end of the official trail, but as you can see, the view was not satisfactory from hereReaching the signposted end of the official trail, but as you can see, the view was not satisfactory from here

This view of Lost Creek Falls was from the end of the official trail as seen back in June 2004This view of the Lost Falls was from the end of the official trail as seen back in June 2004

Looking back at the steep and loose terrain, which was why the sanctioned part of the trail did not include this scrambleLooking back at the steep and loose terrain, which was why the sanctioned part of the trail did not include this scramble

Looking up at Lost Creek Falls as the sun started to penetrate the mini canyonLooking up at Lost Creek FAlls as the sun started to penetrate the mini canyon

This was probably my cleanest view of the light-flowing Lost Creek Falls during my August 2017 visitThis was probably my cleanest view of the light-flowing Lost Creek Falls during my August 2017 visit

Looking up towards some of the surrounding cliffs around Lost Creek FallsLooking up towards some of the surrounding cliffs around Lost Creek Falls

The verticality of the cliffs beyond the end of the official trail meant that the area was prone to rockslides or rockfalls, which was another reason why they probably ended the sanctioned part where they didThe verticality of the cliffs beyond the end of the official trail meant that the area was prone to rockslides or rockfalls, which was another reason why they probably ended the sanctioned part where they did


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


180 degree sweep showing the falls before looking downstream at the jumble of basaltic rocks then ending back at the falls


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

In order to access Lost Falls, we first needed to get to the Roosevelt Lodge at the Tower-Roosevelt Junction on the Grand Loop Road near the northeast section of the park. This junction was a little over 18 miles north of Canyon Junction, 28.6 miles southwest from the park's northeast entrance, or about 18 miles east of the Mammoth Junction. I was able to find parking in front of the main building for Roosevelt Lodge, but parking here was limited (so my relatively early morning starts were beneficial).

To give you some context, Roosevelt Lodge was about 33 miles (about an hour drive) west of Cooke City-Silver Gate, Montana, 109 miles (2.5 hours drive) northwest of Cody, 133 miles (over 3 hours drive) north of Jackson, 24 miles (about 45 minutes drive) southeast of Gardiner, Montana, 58 miles (over 90 minutes drive) northeast of West Yellowstone, Montana, 102 miles (over 2 hours drive) southeast of Bozeman, Montana, 165 miles (about 3.5 hours drive) northeast of Idaho Falls, Idaho, and 378 miles (about 6.5 hours drive) north of Salt Lake City, Utah.




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ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.




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MAP OF THE FALLS



Click here for the full World of Waterfalls map





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TRIP REPORTS

For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES





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NEARBY WATERFALLS




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