About Lost Creek Falls (Lost Falls)
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.
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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