Lost Creek Falls (Lost Falls)

Yellowstone National Park / Roosevelt, Wyoming, USA

About Lost Creek Falls (Lost Falls)


Hiking Distance: 0.8 miles round trip
Suggested Time: 30-45 minutes

Date first visited: 2004-06-24
Date last visited: 2017-08-10

Waterfall Latitude: 44.90975
Waterfall Longitude: -110.41946

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 that would do well in the Spring but struggle as the Summer would progress.

Lost_Creek_Falls_007_06242004 - Lost Creek Falls
Lost Creek Falls

However, on my latest visit in August 2017, it still had a healthy (albeit light) flow as you can see in the photos further below on this page.

Generally, I’ve noticed that almost every attraction in Yellowstone National Park tended to be close to the main roads so they were either crowded or lacked the peace and tranquility you’d hope for in a Nature outing.

Yet with Lost Creek Falls, we managed to experience a refreshingly quiet and relaxing hike both times that I’ve done it (in June 2004 and August 2017).

That said, the relative lack of human traffic meant that there was an increased likelihood of a bear encounter.

Roosevelt_004_06242004 - Spotting a couple of bear (not grizzlies though) near the Roosevelt junction shortly after my first visit to the Lost Creek Falls in June 2004
Spotting a couple of bear (not grizzlies though) near the Roosevelt junction shortly after my first visit to the Lost Creek Falls in June 2004

Case in point, on our first visit to the park in June 2004, there just so happened to be a pair of cubs causing a bear jam nearby just off 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.

Hiking to Lost Creek Falls

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.

Lost_Creek_Falls_007_08102017 - Junction by a sign behind the Roosevelt Lodge.  The narrow trail on the left went to Lost Creek Falls while the trail on the right went to Lost Lake
Junction by a sign behind the Roosevelt Lodge. The narrow trail on the left went to Lost Creek Falls while the trail on the right went to Lost Lake

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 the trail started to bend to the left following alongside Lost Creek itself.

Lost_Creek_Falls_013_08102017 - The trail to Lost Creek Falls following along the Lost Creek itself
The trail to Lost Creek Falls following along the 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.

Lost_Creek_Falls_030_08102017 - Looking up at Lost Creek Falls during our August 2017 visit
Looking up at Lost Creek Falls during our August 2017 visit

With the terrain being so rugged around the Lost Creek Falls, I had no desire to do any more scrambling to improve the views so I headed back the way I came.

Authorities

Lost Creek Falls resides in Yellowstone National Park. For information or inquiries about the park as well as current conditions, visit the National Park Service website.

Lost_Creek_Falls_003_08102017 - Looking across the front of the Roosevelt Lodge before starting on the August 2017 hike to Lost Creek Falls
Lost_Creek_Falls_004_08102017 - Walking around the main building of Roosevelt Lodge, I then saw this sign pointing the way to the Lost Creek Trails on my August 2017 hike
Lost_Creek_Falls_005_08102017 - Looking back towards the Roosevelt Lodge complex during my August 2017 visit
Lost_Creek_Falls_010_08102017 - The further I went on the Lost Creek Falls Trail in August 2017, the narrower the trail became, and the more naturesque it became as well
Lost_Creek_Falls_012_08102017 - Lots of low-lying shrubs and bushes concealing Lost Creek during my August 2017 visit
Lost_Creek_Falls_014_08102017 - Berries along the Lost Creek Falls Trail during my August 2017 hike indicated to me that this was a grizzly bear foraging area
Lost_Creek_Falls_015_08102017 - Context of some of the berries growing alongside the Lost Creek Falls Trail during my August 2017 hike
Lost_Creek_Falls_016_08102017 - I also spotted these pretty purple wildflowers along the Lost Creek Falls Trail during my August 2017 visit
Lost_Creek_Falls_017_08102017 - Ascending towards the official end of the Lost Creek Falls Trail during my August 2017 visit
Lost_Creek_Falls_019_08102017 - Reaching the signposted end of the official trail in August 2017, but as you can see, the view of Lost Creek Falls was not satisfactory from here
Lost_Creek_Falls_021_08102017 - Looking further upstream towards a glimpse of the Lost Creek Falls on my August 2017 hike
Lost_Creek_Falls_023_08102017 - Looking back at the steep and loose terrain along Lost Creek, which was why the sanctioned part of the trail did not include this scramble in August 2017
Lost_Creek_Falls_026_08102017 - Looking up at Lost Creek Falls as the sun started to penetrate the mini canyon during my August 2017 visit
Lost_Creek_Falls_032_08102017 - Climbing higher up to get a more elevated look at the Lost Creek Falls during my August 2017 visit
Lost_Creek_Falls_035_08102017 - Looking up towards some of the surrounding cliffs around Lost Creek Falls as of August 2017, which showed the hard rock layers that gave rise to the waterfall itself
Lost_Creek_Falls_036_08102017 - The verticality of the cliffs beyond the end of the official Lost Creek Falls 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 during my August 2017 visit
Lost_Creek_Falls_044_08102017 - Heading back towards the Roosevelt Lodge to end my August 2017 hike to Lost Creek Falls
Lost_Creek_Falls_046_08102017 - In a sign of the times, these pay phone booths at the Roosevelt Lodge were empty during our August 2017 visit
Lost_Creek_Falls_048_08102017 - The rustic front porch of the Roosevelt Lodge as seen during our August 2017 visit after having finished the hike to Lost Creek Falls
Lost_Creek_Falls_049_08102017 - Looking back towards the parking lot in front of the Roosevelt Lodge during our August 2017 visit
Lost_Creek_Falls_008_06242004 - Back on our very first time hiking to Lost Creek Falls in June 2004, this was what the trail junction between Lost Creek Falls and Lost Lake looked like
Lost_Creek_Falls_002_06242004 - This view of Lost Creek Falls was from the end of the official trail as seen back in June 2004
Lost_Creek_Falls_003_06242004 - Looking up at the Lost Creek Falls after scrambling close to its base during my first visit here in June 2004
Roosevelt_009_jx_06242004 - After our Lost Creek Falls hike in June 2004, we also spotted this fox or coyote or something near the Roosevelt Junction
Roosevelt_010_jx_06242004 - The major bear jam at Roosevelt
Roosevelt_008_06242004 - This was the reason for the bear jam after our Lost Creek Falls hike in June 2004

join-booking-970x240-1.jpg


In order to access Lost Creek 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.

Lost_Creek_Falls_001_08102017 - Looking back at the parking lot in front of the Roosevelt Lodge before starting my August 2017 hike to the Lost Creek Falls
Looking back at the parking lot in front of the Roosevelt Lodge before starting my August 2017 hike to the Lost Creek Falls

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.

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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Tagged with: lost creek, roosevelt, tower, yellowstone, lost lake, mammoth, canyon, wyoming, waterfall, rockies, rocky mountains



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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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