Moose Falls

Yellowstone National Park / South Entrance, Wyoming, USA

About Moose Falls


Hiking Distance: 0.1 mile round trip
Suggested Time: 15 minutes

Date first visited: 2004-06-20
Date last visited: 2017-08-11

Waterfall Latitude: 44.15185
Waterfall Longitude: -110.67262

Moose Falls was a small 30ft waterfall with pretty healthy volume on Crawfish Creek near the Southern Entrance of Yellowstone National Park.

What was peculiar about this falls was that the water appeared to be geothermally heated.

Moose_Falls_17_012_08112017 - Moose Falls
Moose Falls

In fact, you can see from the photo above that there was steam rising from the waterfall itself!

The falls was named after the local fauna who tend to prefer the swampy southern section of Yellowstone National Park.

Crawfish at Moose Falls?

However, this waterfall was also once referred to as the “Crawfish Falls” since it sat on the creek with this name.

This was noteworthy because crawfish tended to thrive in the warmer waters of the Gulf Coast of the USA.

Moose_Falls_004_06202004 - People swimming in the geothermally-heated waters of Crawfish Creek at Moose Falls back in June 2004
People swimming in the geothermally-heated waters of Crawfish Creek at Moose Falls back in June 2004

That said, in this instance, the geothermally heated waters of the creek allowed them to thrive even at the higher latitude and elevation of northwest Wyoming!

The geothermal heating of Crawfish Creek could also be why I spotted quite a few people swimming at the base of the falls during my first visit here back in June 2004.

Unfortunately on my August 2017 visit, signs everywhere warned people that the creek had gotten dangerously hot and thus prohibited swimming.

Experiencing Moose Falls?

From a fairly sizable pullout just north of the bridge over Crawfish Creek (see directions below), I followed a well-used path leading me past the brink of the falls.

Moose_Falls_17_001_08112017 - The short trail leading down from the South Entrance Road to the base of Moose Falls
The short trail leading down from the South Entrance Road to the base of Moose Falls

This path then descended some steps before reaching the banks of Crawfish Creek.

This was where I took the photo you see at the top of this page.

The 75-yard jaunt was short enough to consume as little as 15 minutes away from the car.

One thing I did notice that was unusual about my second visit to this waterfall was that there was a closure sign saying the immediate area was closed to both entry into the water as well as any off trail travel.

Moose_Falls_17_015_08112017 - Looking further downstream from Moose Falls where Crawfish Creek was really steaming on the morning of my August 2017 visit
Looking further downstream from Moose Falls where Crawfish Creek was really steaming on the morning of my August 2017 visit

I suspect that this could be due to increased geothermal activity.

In my second visit (in August 2017), I showed up at the east-facing Moose Falls at sunrise where the area was getting a nice warm glow from the sun, but it also happened to be a bitterly cold that morning.

Even under such conditions, going into potentially boiling water was definitely not a wise thing to do!

Don’t Mess With Moose

Finally, attesting to the increased likelihood of seeing moose in the southern section of Yellowstone National Park, we happened to see one of them just south of the South Entrance while heading towards the Grand Tetons.

Yellowstone_South_Entrance_002_06252004 - This moose that we noticed near the south entrance of Yellowstone National Park back in June 2004 didn't look very pleased that people were stopping to check them out
This moose that we noticed near the south entrance of Yellowstone National Park back in June 2004 didn’t look very pleased that people were stopping to check them out

Prior to our June 2004 visit when this happened, we mostly associated moose with the cartoon Rocky and Bullwinkle.

However in reality, moose could be one of the most aggressive and dangerous land mammals, especially whenever they sensed any kind of disturbance.

So that was definitely something we learned to respect after going on that trip.

Authorities

Moose Falls resides in Yellowstone National Park near West Yellowstone in Park County, Wyoming. It is administered by the National Park Service. For information or inquiries about the park as well as current conditions, visit the National Park Service website.

Moose_Falls_17_003_08112017 - Looking back upstream towards the Crawfish Creek Bridge during my short jaunt to the base of Moose Falls
Moose_Falls_17_006_08112017 - Looking towards the rising morning sun as I was making my way down to the base of Moose Falls during my August 2017 visit
Moose_Falls_17_008_08112017 - Looking across Moose Falls from near its brink in August 2017
Moose_Falls_17_013_08112017 - Right at the bottom of Moose Falls as seen in August 2017
Moose_Falls_17_022_08112017 - More contextual look at Moose Falls as seen on the way down to the bottom in August 2017
Moose_Falls_17_024_08112017 - Looking back down at the descent towards the base of Moose Falls during my August 2017 visit
Moose_Falls_17_025_08112017 - Another look back towards the rising steam from the brink of Moose Falls as I was just about back at the car on my August 2017 visit
Moose_Falls_17_027_08112017 - Back at the trailhead for Moose Falls on my August 2017 visit
Moose_Falls_001_06202004 - Looking towards Moose Falls from higher up the short trail during my June 2004 visit
Moose_Falls_003_06202004 - Closer look at Moose Falls from its base during my June 2004 visit

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Moose Falls was just north of the south entrance of Yellowstone National Park.

We looked for the pullout on the east side of US89 just a little over a mile north of the Yellowstone South Entrance.

The pullout was immediately north of the bridge over Crawfish Creek.

Moose_Falls_17_002_08112017 - This was the large pullout by the South Entrance Road just north of the Crawfish Creek Bridge immediately above the Moose Falls
This was the large pullout by the South Entrance Road just north of the Crawfish Creek Bridge immediately above the Moose Falls

Going in the other direction, the pullout was about 20 miles (30 minutes drive) south of the West Thumb Junction.

The Yellowstone South Entrance was about 57 miles (75 minutes drive) north of Jackson and 70 miles southeast of West Yellowstone, Montana.

For additional geographical context, West Yellowstone, Montana was 58 miles (at least 90 minutes drive) south of Gardiner, Montana, 90 miles (over 90 minutes drive) south of Bozeman, Montana, 72 miles (under 2 hours drive) north of Flagg Ranch (near Yellowstone’s South Entrance), and 321 miles (about 4.5 hours drive) north of Salt Lake City, Utah.

Following the trail from the brink of the falls to its base

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Tagged with: south entrance, yellowstone, west thumb, crawfish, jackson, wyoming, west yellowstone, waterfall, rockies, rocky mountains, park county



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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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