View of Fairy Falls in Yellowstone National Park
It’s one of the best day hikes in Yellowstone because it is easy and flat but has a great waterfall

Hi there and I’m back with another experiment with VR tours of our best Yellowstone hikes. I highly recommend viewing the tour in Fullscreen mode. You will have access to a popup map that will allow you to hop around in the tour and give you a sense of the area. The benefit of this type of tour, is you can use your mouse or finger to drag the photos around to change your view. My intent for these type of tours are to give you a better idea of what you may be getting into so you can make a better decision about what the best trails in Yellowstone for you may be. This one is an easy one though.

The Tour:

Trail Description:

This Fairy Falls trail tour takes you from the Fairy Falls Parking Lot, over the bridge that crosses the Firehole River, out to the Grand Prismatic Springs Overlook (wow!), and then on to Fairy Falls themselves. Fairy Falls Trail is one of the best hikes in Yellowstone. It’s flat, easy, and gives access to the Grand Prismatic Springs Overlook. Although you start out at 7200 feet of elevation, the actual incline stays pretty moderate.

That said, the thinner air can affect you. I found myself a bit breathless on the short, easy climb up to the Overlook. Like most of the best trails in Yellowstone, the parking lot gets very crowded and busy during the day as you will see from the tour. Many people end up parking out on the main road. Remember that you must park your car entirely beyond the white line. Thank you for being considerate of other visitors when parking and navigating this area.

View of Grand Prismatic Springs from the overlook
The View of Grand Prismatic is not far from the parking lot and a fairly easy walk

The side quest up to the overlook only stretches a couple hundred feet of distance with a moderate incline. So, if you take your time, you should be able to make it without much trouble and I personally love that view. I filmed a video virtual walking tour to the overlook a few years ago which I will embed below. It also has a section at the end that includes the Grand Prismatic springs Boardwalk

Fairy Falls Trail by the Fire Hole River in Yellowstone National Park
The trail is gravel like and wide and flat. Easy peasy.

The primary path to Fairy Falls is mostly flat and wide with a volcanic soil that is basically fine grained gravel which means the footing is solid and stable. The trail is a bit odd in that the old road bed goes from the Fair Falls Trail Head AND from the Fountain Flats Drive / Freight Road Trailhead to the north. I have started this tour leading from the Fairy Falls Trailhead because it’s much shorter to the falls from this direction but you can access from both and the Fountain Flats Drive / Freight Road Trailhead might have better parking. The parking at Grand Prismatic Springs and the Fairy Falls Trailhead parking fill up and often flow out onto the main road as it is an extremely popular area. I highly suggest getting there early or plan on walking a few hundred extra yards.

The old road bed in this section runs along the edge of the over flow from Grand Prismatic Spring and you will be able to see the boardwalk with people over there in the distance. Do NOT walk out on the flats there. It’s illegal and dangerous.

Looking from Fairy Falls Trail to Grand Prismatic Spring
You get some cool views of Grand Prismatic Spring and boardwalk

The Fairy Falls Trail then takes off and becomes narrower but still pretty flat through a lodgepole pine forest and you will cross over another creek via footbridge. Where the Fairy Falls trail leaves the old freight road, you will find a bike rack. They put this here because you can ride your bike on the old freight road section but not on the narrower single track section. This stretch is about a mile or so to the falls but keeps going and loops around to the north and eventually back to the Fountain Flats Drive / Freight Road Trailhead. While the trail leading to the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook can be pretty busy, beyond that the trail quiets down and while you will definitely see other people, it’s nothing like the overlook.

Trail leading to Fairy Falls in background
A short incline up the Falls themselves and a bunch of cheeky chipmunks

At the falls themselves, you will find another moderate incline (maybe 50ft of elevation gain). The trail is obvious and easy enough. However, if you want to get up to the actual waterfall and catchment pool, you will need to climb over some large downed timber. Luckily you really don’t need to do this to be up close and personal with the falls. Please be aware that the chipmunks in this area have grown accustomed to humans giving them food. This is illegal and dangerous to the wildlife and humans. They are cute but pretty agressive.

This tour also includes another little spur over to a back country campsite labeled “0D1” and known as the Fairy Meadows campsite. Camping in any back country campsite requires a special permit and watching a short safety video.

Thanks so much for taking this tour and please let us know what you think. If you liked this walk, you might enjoy the Beaver Pond Loop VR Tour I made as well. Keep on Steppin’

That video walk I mentioned above:

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