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    Fairy Creek Trail to the Imperial Geyser

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    10.5 km
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    118 m
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    Directions to Trailhead

    The hike to the Imperial Geyser along the Fairy Creek Trail is a fantastic hike in Yellowstone. This trail is family-friendly and great for hikers of all skill levels. With incredible views at every turn, this route is a must-do in Yellowstone.

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    Route Description for Fairy Creek Trail to the Imperial Geyser

    The Fairy Creek Trail to the Imperial Geyser is a fantastic route in Yellowstone. This trail can get very popular during tourist season. If you are hiking in the summertime, be sure to head out early in the morning to beat the crowds. This trail can also be buggy in the early season; if you are hiking in late June or early July, bring along some bug repellent or wear long layers to combat the mosquitoes. Luckily, mosquitoes won’t be the only critters you’ll see on this trail. The Fairy Creek Trail to the Imperial Geyser is a common spot to see bison, elk, and deer. You will also want to keep your eyes peeled for signs of bear activity. Before hitting the trail, be sure that everyone in your hiking party is familiar with bear safety protocols. At least one member of your group should carry bear spray and know how to use it properly. If you do encounter wild animals, do not approach or feed them and be sure to admire them from a safe distance.

    This trail is moderate in length but reasonably flat the whole way, so it can be a great route for beginner hikers and families with kids. With so many spectacular thermal features, and breathtaking views throughout, this trail is the perfect place to spend the day exploring Yellowstone National Park. Beginning at the trailhead, cross over the Firehole River and follow Fountain Flat Drive northwest for a mile to a divide. At the divide, take the trail on your left and hike past Fairy Meadows to Fairy Falls.

    Past Fairy Falls, stick to the trail on your left to make your way to Spray Geyser and Imperial Geyser. After checking out both of the Geysers, make your way back to the trailhead the way you came.

    With so many other trails in the area, this hike can be extended in any direction. You really can spend the whole day in this region exploring the beauty and wonder of Yellowstone National Park.

    Trail Highlights

    Fairy Falls

    Fairy Falls is a 61 m tall waterfall that draws tourists from all over the world.

    Spray Geyser

    The Spray Geyser is a small geyser that erupts at irregular and unpredictable intervals. Usually eruptions from the Spray Geyser shoot water no more than 2 m in the air. In the past few decades, the Spray Geyser eruptions have become smaller and less frequent.

    Imperial Geyser

    The imperial Geyser is the larger of the two geysers in this area. This geyser irregularly shoots water up to 15 m in the air. Since its christening in 1929, the Imperial Geyser has decreased in activity.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How do I get to the Imperial Geyser

    The Imperial Geyser can be accessed via the Fairy Creek Trail in Yellowstone National Park.

    Insider Hints for Fairy Creek Trail to the Imperial Geyser

    • In the late season, this trail can get snowy and icy. If you are hiking in late October we suggest bringing a set of traction devices such as microspikes for extra grip.
    • While you are in the area, check out the Grand Prismatic overlook located just off the trail.
    • This trail is busy, so head out early in the morning to snag a parking spot and beat the crowds.

    Getting to the Fairy Creek Trail to the Imperial Geyser Trailhead

    This hike begins at the trailhead on the west side of Grand Loop Road, approximately 7.1 km northwest of the Old Faithful Visitors Center.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground

      Fairy Meadows

    • When to do

      June to October

    • Pets allowed


    • Family friendly


    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type

      Out and back

    Fairy Creek Trail to the Imperial Geyser Elevation Graph

    Weather Forecast

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    Fairy Creek Trail to the Imperial Geyser Reviews

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