North Rim Trail to Yellowstone Falls, Crystal Falls, and Inspiration Point

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Moderate
Duration
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.
2.5-3.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
10.3 km
Elevation
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.
206 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead

The North Rim Trail to Yellowstone Falls, Crystal Falls, and Inspiration Point is a fantastic route in Yellowstone National Park. With stunning views of some of the most impressive falls in the park, this trail delivers at every turn. This route is great for lightly experienced hikers or families with older children.

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Route Description for North Rim Trail to Yellowstone Falls, Crystal Falls, and Inspiration Point

The North Rim Trail to Yellowstone Falls, Crystal Falls, and Inspiration Point is a must-do on your trip to Yellowstone National Park. This trail gets extremely busy, especially in the summer at the height of tourist season. We suggest heading out on this hike early in the morning to beat the crowds. Alternatively, you can check out this trail in the evening when most folks have cleared out for the night. This route travels over uneven terrain; proper hiking footwear is strongly recommended for this one. Don't forget a water bottle and a snack, and you will definitely want to pack the camera; this hike is absolutely stunning.

The waterfalls of the Yellowstone River draw thousands of tourists from all over the world every year. The larger of the two, the Lower Falls, stands almost twice the height of Niagara Falls and claims the title of “highest volume waterfall in the American Rocky Mountains”. The Upper Falls are not something to miss either. At 34 m tall, the Upper Falls are an impressive sight. Crystal Falls is a stunning contrast to the raw power of the Upper and Lower Falls. Tall and graceful, Crystal Falls drops 39 m down the side of the canyon as a sparkling ribbon of crystal clear water.

To hike this route, begin at the Wapiti Lake Trailhead, cross over the Chittenden Bridge and follow the North Rim Trail along the west bank of the Yellowstone River. Just half a mile in, you will pass the Upper Yellowstone Falls. Check out this falls by heading to the viewpoint on the river, then continue along the North Rim Trail to the Crystal Falls viewpoint. Approximately 0.6 km past the Crystal Falls Overlook, the trail will divide. At this divide, stay to the path on your left to continue along the North Rim Trail; the path on your right heads down to the Brink of the Lower Falls. Half a mile past here, the trail will divide once again. Stay left at this divide as well, the path on your right head down to Red Rock Point. Continue along the North Rim Trail for another mile and a half past the Grand View Overlook, and Sunbeam Overlook to Inspiration Point.

Enjoy a rest at Inspiration Point and soak in the incredible views of Yellowstone National Park. When you are ready to head back, simply retrace your steps to the Wapiti Lake Trailhead, where you began.

Trail Highlights

Upper Falls

The Upper Falls of Yellowstone National Park is an impressive 34 m tall waterfall along the Yellowstone River.

Lower Falls

The Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River is the waterfall with the largest volume in the American Rocky Mountains. At 308 feet tall, these falls are almost twice the height of Niagara Falls. The best time to see the Lower Falls is the late spring when the meltwater swells the river.

Crystal Falls

Crystal Falls is a gorgeous waterfall in Yellowstone Canyon. This waterfall drops 39 m along Cascade Creek, a tributary of the Yellowstone River.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the largest waterfall in Yellowstone?

The Lower Falls on the Yellowstone River is the largest waterfall in Yellowstone National Park.

Insider Hints for North Rim Trail to Yellowstone Falls, Crystal Falls, and Inspiration Point

Getting to the North Rim Trail to Yellowstone Falls, Crystal Falls, and Inspiration Point Trailhead

This hike begins at the Wapiti Lake Trailhead on South Rim Drive.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    No

  • When to do

    May to October

  • Pets allowed

    No

  • Family friendly

    Older Children only

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    High

  • Route Type

    Out and back

North Rim Trail to Yellowstone Falls, Crystal Falls, and Inspiration Point Elevation Graph

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North Rim Trail to Yellowstone Falls, Crystal Falls, and Inspiration Point Reviews

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