Cooke City near the northeast entrance of Yellowstone National Parks has some beautiful and unique waterfalls. We had the chance to visit one hidden gem on a recent trip to Yellowstone. Bridal Falls is located just outside Silver Gate a few miles west of Cooke City. If you find yourself near Yellowstone’s northeast entrance, definitely stop at Bridal Falls in Silver Gate and walk the quarter mile to this beautiful waterfall.
To find Bridal Falls requires a short hike along the river, but first you have to find the trailhead and a parking space. From downtown Silver Gate, turn south on Monument Avenue out of Silver Gate. Follow the road across Soda Butte Creek and take a left on Bannock Avenue when amongst the cabins. Follow the road to the end and then turn left. Continue down the road about a mile until you come to a small bridge that crosses the river. There is a narrow parking area for two or three vehicles, as well as a place to ford the river if your vehicle is too big for the bridge. Please be considerate of people’s private property when parking.
After parking, you can hike up either side of the river. We tried both, and we don’t really think it matters which side of the river you choose. The trail was a little less defined on the far side (east), but the area near the waterfall was a little more open. On the west side, the trail was easy to follow, but there was more mud and less area to view the waterfall when you got close up. Either way you go, there is a little bit of bushwhacking. Be prepared to climb over logs and push through thick branches. And once you reach the falls, you will need to climb over rocks to get closer to the falls.
Bridal Falls is located in the thick forest so there is plenty of shade. It’s also less than a mile roundtrip to the waterfall (0.4 miles roundtrip). The height is difficult to judge, because the waterfall comes down through a crack before makes its plunge to the river. About 40 feet of waterfall is visible, but you can see that there is a bit more to it above. The waterfall was beautiful when we were there in late June, and there was still some snow.
We really enjoyed this hike, and we considered keeping it to ourselves. Bridal Falls in Silver Gate is really peaceful, and the location is remote and relatively unknown. Enjoy this small gem of a waterfall on your next trip to Yellowstone! We are adding this to our Yellowstone kid hikes since it is so close to the park, and so easy.