Terraced Falls is a large waterfall located in the Cascade Corner of Yellowstone. The out-and-back hike to Terraced Falls is 4.0 miles roundtrip and features a series of unnamed waterfalls as you hike along the Fall River. This hike cannot be easily accessed from the Grand Loop road of Yellowstone. Instead, you have to drive out the south entrance and travel along a dirt road.
- Distance: 4.0 miles roundtrip
- Elevation Gain: 452 feet
- Fee: Yellowstone National Park Fee
- Dog-friendly: No
Terraced Falls trailhead can be found by driving west on Grassy Lake Road from the Flagg Ranch area of Grand Teton National Park. The hike is technically in Yellowstone as the trail begins on the north side of the road. To find the trailhead, travel west on Grassy Lake Road for approximately 10 miles until you find Grassy Lake. This is a large reservoir. On the far side of the reservoir there is a large dam. After you cross the dam, you’ll come to a sign commemorating the dam’s construction. From this point travel 1.1 miles until you come to a trailhead sign reading Cascade Canyon. There is a small parking area on the right hand side of the road. The trail follows the river down to the left.
We found the road to be passable for most vehicles with moderate clearance. We did see cars out Grassy Lake Road, but we wouldn’t feel comfortable recommending it. There was one large scary puddle that could swallow a small sedan, as well as a lot of large rocks.
From the trailhead, hike steadily downhill for the first quarter mile. There are signs that help you stay on the trail to Terraced Falls, so it is difficult to get lost. The trail meanders along with the river on the right hand side. Small ghost trails occasionally lead to the edge of the river, sometimes to view small nameless waterfalls. We enjoyed stopping to look at each of these small waterfalls along the trail.
Eventually, two rivers join, and the confluence makes the amount of water flowing increase dramatically. Keep following the river for a little while, and it will eventually drop into a steep canyon. This is Terraced Falls.
There are at least 6 or 7 terraces that contribute to this cascade depending on how you count. It is difficult to get them all in a photograph as the canyon is deep. The trail ends on a cliff high above the foot of the waterfall, so make sure that you keep small children back from the edge. It is a very steep drop and on the side of the waterfall, so it is hard to show how large and amazing this waterfall is. Even though photos don’t do Terraced Falls justice, being there among the roar and splash of the whitewater is a wonderful experience.
After spending a few minutes enjoying Terraced Falls, climb back the way you came. The hike is a downhill trail to the falls, so it is uphill on the way out. This is a great family friendly hike! Just stay back from the edge near the waterfall.
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