Our go to hike in Yellowstone is Wraith Falls. I don’t remember a trip that we haven’t made the hike to this beautiful waterfall.
Located around 5 miles east of Mammoth, this short hike is appropriate for pretty much anyone, though strollers and wheelchairs cannot make the trek. There is a small turnout, and since the hike is only about 0.5 miles one-way ( 1 mile RT) the out-and-back route does see significant traffic. The trail starts out heading south, and there are a few places that a boardwalk has been erected, presumably to keep your feet from getting wet, though we’ve never seen much water. There are squirrels and chipmunks that hide under the boardwalks, so keep quiet and watch closely.
Eventually, the trail turns back to the east and up toward the cut where you’ll see Wraith Falls. We’ve seen marmots here, as well as elk near the turn on a few occasions– one year, we saw a massive bull laying about 30 yards from the trail.
By the time you turn, you’ll hear the waterfall, and maybe even see it peeking through the trees. A gentle climb takes you up to a fenced overlook, so children are safe while looking at the falls. I’m not sure who decides the difference between a waterfall and a cascade, but if it were me, a cascade would tumble down the rocks, while a waterfall would fall from some height. Anyway, by that definition, Wraith Falls is a cascade– but it is a very beautiful cascade. The water spreads out in a beautiful veil as it tumbles 100 feet down the mountain. It is really rather unique.
No matter you ability or skill, you should try Wraith Falls. Check out our other Yellowstone Kid Hikes here.