This short 3.9-mile out-and-back descends a total of 350 feet. It follows beautiful Cascade Creek and then the Falls River as they tumble through 6 frothy cascades on their way to spectacular 150-foot Terraced Falls. If you love waterfalls – this is your hike!
The hardest part of this outing is reaching the trailhead. You'll have to drive 11 miles on a gravel NFS road, that may be closed early in the season due to high water. Check at Flagg Ranch for conditions. Most passenger cars should have no difficulty, however, if you take it slow.
Although Terraced Falls is one of Yellowstone's best backcountry falls, the trail viewpoint is less satisfying than the view from the opposite side of the river. Unfortunately, there is no trail to that vantage point and it cannot be reached from this trail.
This short 3.9-mile out-and-back begins just south of the park on the Flagg Ranch to Ashton, Idaho National Forest Service Road (sometimes called the Grassy Lake Road) just over a mile west of Grassy Lake and 11 miles west of Flagg Ranch. This relatively new trail was constructed in 1988.
From the parking area on the north side of the gravel Grassy Lake Road, follow the Cascade Creek-Falls River Cutoff Trail
as it parallels Cascade Creek on the right and drops 140 feet in just over .4 miles to a trail junction. Continue straight on the Terraced Falls Trail
(past the Mountain Ash Creek Trail
on the right). In the next 3/4 miles the Terraced Falls Trail
closely follows well-named Cascade Creek as it tumbles down another 150-feet to join the Falls River. Along the way, just off the trail, you can see 5 lovely cascades with fanciful suggested names, in order: Pothole Cascades (40 feet); Diamond Cascade (15 feet); Humpback Cascade (15 feet); and two-sectioned Cleft Cascade (20 feet).
After Cascade Creek flows into the Falls River the trail follows this much larger watercourse northwest and passes well-named Cascade Acres at the 1.4-mile mark. This beautiful, wide cascade falls a total of 50 feet. At the 1.9-mile mark, the trail ends at a nice overlook of Terraced Falls. Here the Falls River plunges over 150 feet through a series of six "terraces" (the highest drop is 45 feet) as it churns its way into an impressive rock canyon. Although viewpoint is less than ideal, Terraced Falls is one of Yellowstone's best backcountry falls. And the brink of the falls makes a wonderful picnic spot. When you are through enjoying the falls, retrace your steps to the trailhead.
Thanks to guidebook author, Tom Carter, for sharing this trail description. To learn more about visiting Yellowstone, check out his book, Day Hiking Yellowstone