Lost Falls and Lost Lake

SUMMARY:  Lost Falls on Lost Creek is a hidden gem located approximately 1/3rd of a mile southwest of Roosevelt Lodge. This 40 foot falls plummets out of the rock wall at the end of a box canyon. In the three or four times I’ve visited Lost Falls, I never encountered another hiker. This is likely because the trail that follows Lost Creek upstream is unmarked. The hike begins behind the Roosevelt Lodge cabins located adjacent to the left rear Lodge door (next to the restrooms). Walk to the large signboard and proceed to the left to Lost Creek. The trail follows through a heavily forested watershed. Deer are frequently seen from the well shaded trail.

The trail to Lost Lake begins at the signboard mentioned above. After retracing your steps from Lost Falls to the signboard, facing the signboard the Lost Lake Trail goes to the right through an area of dense growth. This well marked trail then goes through a pine forest as it covers a series of switchbacks to the crest of the ridge where the trail splits. Go to the right to Lost Lake. You may retrace your steps returning to Roosevelt Lodge; or, continue on the loop trail to the Petrified Tree. While the trail from Roosevelt Lodge to Lost Lake is not heavily traveled, the area around the Petrified Tree (stump) is a very busy place. Most visitors to the Petrified Tree drive a well marked side road off the Grand Loop Road. The trail is harder to follow near the Petrified Tree. Continuing on the loop trail will bring you back to the split where you proceed down the switchbacks to Roosevelt Lodge. This pleasant hike with about 300 feet of elevation gain gives the hiker a real sense of Yellowstone backcountry. Deer, elk, buffalo and waterfowl are frequently seen in the area. The reward is a sparkling lake partially surrounded by pine forest with a delightful wet, grassy meadow at one end. Lilly pads adorn the Lake shallows. The roundtrip hike to Lost Lake is 1.8 miles. If you extend the hike to include the Petrified Tree, the roundtrip is 2.8 miles.

RATING: Easy, with some elevation gain, 1.8 or 2.8 mile roundtrip.

BEST TIME OF YEAR TO HIKE:  Early June until the snow flies (mid-September to early October) Lost Falls is more spectacular in the early summer. Roosevelt Lodge is open from June 10 to September 5. If you plan this hike when the Lodge is closed, park near the restrooms and recycling station on the Grand Loop Road. Walk past the Roosevelt Lodge gate, up the entrance road and around the Lodge staying to the left until you find the signboard.

AMOUNT OF TIME NEEDED:  A fit hiker might complete the two hikes in two hours.  Allow 30 to 40 minutes for the Lost Falls hike. Allow 75 to 90 minutes for the Lost Lake hike.

DIRECTIONS TO TRAILHEAD:  From the Northeast Entrance drive west, 29 miles, to Roosevelt Lodge. From Mammoth Hot Springs, drive east, 18 miles, to Roosevelt Lodge.