Yellowstone National Park

Old Faithful Area Cross Country Ski Trails
Note: Map also shows location of summer hiking trails.

Lone Star Geyser Trail
7360' to 7600'
9 miles, easiest, 240 feet elevation gain/loss
Beginning across from the Old Faithful Snow Lodge, the trail follows Mallard Lake Trail through the Old Faithful Lodge cabin area crossing the Firehole River. The trail goes to the right following an old road cut to the snow vehicle road. Approximately 100 feet up the road, signs will direct you back into the woods. After skiing about a mile over moderate hills, the trail returns to the snow vehicle road at Kepler Cascades. Across the road the trail continues along the east bank of the Firehole River. The trail connects with and follows an old service road to lone Star Geyser. The geyser erupts about every three hours with activity lasting approximately 30 minutes. Novice skiers should return to Old Faithful by the same route. A more difficult return route can be made on the Howard Eaton Trail.

Lone Star Geyser Loop Trail
7360' to 7860'
7 miles, easiest to more difficult, 500 feet elevation gain/loss
You may ski this loop in either direction; however, if you begin by following the lone Star Geyser Trail, you will encounter some very steep downhill sections on the Howard Eaton Trail upon leaving lone Star Geyser. If you begin your trip on the Howard Eaton Trail, be prepared for some steep climbs. Please yield the track to skiers coming down.

Spring Creek Trail
7360' to 8100'
8 miles, easiest to more difficult, 740 feet elevation gain/loss
This one-way trip begins with a drop off (available by snowcoach) at Divide lookout Trailhead, approximately 7 miles east of Old Faithful. The trail follows Spring Creek consisting mostly of gentle downhill slopes with a few steep sections crossing back and forth over a series of bridges. After crossing the Firehole River Bridge, the trail joins the lone Star Geyser Trail returning to Old Faithful.

Divide Lookout Trail
8044' to 8779'
3 miles, more difficult, 735 feet elevation gain/loss.
The route begins approximately 7 miles east of Old Faithful. A snowcoach can drop you off there. The trail climbs approximately 1.7 miles up to a lookout tower that is on the Continental Divide. The tower is no longer used and is closed to the public.

Fern Cascades Loop Trail
7360' to 7600'
3 miles, more difficult, 240 feet elevation gain/loss
The one-way Fern Cascades trail begins next to the Old Faithful Snow lodge continuing past the Bear Den Ski Shop. After the trail crosses the snow vehicle road, look for directional arrows marking the beginning of the oneway loop. For your enjoyment and safety, follow the one-way signs. The trail continues along a powerline, past some government buildings, turns left and climbs approximately 250 feet. The trail continues .2 miles through rolling woodlands to Fern Cascades. CAUTION: Do not get close to the edge of the snowbanks when you view the cascades! The loop continues through lodgepole pine forest until you reach the last section, a steep downhill run. Return to the Old Faithful Snow lodge by the same route.

Mallard Lake Trail
7320' to 8120'
6.6 miles, more difficult, 800 feet elevation gain/loss
The Mallard Lake Trail begins across the road from the Old Faithful Snow lodge. Leading you through the Old Faithful lodge cabin area and down a short hill to the Firehole River. After crossing the bridge, the trail divides with the Mallard Lake Trail straight ahead and lone Star to the right. There is a 750 foot climb to Mallard Lake with some steep sections. Returning by the same route can be quite fast when the snow is packed. A permit is required if you wish to stay overnight in the area.

Black Sand Basin Trail
7280' to 7360'
4 miles, easiest, 80 feet elevation gain/loss
The route begins in front of the Old Faithful Visitor Center and travels up Geyser Hill toward Morning Glory Pool. Take the turnoff to the Daisy Geyser Group and continue on this trail until you come to the snow vehicle road. Across the road is Black Sand Basin which is often bare so you may wish to remove your skis.

Mallard Creek Loop Trail
7320' to 8120'
12 miles, more difficult to most difficult, 760 feet elevation gain/loss
Follow the Mallard Lake Trail 3.2 miles going left at the fork before reaching the lake. From there, the trail is steep with challenging turns! The trail ends at the snow vehicle road. Here, take the trail to your left which parallels the main road back through the geyser basin to Old Faithful. The trail to your right goes to Fairy Falls.

Biscuit Basin loop Trail
7320' to 7360'
5 miles, easiest, 40 feet elevation gain/loss
The route begins across the road from Old Faithful Snow lodge and continues through the Geyser Basin. The trail goes east of Morning Glory Pool and on to Biscuit Basin. This trail passes by many thermal features with good possibilities of viewing wildlife. You may wish to remove your skis as bare spots are frequent and skiing in the geyser basins may cause icing on skis. To complete a loop back to Old Faithful, follow the Mystic Falls Trail a few yards, then turn left onto a trail which leads down to a footbridge across the Little Firehole River. From the bridge. the trail continues through the woods and meadows for about a mile, returning to the main trail through the Geyser Basin at Grotto Geyser.

Mystic Falls Trail
7320' to 7400'
7 miles, easy to more difficult, 80 feet elevation gain/loss
Follow the Biscuit Basin Trail through Geyser Hill to Morning Glory Pool and on to Biscuit Basin. You will find the trail to Mystic Falls at the far end of the basin boardwalk area. Ahead about 50 yards toward Mystic Falls, the trail branches left to Summit Lake. Continuing on, the Mystic Falls Trail approaches the falls with a series of steep switchbacks. The last steep section is often bare due to thermal warmth so you may need to remove your skis and walk this part of the trail. Return by the same route. CAUTION: Do not ski any backcountry trails without first checking conditions and detailed maps. Give yourself enough time to complete either route before dark.

Fairy Falls Trail
7240' to 7400'
11 miles, easiest, 160 feet elevation gain/loss
The route begins at the southern end of the Fountain Flats Drive. A snowcoach can drop you off there. At approximately 1.3 miles the trail divides. Continue skiing to the left passing through lodgepole pine forest to Fairy Falls, one of the most spectacular ice-encrusted falls in the park. To return to Old Faithful, ski back to the snow vehicle road and follow the trail that runs parallel to the Biscuit Basin Trail. CAUTION: Do not attempt to ski back to Old Faithful on the Fairy Creek Trail unless you are in excellent condition and have planned in advance for a long trip!

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 7 Dec 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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