Length: 0.5 miles for Lost Creek Falls, 3.5 miles for the Lost Lake loop
Time: 0.5 hours to Lost Creek Falls, 2 hours for Lost Lake loop
Distance from Cody: 109 miles
Difficulty: 1 to Lost Creek Falls, 3 to Lost Lake
Best Season: May to November
Pets: No Pets are Permitted
Fees: Park Entrance Fee
Lost Creek Falls and Lost Lake are two quick hikes which get you off the beaten path and reward you with a chance to grab a beer or ice cream at the historic Roosevelt Lodge.
Roosevelt Lodge is a busy place. But the two trails which leave from the back of the lodge are lightly used, and very enjoyable. If you’re looking for a couple of quick but scenic hikes, these two will fit the bill.
What Makes it Great
Because both of these hikes are short they can be done in just a couple of hours. If you’ve got a little time to spare, Lost Lake and Lost Creek Falls are pretty enough to warrant a side trip.
Lost Creek Falls is barely over ¼ mile in distance. You can’t get up very close to the water, but you do get a nice view of this cascade style waterfall. The trail is nicely shaded and you’ll enjoy the babbling of Lost Creek as you head up. The trail is uphill to the view point with some boulders but very manageable. This is an out and back hike.
Hiking to the falls is a good warm up for getting to Lost Lake. This hike is definitely a workout. It’s about .5 mile to the top of the ridge where you’ll get your first views of Lost Lake. This is a fairly steep trail, but the lake and its surroundings are beautiful. You’ll have plenty of time to stop for a breather and enjoy the deeply wooded trail. If you go in July, you’ll be lucky enough to see the yellow waterlilies blooming along the lake shore. What seems like a long trip up is a surprisingly quick trip back down.
Who Is Going to Love It
If you’re looking to experience Yellowstone’s backcountry, but don’t want to spend all day getting there, these are the trails for you. Although you’ll meet others on the trail, it’s not so crowded you lose that wilderness vibe. Lost Lake sits in a small bowl of craggy mountains and meadows with lots of wildflowers, conifers, and shrubs. If you get there early enough in the day chances are good you’ll see some wildlife – we saw elk tracks, ducks on the lake and a not- too-old bison carcass. Don’t forget to bring bear spray.
From Lost Lake, you can continue on to view the Petrified Tree west of Tower Junction. This adds only a little more than a mile one way, or you can make this a loop by crossing the Petrified Tree parking lot, going up the hill and coming out behind the Tower Ranger Station. From there it is a short walk back to the lodge. The total loop, including Lost Creek Falls, comes in about 3.5 miles.
Directions, Parking & Regulations
From Cody head north on Wyoming 120 to the Chief Joseph Highway. Continue onto the Beartooth Scenic Highway and through the quaint town of Cooke City. From here you’ll go into Yellowstone via the Northeast Entrance and travel along Soda Butte Creek and into Lamar Valley. At Tower Junction continue straight across the intersection to Roosevelt Lodge.
Roosevelt Lodge is the perfect place to grab a burger or just hit up the grocery store for a huckleberry ice cream bar. There are a number of highly comfortable rocking chairs on the front porch – absolutely perfect relaxing and enjoying the surroundings.
Be sure to bring a park pass, bear spray, food, water, insect repellant, and sunscreen. There is little shade from Lost Lake to the Petrified Tree. The trail is broad and fairly smooth, making this a good trail for tennis shoes. Don’t forget the camera.