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Backpacker Magazine – August 2008

Trip Finder: Waterfall Hikes

Nine ways to get your cascade fix from Tennessee to Montana.

by: Steve Johnson

Hyalite Creek, MT (Photo by Josh Gage)
Hyalite Creek, MT (Photo by Josh Gage)
St. Peter's Dome, WI (Photo by Paul McMahon
St. Peter's Dome, WI (Photo by Paul McMahon
Gregory Bald Loop, NC (Photo by Tim Seaver)
Gregory Bald Loop, NC (Photo by Tim Seaver)
Superior Hiking Trail, MN (Photo by Terry Donnelly)
Superior Hiking Trail, MN (Photo by Terry Donnelly)

Mountain West

Yellowstone National Park, WY
If this easy seven-mile out-and-back to secluded backcountry camping doesn't turn you on, the six-tiered, 140-foot Terraced Falls will. Set out on the South Boundary Trail north of Grassy Lake Reservoir. After a mile, turn left onto Terraced Falls Trail and head to the edge of a 70,000-year-old lava flow to view the falls, one of the biggest in the park's southwest corner. Backtrack to the Pitchstone Plateau Trail and go east three miles to two campsites.

Hyalite Creek, MT
The Hyalite Creek Trail, in the Gallatin Range south of Bozeman, has it all: falls, lakes, mountains. Tucked into a quiver of 10,000-foot peaks, Hyalite Creek boasts 11 unnamed slinky falls along the five-mile trek to Hyalite Lake. It's an ice climber's paradise in winter; a backpacker's in summer. Make basecamp in the craggy cirque basin and strike out the next morning to the summit of Hyalite Peak, two miles north. Head out on day three.

Uncompahgre Wilderness, CO
Save the best for last (secluded Porphyry Falls) on this 29-miler. Take Wetterhorn Basin Trail over Cimarron Ridge to Wetter- horn Basin. Then go cross-country to Matterhorn Peak. Loop west on Trail 227 to reach the Cimarron River. Detour downhill two miles to Porphyry Basin and horsetailing Porphyry Falls before exiting at Middle Fork. Shuttle required.

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Reader Rating: -


Mar 28, 2012

I think it's comical how those of us in Oregon want to keep the back country all to ourselves. However, when places like Bend,or Hood River in The Columbia River Gorge don't get on the list for "Americas Best Adventure Towns" people flip their lids about how these places need recognition

May 27, 2011

We Oregonians are so happy that you left our state off the list!! Thank you!!!

Sharon Elsey
May 26, 2011

Just wondering if you have ever been in Maryland. We have so many state and county forest areas here, 2 major waterfalls - one of which is enjoyed by boaters tremendously at Swallow Falls. I never ever read about our area and it is one of the most beautiful areas around. Just a note to let you know again. No worries.

Matthew Davis
May 26, 2011

Has anyone from Backpacker ever been to the Finger Lakes region of NY? It's got an amazing number of waterfalls and the FLT / NCT goes by many of them. I know that and I've only been there once!

Apr 25, 2010

We are looking for a 1-3 day hike w/in a few hours of Ithaca. Any suggestions?

You want waterfalls?
Sep 12, 2008

In New York state in the parks around Ithaca You have more waterfalls per square mile than almost anywhere. These provide swimming holes and breathtaking beauty just outside your back door.
D.K. Schmidt
Ithaca NY


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