Monday, August 29, 2011

How I Spent My Summer--Travelogue: Part III

Trip #3--Union Falls

My son Haydn went on a trip with the Varsity Scouts this summer, called High Adventure.  They camped near the Bechler area of Yellowstone, just outside the park and made day hikes into the park.  Since we have been obsessed with Yellowstone's waterfalls for the last three or four years I thought it would be fun to take the hike with him to Union Falls.

Union Falls is the second highest waterfall in Yellowstone National Park, and is so named because two rivers meet at the falls and their waters mingle on the way down.  It is very spectacular and only a small percentage of park visitors ever see it.  The trail takes hikers deep into the backcountry of Yellowstone and many people camp along the trail.  It is possible to do the hike as a day trip though, but it is a long one.  The hike is 7 miles one way, but at the end there is a side hike of another half mile to a swimming hole that is a must if you make the hike to Union Falls.  With the side hike, it became a sixteen miler.

We drove from Ashton, Idaho along the Grassy Lake Road and parked on the far end of the dam.  Grassy Lake sits just outside of Yellowstone.  The trail we took is called, Mountain Ash Trail.  There is only about a 300 foot elevation shift, but you lose it and gain it several times during the hike.  The trail is through a beautiful forest of white pine, lodgepole pine and douglas fir.  The undergrowth is lush and green.  It was a very pleasant hike.  Most of it was shaded.  We had one major river crossing where we had to get wet, but the rest of them had fallen logs that we could cross.

Haydn at the river crossing
Leaders and a scout crossing a stream
A view from the trail
The last half mile was the toughest because it's all uphill and sandy so it's quite a slog to get there.  After hiking the face of Table Rock, though I wasn't complaining.  Once we got to the falls, though the view was breathtaking.  The vantage point the next photo was taken from was about 150 yards away and still the mist from the falls was everywhere.  That was very refreshing after hiking through the hot sun the last mile or so.

Union Falls
Haydn and I in front of Union Falls
After that, we ate lunch and then made the pilgrimage to the swimming hole.  The neat thing about the swimming hole is there was another waterfall.

At Scout Pool
This was a great day.

1 comment:

Ashley said...

Gorgeous waterfall. I'd love to go see that one in person sometime!