Osprey Falls is a hidden gem located on the northern side of Yellowstone National Park. It isn’t as well-known or easily accessed as some of the more popular geological attractions within the park. Osprey plummets over an ancient lava flow 150′ into Sheepeater Canyon. Is “sheepeater” not the best name for a canyon? I get the impression that a lot of livestock tumbled over these cliffs. Just me?
Most of the 4.4-mile trail (one way) is along very flat terrain and is literally a stroll in the park, but the last 1.4 miles feels like it is straight down, and of course straight back up on the way out. The final stretch is nothing but switchbacks on top of switchbacks. My wife and I did this in September and it was still a very hot expedition so bring plenty of water. The waterfall is spectacular and well worth the effort and the canyon has some good views on your way down/up.
I would recommend using a bike to ride out to the top of the steep descent. The flat portion is along an old gravel road and doesn’t have the best scenery. This is one of the few trails in Yellowstone where bikes are allowed to take advantage if you are able. Just watch where you choose to have lunch as I sat down next to a snake.