After our 1 mile round trip walk to Skinny Dip Falls, we drove a little further south on the parkway and took a short 6/10 mile round trip walk to Second Falls (or as some call it, Lower Falls) at Graveyard Fields.
If you haven’t been there in a while, the parking area now has pit toilets, and additional parking spaces. Previously there were only 15 parking spaces. There are now 40. I read somewhere that if you can’t park in one of those 40 spaces, that you have to go to another overlook and walk back. The day that we were there, we found a parking space. But, there were still cars up and down the parkway parked on the side of the road.
A little history about how Graveyard Fields got it’s name. It received this name after the trees in the area were toppled by huge winds. The tree stumps that were left looked like gravestones in a graveyard. But, in 1925, a fire burned the area, and it has since then been trying to recover.
Yellowstone Prong is the river that runs through the area. There are 2 waterfalls at Graveyard Fields. Second Falls (which we took today), and Upper Falls. If you walk to both of the falls, it ends up being about 4 miles in all.
There is a map on the sign at the trailhead, but I always like to take a copy that I keep in my backpack. At the trailhead, you walk down wooden steps and take a paved trail through rhododendron. You then come to a set of stairs that you take down to a bridge that crosses Yellowstone Prong. Today there wasn’t alot of water in the river, and there were people walking out on the rocks and wading the river on both sides of the bridge. After you cross the river, you’ll come to a fork. We took a right to go to Second Falls. Before all of the improvements, most of the trail after crossing the river to the next set of stairs was spent on the ground. Now most of it is boardwalk. You then come to the next set of stairs. This is a pretty long set of stairs. When you get to the bottom of the stairs, you can walk out to the river. It was hard to take photos today because there were so many people. When you are ready to leave the river, as you are heading back to the stairs, there is a little trail that you can take off to your right. This takes you further down the river. We’ve taken that before, but not today.
After you trudge back up all of those stairs, if you want to then go to Upper Falls, watch for the sign / trail on your right just before you cross the river bridge. We didn’t go there today, since we did Skinny Dip Falls first, but if I recall correctly, most of this trail to Upper Falls is fairly level. At the end, there’s a slight climb. Right before you arrive at Upper Falls, there is a split. If you go to the right, you will view the main drop of the falls. If you go to the left, you will do a little rock climbing. When you head back towards the car from here, after about 3/4 of a mile, there will be a fork to the right where you can cross a river bridge. This is a short cut to the parking area.
But today, instead of taking that right to Upper Falls, we just crossed the river and headed back to the car. It was getting to be late in the day and we needed to head towards home.
This evening we did get to see the twins. We ended up having tornado warnings at home. So, Jason and Kim came to the house and hung out in our basement for a while. So, of course I had to include a photo too of Eli and Sawyer.
Here are a few photos from today. Run your cursor over each for a brief description.