Lost Lake Loop in the Tower-Roosevelt area of Yellowstone National Park offers a variety of habitat including a quaint lake, open sagebrush meadows, and older coniferous forests. This variety leads to a great collection of wildlife including antelope, bison, bears, birds and wonderful wildflowers in the spring.
The sun danced in and out of the clouds as we started hiking from the parking lot of the Petrified Tree exhibit near Tower Junction. The trail to Lost Lake follows up a lovely meadow to this quaint lake. It’s lined with lily pads and its combination of meadow and surrounding forest make excellent habitat for a wide variety of birds. We did this hike in May and there were a splendid variety of wildflowers as well.
The hill right behind you, as you face the lake, is a nice scramble to get up to some higher meadows if you’re looking for a little more exploration. We went up there and found a herd of about four bison, then headed back down to the lake.
From there, we continued on to do the loop, but instead of taking the trail down to Roosevelt Lodge, we opted to continue traversing the hillside on the trail over to Lost Creek. The trail wraps up the valley and crosses the small creek on a cool, old footbridge, then continues through a great forest to cliffs and an epic overlook. The rocky cliffs and view are worth it, but when you turn around and look upstream, you’re treated to the fantastic Lost Creek Falls. This little gem is tucked away in the cliffs and should be seen by more people.
The trail continues along into a sagebrush meadow, then switchbacks down to behind the Roosevelt Corrals. If you follow the road from behind the corrals that traverses the base of the hills, you will end up behind the lodge. We went in between the corrals to the road and walked to the Tower Ranger Station where the Lost Lake Loop Trail continued.
From there, you steeply climb a sagebrush meadow lined and dotted with trees. While you catch your breath, the views towards the Pleasant Valley meadows are great and get better as you climb. Once on the top, open sagebrush meadows once again give you a top of the world sense and then follow a drainage back to your car. When we got back, we were delighted to see a black bear foraging in the meadows.
You can do this loop in either direction and you can start at the Petrified Tree like we did or at the Roosevelt Lodge and Tower Ranger Station. I’m not sure any way is better than another as it’s steep up and down going in and out of the Tower-Roosevelt area. Either way, the Lost Lake Loop is definitely worth doing, especially when you throw in the Lost Creek Falls.