The Best Waterfalls of Yellowstone
Pictures from my trip to YellowstoneClick thumbnail to view full-size
Upper and Lower Yellowstone Falls (click on the clip to make full size)
Yellowstone National Park boasts many wonderful waterfalls and several that are quite spectacular. The best time to view these waterfalls is in late spring when the snow starts to really melt or after a lot of rain. Be sure to stay within the marked areas and not cross barriers to where you could get hurt or worse. Remember what happened to the students who stepped over the safety boundary at Yosemite last year and fell into the water and ultimately fell to their deaths. The barriers are there for your safety.
Upper Yellowstone Falls
The Upper Yellowstone Falls is much smaller than the Lower Falls, but it still a must see. It is a short hike from the parking area. Looking down at the base of the falls, you can normally see a rainbow in the midst of the water going over the falls. The Upper Falls is an impressive view and is 109 feet high.
Lower Yellowstone Falls
Lower Yellowstone Falls, in my opinion, is the greatest Yellowstone waterfall at over 300 feet tall, twice as high as Niagara Falls; however, Niagara Falls volume of water is larger. The Lower Falls of Yellowstone can be seen from several vantage points. Artist Point provides a picturesque view of the falls framed between the towering sides of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Any pictures that you take from here look as if they are magazine quality. This is a must see! It is nice to place to stop and relax and take in the beauty.
From there I suggest, taking a hike along Uncle Tom's trail, which takes you to the base of the lower falls deep in the canyon. It is a relatively short hike, however, it is steep and considered a strenuous hike. Let me put it this way, going down is easy, climbing 328 stairs back up to the top is the strenuous part. It is well worth the view of the Lower Falls on the left side and the high canyon walls to your right. This was one of the highlights of our vacation in Yellowstone. I would not plan on attempting this the first day that you are in the park due to the elevation. The other place to view the Lower Falls is on the other side of the river at the peak of the falls looking down from the top. Both the Upper and Lower falls are located near the Canyon Village visitor center.
Tower Falls is located just south of the Roosevelt visitor center. At the parking lot for Tower Falls are a gift shop and a smaller waterfall just west of the road. Tower falls is a short hike around the visitor center to a great view of Tower Falls. It stands 132 feet high though it looks even higher. It is much narrower than either of the Yellowstone Falls, but as you can see on the picture to the right is well worth taking the time to stop and take pictures at. I believe that there is a trail to the base of the falls here, but it was closed when I visited.
Other Waterfalls in Yellowstone
Between the Mammoth Hot Springs and Roosevelt visitor centers are several smaller falls that are worth a quick picture. Undine Falls is the most notable at 60 feet and worth a quick stop. The Virginia Cascades is also worth a quick stop. It is a 60-foot cascade falls located just off the roadway. Gibbon Falls is 84 feet high and located on the Caldera Rim near the Norris visitor center. Firehole Falls is 40 feet high and located on Firehole Canyon Drive, which can be taken near Madison Junction. Yellowstone has many more falls that what I have listed, but these are the ones that I visited.
The Upper and Lower Yellowstone Falls and Tower Falls are absolutely must-sees. Getting to many of the waterfalls in Yellowstone is easy. Many are either just off the road or only a short hike away. Viewing waterfalls is just one of the many things to do in Yellowstone.