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0Considering the majesty of Tower, Upper and Lower
Yellowstone Falls, it is hard tobelieve that among the most
underrated features of the park is the waterfalls of Yellowstone.  Quite possibly the most waterfalls in the world for such a condensed (if you want to call 2.2 million acres condensed) area.  It's no wonder when you consider that the Yellowstone area has the world's most famous fly fishing rivers.  The water
is coming from somewhere and the backcountry of Yellowstone
is filled with spectacular seldom-seen waterfalls and cascades.  A lot of these waterfalls are just minutes away from an easy access point. 


The following descriptions and photos of 36 previously known Yellowstone waterfalls are just the tip of the iceberg. For a true Yellowstone adventure, and a veritable treasure trove of new Yellowstone information, get a hold of a copy of The Guide To Yellowstone Waterfalls And Their Discovery -  by Paul Rubinstein, Lee Whittlesey and Mike Stevens.

Facts about "The Guide To Yellowstone Waterfalls And Their Discovery."

  • Contains information on 292 individual Yellowstone waterfalls and cascades.
  • Over 275 of these features are greater than 15 feet in height.
  • Includes over 200 color photographs of Yellowstone waterfalls..
  • Descriptions of over 220, and photographs of over 130 "new" waterfalls that have not appeared in any previous Yellowstone publications.
  • Describes in detail over 25 falls of 100 feet or higher.
  • Describes 12 "new" spectacular falls in the Old Faithful area alone.
  • Provides details on a remote, unexplored section of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone that is littered with huge first class waterfalls.
  • Gives new and exciting perspectives to remote, uncharted sections of the Yellowstone backcountry.
  • 11 Full-Color maps
  • Factboxes (with statistical information) accompanying each waterfall entry for quick reference.
  • Fully footnoted and a lengthy bibliography for researchers and historians.

"The Essenstials for Planning your
Trip to Yellowstone Park"

Roadside Waterfalls

(photo by Mike Stevens)KEPLER CASCADES
This set of multiple cascades and waterfalls, 100-150 feet high, is located on the Firehole River above Old Faithful. It was named in 1881 by park superintendent P.W. Norris for Kepler Hoyt, a twelve-year-old boy who toured Yellowstone that year with his father, Governor John Hoyt of Wyoming Territory. These cascades are easily viewed. There is a parking area and overlook alongside the highway.


(photo by Paul Rubinstein)CASCADES OF THE FIREHOLE
A popular series of cascades is located at the head of Firehole Canyon just below an island which was used by Yellowstone's earliest visitors as a camping spot. These cascades can be viewed at the end of the one-way Firehole Canyon Drive.


(photo by Paul Rubinstein)FIREHOLE FALLS
It is not known who actually named Firehole Falls, but members of the 1872 Hayden Survey took note of it. The falls is located in the spectacular Firehole Canyon, a place characterized by jumbled cliffs of rhyolite breccia. Motorists can see its forty-foot drop from a turnout and parking area on the Firehole Canyon Drive. (Parking Available) Numerous unnamed cascades are also visible downstream.



The Wonders of Yellowstone

The latest release from Yellowstone Media Group. A comprehensive DVD on all the wonders of Yellowstone brought to you as a video travel guide. A must have when visiting the park or just as a great gift/souvenir to remember your visit. 98 minutes

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GIBBON FALLS(photo by Paul Rubinstein)
William Henry Jackson and John Merle Coulter of the second Hayden survey discovered this waterfall of the Gibbon River, height 84 feet, in 1872. The name for it seems to have early come into general usage from the river. In addition, several early park maps used the name "First Cañon Falls."

A viewpoint of Gibbon Falls and a small parking area is located alongside the highway between Madison and Norris Junctions.


(photo by Paul Rubinstein)VIRGINIA CASCADE
Virginia Cascade can be found between Norris and Canyon on the Gibbon River. Ed Lamartine gave the name in 1886. Lamartine was the foreman in charge of building the first road through the area. The feature entranced early visitors who passed Virginia Cascade on the dusty stage road. These visitors saw the falls from its bottom, and that is probably still the best viewpoint.


This cataract, long believed to be the park's tallest at 308 feet, is also one of the great waterfalls of the North American continent. It has probably had more words written about it than any other park waterfall. Nearly half of the historic visitor reactions to Yellowstone waterfalls that have been collected were written about this cataract and its upstream companion, Upper Falls.

Traveling prospectors of the 1860s brought stories back to Montana Territory of a huge waterfall on the Yellowstone River that appeared in frontier newspapers. One such article claimed the falls was "thousands of feet" high while another averred fifteen hundred and called it "the most sublime spot on earth."

The 1869 Folsom expedition gave the name to both of the great Yellowstone waterfalls from their positions on the river, and attempted to measure their heights. Their map carried the notation "Lower Falls 350 ft." However early visitors also referred to it as the "Great Fall" or "Grand Fall" of the Yellowstone,

Today the park has constructed numerous, accessible viewpoints in which to photograph Lower Falls.


Upper Falls is the upstream of the two most famous Yellowstone waterfalls. It is 109 feet high. Jim Bridger himself was familiar with this falls, as old-timer James Gemmell has stated that in 1846, he and Bridger visited it. Viewpoints of Upper Falls are accessible on both sides of the canyon, and are a favorite of Yellowstone visitors.


(photo by Paul Rubinstein)CRYSTAL FALLS
A striking, three-step waterfall of Cascade Creek, height 129 feet, may be seen from Uncle Tom's Point if one looks to the right (north) of Upper Falls. It was named Crystal Falls in 1870 by Cornelius Hedges of the Washburn expedition. A pool above the falls was noticed early and given the name Grotto Pool by park superintendent P.W. Norris.

Crystal Falls is one of the most pleasant surprises in the Canyon area as it is generally overlooked. Walking to Crystal Falls along the North Rim Trail is an enjoyable escape for folks of all ages.


(photo by Paul Rubinstein)LEWIS FALLS
Lewis Falls is a thirty-foot-high drop of the Lewis River about a mile downstream from Lewis Lake. The area was explored in 1872 by the Hayden survey.

Due to its location above a highway bridge crossing of the Lewis River, Lewis Falls is one of the park's most photographed waterfalls. It is easily seen from one's car window when driving the south entrance road, and there is a pullout and parking area nearby.


MOOSE FALLS(photo by Paul Rubinstein)
Moose Falls on Crawfish Creek is thirty feet high and was named in 1885 by the Arnold Hague survey in accordance with the philosophy of naming natural features after local fauna. A pullout on the south entrance road just a few hundred yards inside the park's south entrance offers easy access for visitors. The falls can be viewed from either side of the stream if one uses the very short trails provided.


(photo by Paul Rubinstein)RUSTIC FALLS
Named in 1879 by park superintendent P.W. Norris, Rustic Falls on Glen Creek is 47 feet high. Members of the Hayden survey saw it in 1871, and Joshua Crissman photographed it in 1872.

The nearby Golden Gate Canyon and Golden Gate Bridge are closely connected to Rustic Falls. The bridge has been rebuilt three times since the original wooden one was erected in 1885, and the canyon received its name from the golden lichens which color its walls.


(photo by Mike Stevens)UNDINE FALLS
This three-step waterfall of Lava Creek, height sixty feet, appeared on the cover of National Geographic Magazine for July 1977. It is a multi-step falls that consists of three plunges which can be seen from an overlook on the main road.

Originally called "East Gardner Falls," "Cascade Falls of the East Gardiner," or "Gardiner River Falls," Undine received its present name in 1885 from geologist Arnold Hague. Undine (Webster says it is pronounced UN deen) was named for wise, usually female water spirits from German mythology who lived around waterfalls and who could gain souls by marrying mortal men.


(photo by Mike Stevens)WRAITH FALLS
Wraith Falls, a 100-foot gently sloping cascade on Lupine Creek was named in 1885 by members of the Hague parties of the U.S. Geological Survey. Although there is no documentation of the reason for this name, the survey members were apparently reminded of a ghost or spectre in the gossamer rivulets of white water here. There is an easy, half-mile-long trail to this falls, which takes hikers to an overlook that was moved and revamped in the early 1990s. Signs mark the trailhead on the Mammoth-Tower Road about a mile east of the Lava Creek Picnic Area. Keen eyed visitors can even spot this falls in the distance from the upper terraces at Mammoth.


(photo by Mike Stevens)TOWER FALL
This "chastely-beautiful" waterfall of Tower Creek, height 132 feet, was called "Little Falls" by fur trappers. Fur trapper Jim Bridger himself gave that information to Father Jean DeSmet who showed it on an 1851 map.

Tower Fall was named in 1870 by members of the Washburn party, probably Samuel Hauser, who wrote in his diary: "Campt near the most beautiful falls--I ever saw--I named them 'Tower falls'--from the towers and pinnacles that surround them."

Today the Tower Fall area is one of the most congested areas of the park. There is a parking area on the road between Roosevelt and Canyon, but it gets quite crowded in mid-summer. The walk to the overlook is roughly 100 yards, while a more strenuous hike will take the visitor to the base of the falls.


(photo by Paul Rubinstein)LOST CREEK FALLS
Located on Lost Creek just one-quarter mile above Roosevelt Lodge, Lost Creek Falls is forty feet high and an easy walk for Roosevelt visitors. The tranquility of this plunge-type falls is probably its most attractive feature.

This falls is especially affected by its loss of water in the autumn. It offers an inviting treat for those willing to take the short walk to view the sheer, dark-colored wall over which the water drops. The easy, well maintained trail ends about 100 yards short of the falls but provides a fine view. Travel beyond the trail is unsteady due to loose footing and steep slopes.




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