West 2016: Yellowstone Waterfalls


Day 8, 9 & 10, August 12, 13 & 14, 2016

Yellowstone has a lot of waterfalls.  It makes sense; there are several rivers in Yellowstone, and they each have quite a few falls.  In total, 45 of the falls in Yellowstone are named, and there are hundreds more unnamed waterfalls within the park.  The tallest, Silver Cord Cascade, is 1,200 feet tall; it is a horsetail type waterfall.  The tallest plunge type waterfall is the Lower Falls of Yellowstone Falls, at 308 feet.

Lower Yellowstone Falls – 308 feet

Mom and I went to see the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.  It certainly isn’t as spectacular as the actual Grand Canyon, but it is quite impressive in its own right.  It was well worth a visit.  The canyon begins at Yellowstone Falls, and extends 24 miles downstream.  It ranges between 800 and 1,200 feet deep, and is between 1/4 and 3/4 mile wide.  And to be honest, the actual Grand Canyon doesn’t have waterfalls like this!

Yellowstone Canyon – view from the Brink of the Lower Falls

There are hikes on both the North and South Rims of the Canyon, which can either be done as an out and back or as a thru-hike if you use two vehicles.  I didn’t do either of them on this trip, but they are definitely something I want to do when I go back!

The first written descriptions of the canyon came in 1869, but Native Americans had surely seen the canyon, as well as fur trappers traveling through the area.  The canyon contains two impressive waterfalls, the Upper Yellowstone Falls, at 109 feet, and the Lower Yellowstone Falls, at 308 feet.  There are numerous viewpoints to get a glimpse of both falls, and several hikes nearby.

Upper Yellowstone Falls – 109 feet

 

Me with Lower Yellowstone Falls

I did the Brink of the Lower Falls hike, which takes you down several switchbacks to the point where the Lower Falls begins its fall.  The trail is 0.9 miles round trip, with a descent on the way there, so obviously you have to climb back up on the way out.  It was worth the trip!  Mom wasn’t up for it, so a nice man took my picture when I got to the viewpoint.

The Brink of the Lower Falls Trail

 

The Brink of the Lower Falls

 

The bottom of the Lower Falls, from the Brink of the Lower Falls Viewpoint

 

Me at the Brink of the Lower Falls – Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone in the distance

Next time I am there, I would love to see more of the waterfalls and do more of the hikes to get a closer view!

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