When planning a trip to the best waterfalls in Yellowstone, it can be hard to decide which of these amazing waterfalls to visit. Although the falls in this park are not as tall and dramatic as the waterfalls in Yosemite, they are still undeniably stunning and will leave you in awe of the beauty of Wyoming.
No matter if you are looking for easily accessible falls or falls that you have to hike for miles to reach, you will find what you are looking for in Yellowstone National Park.
Which of these waterfalls will you visit first?
Frequently Asked Questions About The Waterfalls In Yellowstone
How many waterfalls does Yellowstone have?
There are nearly 300 waterfalls in Yellowstone.
What is the largest waterfall in Yellowstone National Park?
The Lower Falls is 308 feet tall and is the tallest waterfall in the park. It’s actually two times the size of Niagara Falls.
What do I do if I see a bear on one of the waterfall hikes in Yellowstone?
Be alert. Watch for signs of bear activity like scratches on trees or scat near the trail.
If you do see a bear, make a lot of noise. Clap your hands, yell out, wave your arms and make yourself look book. Make your presence clearly known.
If you can, hike in groups of three people or more.
Carry bear spray. Make sure you learn how to use the spray before you hike into bear country, there are YouTube videos for this. Make sure to keep the spray immediately available, not inside your backpack.
If clapping and being loud doesn’t work, be prepared to use your bear spray.
Unbelievable Waterfalls In Yellowstone That You Will Love
This delicate waterfall is known as Fairy Falls and it is one of the best waterfalls in Yellowstone. Standing at 200 feet tall it is a spectacular waterfall in the park that you should add to your Yellowstone “to-see” list. You will take the Fairy Falls Trail for 6.7 miles to enjoy this waterfall.
Fairy Falls is located in the western part of Yellowstone National Park with trailheads north and south of the Midway Geyser Basin and is best visited during the summer, fall, or winter. You can either park at the end of Fountain Flat Drive or you can park a mile south of the Midway Geyser Basin in the designated Fairy Falls Parking Lot.
One of the coolest things about taking the fairy Falls Trail is that you get to see colorful hot springs along the trail to the falls. The Fairy Falls Trail also gives you a view of the iconic Grand Prismatic Spring. You will hike 1.2 miles from the trailhead and then will be greeted with a view down of the famous spring. If you have been looking for long hikes in Yellowstone, consider this one as it has a dreamy waterfall as a payoff.
When it comes to waterfalls in Yellowstone National Park, Dunanda Falls is one of the best. This waterfall is simply out of this world and will make you feel like you have stepped into a fantasy world. For the hike to the waterfall, you will need to follow along the Boundry Creek Trail. There will be signs at each junction on the trail that you will need to pay close attention to in order to make sure you are heading in the right direction to Dunanda Falls.
The trail starts through a pine forest and after a couple of miles it turns into beautiful open meadows. If you are hiking on a clear day you will be gifted with great views of the Tetons to the southeast. Keep in mind that there are a few minor creek crossings on the hike and one river crossing. You will want to bring a pair of sandals that you can cross the water in and/or an extra pair of socks for the hike to this waterfall.
After eight miles of hiking, you will reach Campsite 9A3. At this campsite, you will follow an unmarked path down to the river where you will hike along the river for less than a quarter of a mile before reaching the stunning Dunanda Falls. There are hot pools beneath the falls that you can soak in!
Tower Fall is a stunning waterfall that plunges 132 feet down a rock cliff. You can find this waterfall in the northeastern part of Yellowstone close to Tower Junction. When you are there you will be able to see unusual rock columns near the fall that were created by a lava flow that cracked as it cooled. You’re able to see Tower Fall roughly 100 yards from the Canyon Village parking area, making it one of the most accessible waterfalls in Yellowstone.
If you are interested in staying in the area you can stay at the Roosevelt Lodge which is just down the road from Tower Fall. It opened in 1920, nearly two decades after president Roosevelt camped nearby. The lodge is a collection of cabins and there is a charming and rustic restaurant as well.
One of the best things to do in Wyoming is to visit Lower Falls. This is one of the very best waterfalls in Yellowstone and definitely the most iconic in the park. Lower Falls is on the Yellowstone River and towers at 308 feet tall. The location of this waterfall is simply out of this world. It is sat at the head of a large canyon known as the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River.
The parking spots and pullouts for the Lower Falls Lookout Point are about two miles from Canyon Village. There is a short walk on a paved path from the parking area where you can view the falls from the lookout. It’s super easy to get a good view of this waterfall from the lookout. This is one of the most accessible waterfalls in Yellowstone and therefore one of the most crowded as well.
Another way that you can get great views of this waterfall is by hiking to Red Rock Point. There is a steep paved trail that descends to this area. The trail is about a half of a mile and descends via a series of switchbacks then comes to a narrow bridge where you can see the fall. From there you can hike down a long series of stairs to get closer to the falls.
If you are interested in hiking to waterfalls, but you don’t want to spend all day doing so, you may like Gibbon Falls. This waterfall can be reached via an easy 0.5-mile trail that gains just 55 feet in elevation. This trail is good for all skill levels and is ideal for those traveling with young kids who can’t hike very far, pregnant mommas, or those hiking with an infant in a baby carrier.
This is really one of the best waterfalls in Yellowstone due to it being easily reached, great river views, and a lot of rich information at the lookout for the falls as well. You can find info about the road builders who paved the way for the road into the area as well as information about the waterfall and general ecosystem.
Did you know that in 1928 the road through this canyon saw on average 764 cares each day in the summer? This is surprisingly high for the time period. Then, in 1996 there was an average of 6,689 cars driving through the canyon each day for the month of July? This really makes you wonder what kind of traffic this road sees today with the increasing popularity of travel in the U.S.
For those looking for the best swimming holes in Yellowstone, you can find an amazing one along the Firehole River. When driving on Firehole Canyon Drive you will pass the Firehole River, Swimming Hole, and Falls.
The waterfall is 40 feet tall in a canyon that was formed by a large lava flow. you will find a small parking area and small pull-offs where you can park next to the road and get a view of the falls. If you have been looking for roadside waterfalls in Yellowstone, this one is for you!
The swimming hole along the river in Firehole Canyon is one of two designated swimming areas in the park. (The other area is the Boiling River which has no facilities and is best visited from late fall through winter.) There isn’t any parking for the swimming hole either, you will need to find a place on the side of the road. Despite the name of this swimming hole, it is not heated by hot springs.
Upper Falls of The Yellowstone River
Upper Falls of The Yellowstone River is located in the Canyon Area of the park. This waterfall is the first of only two falls in the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone National Park. You can view the waterfall from the Upper Falls Viewpoint or you can take a short hike to see it as well.
If you want to hike to see the falls you will drive south from the Canyon Village and before you reach the turnoff for South Rim Drive you will turn left to reach the Brink of the Upper Falls. Here you can enjoy a short and easy 0.8-mile hike to get a closer view of the waterfall.
This beautiful waterfall was named after Meriwether Lewis of the famous Lewis and Clark explorers. This waterfall is unique in that it is extremely easy to spot when driving through Yellowstone National Park. If you’re looking for the best roadside waterfalls in Yellowstone, Lewis Falls should be on your radar.
The waterfall is on the smaller side at just thirty feet tall. When driving on South Entrance Road you can see Lewis Falls from the bridge over the Lewis River. If you don’t want to get out you can just view it from the road. However, you have the option of parking at one of the nearby pull-offs and hiking the short trail that takes you closer to the waterfall.
If you have been looking for the biggest waterfall in Yellowstone, you found it! Union Falls is in the southwestern part of Yellowstone National Park. You can reach this massive 250-foot waterfall via the Mountain Ash Trail.
The trail is 15.4 miles and is ranked as hard in difficulty. You will gain around 1,930 feet of elevation gain on this out and back trail. If you are wondering when is the best time of year to visit Union Falls, the best time is from May until September.
You will love the look of this waterfall. It has a very unique appearance and is worth the hike to see for yourself and snap a few photos of this distinctive waterfall. The waterfall appears to be the back of someone wearing a hooded cloak with their arms stretched out to the sides.
Wraith Falls is a 79-foot waterfall on Lupine Creek in Yellowstone National Park. You will take the Wraith Falls Trailhead to reach the waterfall. The trailhead begins at a pullout about half a mile east of the Lava Creek Picnic Area on Grand Loop Road.
Wraith Falls is one of the best waterfalls in Yellowstone because it is perfect for travelers who are traveling with kids or those who are simply not interested in hiking long distances to get a glimpse of some of Yellowstone’s best waterfalls.
The trail to Wraith Falls is a short and easy 0.5-mile hike. You don’t need to plan on spending more than one hour hiking and viewing the waterfall, leaving you open to see many other features in the park during your day spent in Yellowstone.
Mystic Falls can be reached via a 2.4-mile hike on an out and back trail. You can turn around at the waterfall and go back the same way you came on the Mystic falls Trail or you can climb the switchbacks five hundred feet up to the overlook of the Upper Geyser Basin. If you take the switchbacks to this overlook you will loop back to the main trail and this adds an additional 1.5 miles to your hike.
This waterfall is best visited in either the summer, fall, or winter months. The trail is ranked as moderate in difficulty and is a very popular waterfall hike in the national park. You will be gaining a total of just over 600 feet in elevation during your hike. If you are able it is highly recommended that you walk up to the overlook of the basin as it is one of the best views of that area in the park.
Osprey Falls is one of the most majestic waterfalls in Yellowstone. You can reach the falls by following the Old Bunsen Road through the grassland and burned forest for three miles until you reach the Osprey Falls trailhead. This trail will have you descending around 700 feet into Sheepwater Canyon which is one of the deepest canyons in Yellowstone.
Osprey Falls is located on the Gardner River and the water spills down around 150 feet over the edge of a historic cooled lava flow. The trail to the falls is an 8 mile out and back trail that will begin and end at the same point. You should plan on scheduling around 4-6 hours for hiking this trail, more if you aren’t used to hiking long distances.
Cave Falls is one of the most unique waterfalls in Yellowstone due to the fact that it is wider than it is tall. The falls extend 250 feet in width but only reaches 20 feet in height. When it comes to waterfalls in the Cascade Corner of Yellowstone, Cave Falls is the best.
Most of the waterfalls in this region of the park require long day hikes or overnight backpacking treats but the Cave Falls hike is only 0.3 miles round trip. You can actually see the falls from the pull-off without even having to hike if you so choose. In this region, there are a lot of waterfalls like the popular Union Falls and Dunanda Falls, neither of which are as accessible as Cave Falls.
This spectacular waterfall is quite impressive as it stands at nearly 130 feet tall. It is easy to skip over this waterfall as it is neighbored by the more popular waterfalls of the Upper and Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River. You can see all three Grand Canyon of Yellowstone Falls from one trail if you’re up for it. Take the Upper Falls, Lower Falls, and Crystal Falls Trail for a grand total of 3.8 miles of hiking.
You can expect to experience around 460 feet of elevation gain on this out and back trail. This trail is best used from April through to October. You will be greeted by bridge views, overlooks, river views, and of course the beautiful Crystal Falls as well as the Lower and Upper Falls as well.
If you are planning a Wyoming road trip, you will want to be sure to add some stunning Yellowstone waterfalls to your itinerary, Rustic Falls is a great option! This is another one of the waterfalls in Yellowstone that can be seen from the roadside. The appearance of Rustic Falls is a bit unique like Union Falls when it comes to its shape.
For those who are wanting to see a waterfall while putting forth the least amount of effort, it doesn’t get any easier than Rustic Falls as it is literally right next to the road. This little waterfall is just 47 feet tall and the water ripples down the basalt cliff into a small creek below.
Now that you have seen some of the very best waterfalls that Yellowstone National Park has to offer, you can see that this park is truly overflowing with natural beauty, gorgeous hikes, and opportunities to relax in the great outdoors.
Which of these waterfalls in Yellowstone will you visit first?
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