Far from the hustle and bustle of the cities, in the heart of the lush mountains, you will find yourself in a magical place called Yellowstone Falls. As soon as you arrive at Yellowstone Falls, you are undoubtedly mesmerized by its beauty, which makes it quite difficult to leave when the weather demands it. Yellowstone Falls is an absolute must if you’re planning on visiting Yellowstone National Park.
Besides being the first national park in the United States, Yellowstone National Park is generally considered to be the first national park ever established. The park is famous for its biodiversity and several geothermal phenomena, with Old Faithful Geyser being one of the most popular. Yellowstone National Park has more than 200 waterfalls, among which Yellowstone Falls is one of the most renowned waterfalls.
Well, what makes Yellowstone Falls the best known of all Yellowstone waterfalls? Keep reading to find out the answer and all there is to know about Yellowstone Falls.
Yellowstone Falls is located in Yellowstone National Park, in the state of Wyoming in the United States. It consists of two major waterfalls, the Lower Falls and the Upper Falls, these are areas of outstanding scenic beauty.
These spectacular and beautiful waterfalls in the Yellowstone area are created when the great Yellowstone River overflows two huge boulders just south of Canyon Junction. The Yellowstone River, which originates in Yellowstone Lake, first plunges into the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone at Upper Yellowstone Falls, followed by Lower Falls. The Lower Falls of Yellowstone is located a quarter mile downstream of the Upper Falls, where the Yellowstone River exits the Hayden Valley as it flows north from Yellowstone Lake and enters the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.
Since the lower fall plunges from a much greater height (94 meters compared to 33 meters for the upper waterfall), creating a much grander backdrop, it is by far the more scenic and more popular with tourists of the two falls. Both of Yellowstone’s falls offer spectacular views that are impossible to miss when you’re in Yellowstone National Park.
Just east of Canyon Village you will find the Lower Yellowstone Falls. You can reach the rim of the Grand Canyon via a one-way loop that offers four views, with the last stop being the road up to the top of the falls. Lower Yellowstone Falls is perhaps the most visited waterfall in Yellowstone National Park and can very well be considered the park’s signature waterfall.
With a volume that guaranteed it would be seen and heard throughout the Grand Canyon and a jaw-dropping descent of some 308 feet over the course of the year, it exudes awe-inspiring beauty. Without a doubt, the park’s best-known feature is Lower Falls, Yellowstone’s largest waterfall. It is also one of the most photographed places in Yellowstone National Park.
Best vantage points to see the Lower Falls
1) Point of view
Views of the lower falls on the north rim are best accessed from the vantage point. With an elevation of only 25 feet, simply follow the trail starting at the Lookout Point signs, taking a left at the fork, for a full view of Lower Falls. Once you’re at the Lookout Point parking lot, it’s a short walk on a well-paved path to where you can get a full view of the lower falls.
For many of the first visitors to Yellowstone National Park, this vantage point was a favorite. Superintendent PW Norris built a balustrade here in 1880 after observing that it received frequent visitors; as a result, the area has since been known as Lookout Point. It was probably the superintendent’s favorite nickname for the place. Prior to 1880, it went by various names, including Prospect Point, Lookout Rock, Mount Lookout, and Point Lookout.
This viewpoint is very popular because it’s so easy to get a great view of the lower falls, but because of that it tends to get too crowded.
2) Pointe du Rocher Rouge
If you are up for adventure, this spot is for you! With the elevation gain of about 490 feet, it is quite difficult to climb up to this place.
There is a paved trail that descends steeply to Red Rock Point from the same pullout as Lookout Point. It is quite strenuous and involves climbing a lot of steps. The walk starts at Lookout Point, where you can see both the stairway section at the very bottom and the red rocks that gave the trail its name. It ends in a narrow ridge where there is a lookout point that offers great views of the lower falls.
This place is considerably quieter but by no means empty of people to admire the waterfall. Since this is quite a strenuous hike, the view from the top gives a sense of satisfaction and a cool calm.
To note: People with lung, heart or other conditions are not recommended to visit this viewpoint.
3) Artist Point
This is another short climb with a small elevation of about 50 feet to a viewing platform. It is known as Artist Point because of the breathtaking and frequently photographed view of the Yellowstone River Falls beginning at Lower Falls, which is framed by the many color differences of the canyon walls with a scattering of the forest.
Visitors can climb the promontory from the viewing platform and enjoy the stunning views. Although this location is the most remote, it is one of the most ideal locations for photography.
4) The edge of the lower falls
This is a two-way trail, visitors can choose either the easy climb up the viewpoint or the difficult down the trail.
The top of the trail has a nice view, but hikers at the bottom of the trail can see the mighty waterfall crashing inside the canyon. Although it may be difficult, many hikers believe this location offers the best view of the lower falls.
To note: The bottom of the trail is not recommended for people with lung, heart or other conditions.
5) Uncle Tom’s Trail
Uncle Tom’s Trail is another strenuous trail with an elevation of around 500 feet. Uncle Tom’s Trail leads from the rim of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone to the base of the 308-foot-tall Lower Falls. Heavy splashes and mist from the falls are almost always separated by a rainbow. Just keep in mind that you have to go back up after descending the 328 steps.
Due to the popularity of this trail, this place often gets crowded. This viewing area probably offers the closest frontal view of lower Yellowstone Falls with proper security. Hikers should wear comfortable shoes.
The walk ends at a platform from where visitors can see, hear and physically experience the majestic force of the Lower Falls, which has often been described as an unprecedented experience.
To note: People with lung, heart or other conditions are not recommended to travel to Uncle Tom’s Trail.
One of the many waterfalls that grace the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is Upper Yellowstone Falls. Although the upper falls of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone are considerably smaller than its lower falls, they are just as magnificent. Admire the roaring water of the Upper Falls as it cascades into the Yellowstone River from a cliff. At the southern end of the Grand Canyon, the waterfall rises to a height of 109 feet.
Even though the upper falls are not as popular as the lower falls, they are still a very impressive and powerful sight as they plunge over a cliff of volcanic rock. The viewpoints at this waterfall are rarely overcrowded, which is quite nice if you’re looking to enjoy nature and its music.
Best vantage points to see the Lower Falls
1) The edge of the upper falls
This magnificent point of view is quite simple to reach. To visit the Rim of the Upper Falls, head south from Canyon Village and turn left just before the exit for South Rim Drive. A short hike will take you to the belvedere.
Listen to the sound of waterfalls as you make your way to the viewpoint. After that, head down the stairs and turn around to see the merge river gushing out from the ledge. Approach the rim of the spectacular goblet and gaze over its 109 feet of thundering water. If you are lucky you may even see rainbows in the afternoon.
2) Upper Falls Viewpoint
From Canyon Village, head south and turn left on South Rim Drive. Walk west to the Upper Falls viewpoint after parking in the first main parking spot.
With fewer risky elevations than the North Rim Trail, this quick detour from the South Rim Trail takes hikers to two Upper Falls lookout points. Visitors can see the old Canyon Bridge, now part of the North Rim Trail, above the waterfall. Look downstream from the viewpoint to the left of the falls to see Crystal Falls through the Canyon.
Yellowstone Falls is surely something not to be missed when visiting Yellowstone National Park. The magnificence of the Upper and Lower falls will let your souls immerse in nature and introduce you to its haunting beauty. Although there are many places like Firehole Canyon and Roosevelt Tower which attract most people’s attention, visiting Yellowstone Falls will give you a more tranquil experience.
Well, Yellowstone Falls is really good, but don’t forget that it’s the place where there is a lot of stuff and hundreds of waterfalls. There are many other attractions nearby including Grand Loop Road, Tower Falls, Cascade Creek, Undine Falls and many more. The list is quite long! Comment on the places you prefer or would like to visit during a trip to Yellowstone National Park.
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