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The Top Eight Waterfalls of Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park, one of America’s most cherished natural treasures, is renowned for its geothermal features, diverse wildlife, and breathtaking landscapes. Among these natural wonders, the park's waterfalls stand out as stunning spectacles, each with its own awe-inspiring allure and captivating charm. With abundant falls throughout the park, we’ve created a list of the top eight, must-see waterfalls to add to your Yellowstone bucket list. From where to find them to the best time to visit for peak viewing, we’ve got you covered for everything and anything waterfalls. 

Lower Falls of the Yellowstone through the clouds in early spring

1. Lower Falls of the Yellowstone

Yellowstone River, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Lower Yellowstone Falls is perhaps the most iconic waterfall in the park. Plunging 308 feet, it is nearly twice the height of Niagara Falls. The best viewpoints are Artist Point, Uncle Tom's Trail, and the Brink of the Lower Falls.

Upper Falls from Upper Falls Viewpoint

2. Upper Falls of the Yellowstone

Yellowstone River, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Just upstream from Lower Falls, the Upper Falls offer an equally inspiring display, dropping 109 feet. Viewing points include the Brink of the Upper Falls and several trails along the south rim.

Morning light on Tower Fall

3. Tower Fall

Tower Creek, near Tower-Roosevelt

Tower Fall drops 132 feet and is easily accessible via a short walk from the Tower Fall parking area. The viewing platform provides a stunning view of the falls framed by the surrounding rock pinnacles. While it remains picturesque throughout the year, spring and early summer—May to June—are ideal times to visit.

Gibbon Falls

4. Gibbon Falls

Gibbon River, near Norris Geyser Basin

Gibbon Falls cascades 84 feet and is visible from a roadside pullout on the Grand Loop Road, making it one of the most accessible waterfalls in the park.

Mystic Falls on a summer day

5. Mystic Falls

Little Firehole River, near Biscuit Basin

Mystic Falls is a 70-foot waterfall that can be reached by a 2.4-mile round trip hike starting from Biscuit Basin. The trail provides excellent views of the falls and the surrounding area. The hike is a great activity to enjoy from spring through early fall, but the best time to the falls is during late spring to early summer when water levels are at their highest. 

Hikers cross Fairy Creek below Fairy Falls

6. Fairy Falls

Fairy Creek, near Midway Geyser Basin

Fairy Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls in the park, plunging 200 feet. It can be accessed via a 5-mile round trip hike starting near the Grand Prismatic Spring overlook. Beyond the reward of the gorgeous falls, the hike itself is a popular and scenic trail to add to your summertime adventures. 

Undine Falls from the Lava Creek Trail

7. Undine Falls

Lava Creek, near Mammoth Hot Springs

Undine Falls is a three-tiered waterfall with a total drop of 60 feet. It is easily viewed from a roadside pullout on the Mammoth-Tower Road.

Firehole Falls in Firehole Canyon

8. Firehole Falls

Firehole River, Firehole Canyon Drive

Firehole Falls, with a height of 40 feet, is located on the one-way Firehole Canyon Drive. The drive offers a scenic route with several pullouts to view the falls and the river.

Lower Falls from Artist Point

Best Time of Year to Visit for Waterfall Viewing

The best time to visit Yellowstone National Park for peak waterfall viewing is during the late spring and early summer, from May to July. During this period, the snowmelt significantly enhances the water flow, creating spectacular displays of cascading water. However, each season offers its own unique experience and perspective:

Spring (April to June): This is the ideal time for high water levels from the melting winter snow. Trails and access roads may still be opening up throughout the end of May and early June, but the waterfalls are at their most powerful.

Summer (July to September): Water levels begin to recede, but the falls are still impressive. The warmer weather makes hiking more enjoyable, and all park facilities and trails are typically open.

Fall (September to November): As the water levels drop, the falls are less powerful, but still beautiful regardless. The fall foliage adds a colorful backdrop, making it an optimal time for photo opportunities. 

Winter (December to March): Some waterfalls can be viewed in their frozen state, offering a unique and serene beauty. However, access is limited, and many roads and trails are closed.

Sunset timelapse from Artist Point

Tips for Visiting

Plan Ahead: Check the park's official website for road and trail conditions, especially in early spring and late fall when snow can still affect accessibility.

Safety First: Stay on designated trails and viewing platforms. Waterfall areas can be slippery and dangerous.

Early Morning Visits: Arriving early in the day can help you avoid crowds and provide better lighting for photography.

Bring Binoculars: Some waterfalls, like Lower Yellowstone Falls, are best appreciated from a distance.

You haven’t fully experienced Yellowstone National Park without witnessing the sheer size, power, and beauty of its waterfalls. Whether you’re an avid hiker or simply a nature lover, these waterfalls are a testament to the park’s unparalleled wonder and offer an unforgettable sight-seeing experience. So pack your camera, lace up your hiking boots, and prepare to be awed by the stunning cascades of Yellowstone.

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