About Yellowstone

Discover the Majestic Tower Fall in Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is a treasure trove of natural wonders, and among its myriad attractions, Tower Fall stands out as a must-see destination. This stunning waterfall captivates visitors with its stunning 132-foot drop, framed by jagged volcanic pinnacles. Its breathtaking beauty, accessibility, and rich natural history make it one of the park’s most popular sights. Whether you're an avid nature enthusiast, a geology buff, or simply seeking the awe of untouched wilderness, Tower Fall should undoubtedly be on your Yellowstone itinerary.

Tower Fall northbound sign

How to Get to Tower Fall

Reaching Tower Fall is part of the adventure, offering scenic drives through diverse landscapes. Here's how to get there from each of the park’s entrances:

From the North Entrance: Gardiner, Montana

  • Distance: Approximately 25 miles
  • Route: Enter the park and head south on Grand Loop Road (US-89). Turn left onto Grand Loop Road (Route 89/191/287) and continue east, following signs towards Tower Junction. From Tower Junction, take the road towards Tower Fall.

From the Northeast Entrance: Cooke City, Montana

  • Distance: Approximately 30 miles
  • Route: Enter the park and follow Northeast Entrance Road west, merging with Grand Loop Road and leading directly to Tower-Roosevelt. Follow the road through Lamar Valley towards Tower Junction and continue to Tower Fall.

From the East Entrance: Cody, Wyoming

  • Distance: Approximately 60 miles
  • Route: Enter the park and take US-20 west. Follow the road until you reach the intersection with Grand Loop Road, then head north towards Tower Junction and Tower Fall.

From the South Entrance: Jackson, Wyoming

  • Distance: Approximately 75 miles / 100 miles
  • Route: From the South Entrance, you can reach Tower Fall via multiple routes through the park. For both routes, you will enter the park and head north on the South Entrance Road (US-89/191). Follow the fastest route by continuing on Grand Loop Road towards Yellowstone Lake, then north to Canyon Village, and finally northeast to Tower Junction and Tower Fall. 

From the West Entrance: West Yellowstone, Montana

  • Distance: Approximately 54 miles / 68 miles
  • Route: From the West Entrance, you can reach Tower Fall via multiple routes through the park. For both routes, enter the park and take the West Entrance Road (US-20) east. Follow the Grand Loop Road south towards Madison Junction. Follow the fastest route by taking the road east to Norris and Canyon Village. From there, continue north along Grand Loop Road to Tower Fall. Otherwise, from Madison Junction, you can pass through Mammoth Hot Springs and drive towards Tower Junction and Tower Fall. 

Frozen Tower Fall

Seasonal Changes at Tower Fall

Tower Fall offers a different experience with each season:

Spring

In spring, as the snow begins to melt, Tower Fall is at its most powerful, with increased water flow creating a thunderous cascade. Wildflowers start to bloom, adding vibrant colors to the landscape, and wildlife—including elk and bears—begin to emerge from hibernation.

Summer

Summer is the most popular time to visit Tower Fall, drawing in the largest crowds of the year. However, the weather is warm, the trails are fully accessible, and the plants are lush and lively, making it an idyllic spot for hiking and picnicking.

Autumn

Fall brings a dramatic change in scenery as the leaves turn golden and red. The cooler temperatures and fewer crowds make it a perfect time for a peaceful visit. The waterfall’s flow may reduce slightly, but the fall colors make up for it. Plus, visitors are likely to view increased wildlife activity while bears prepare for winter and elk rutting season is at its peak.

Winter

In winter, Tower Fall transforms into a serene, icy wonderland. The waterfall partially freezes, creating stunning ice formations. While the spectacle is truly stunning, note that access is limited due to snow, and visitors often need to use skis or snowshoes to reach the area.

The Science and Geology of Tower Fall

Tower Fall is a geologic marvel, shaped by volcanic activity millions of years ago. The falls cascade over volcanic basalt and rhyolite formations, which are remnants of ancient lava flows. The towering rock spires, from which the fall gets its name, are eroded remnants of harder rock that resisted the forces of erosion better than the surrounding material. The consistent flow of Tower Creek, fed by melting snow and rainfall, ensures that Tower Fall remains a year-round spectacle. The creek’s erosive power continues to shape the falls and the surrounding canyon, slowly altering the terrain. Understanding the geological history of Tower Fall provides insight into the dynamic processes that continue to shape Yellowstone's landscape.

Historical and Cultural Significance

Tower Fall has been a point of interest for centuries, first for Native American tribes and later for European explorers. The fall was named by the Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition in 1870, due to the distinctive tower-like rock formations. Over the years, it has inspired countless artists and photographers, cementing its place in the cultural and natural heritage of Yellowstone.

Tower Fall

Why Tower Fall is a Must-See Attraction

Tower Fall is a sight to behold. Its awe-inspiring natural beauty, rich geological and cultural history, and vibrant ecosystem make it a highlight of any trip to the park. The surrounding area, rich in wildlife and lush vegetation, offers a perfect setting for hiking, photography, and nature observation. Whether you're visiting in the lively springtime, roaring summer, colorful autumn, or serene winter, Tower Fall promises a unique and memorable experience. The falls' seasonal transformations provide unique and unforgettable experiences year-round, making it a favorite among visitors and a can’t-miss landmark of Yellowstone.

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