Monday, October 15, 2007

Waterfalls of Yellowstone

With so many water drainages throughout Yellowstone, there are uncountable numbers of waterfalls in Yellowstone. Each one has unique features to establish its own beauty. I couldn’t resist the temptation to photograph as many as I ran across so here’s my opportunity to share those photos. Most of these were taken just off the roadside so one can imagine how much more is actually out in the backcountry of the park.

Lower Yellowstone Falls is located in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. It’s made an appearance on a previous blog and is probably the most visited waterfall in the park. There are a number of viewpoints for this waterfall thoughout the canyon, from up close to afar. The water drops approximately 300 feet and the fall probably contains the most gallons of water flowing over it.

Upper Yellowstone Falls is located a few hundred yards up river from Lower Yellowstone Falls. It has a much smaller drop, 100 feet, and has less viewpoints than the Lower Falls. Both are located along the Yellowstone River in the Canyon Village area.

Up the road from Canyon Village to Tower Junction, one can find Tower Falls. This is probably the second-most visited waterfall in the park (an entire junction has been named after it). The viewpoint where the picture was taken is just off the road about one-quarter mile. Ten years ago, a paved path took visitors close to the base of the falls. That path has stability issues now, and the closest one can get is the viewpoint.

From the road connecting Tower Junction to Mammoth Hot Springs, one will find a half-mile path to Wraith Falls. Wraith Falls is on Lupine Creek and certainly isn’t your classic waterfall. It is more like a waterslide than a waterfall. Too bad it would be a rough landing!

Right next door to Wraith Falls is Undine Falls on Lava Creek. Undine Falls is a combination of three waterfalls in one. The viewpoint is excellent as it allows one to see up the small canyon it has created.

Next to Mammoth Hot Springs is Bunsen Peak, a small peak surrounded by valleys that provides incredible views of the Gallatin mountain range. One of my favorite hikes in the park is to summit Bunsen Peak and then drop down into a canyon on the other side of the peak. Inside that canyon is Osprey Falls, the most beautiful falls in the park in my humble opinion. The hike to Osprey Falls is 4 miles from the trailhead. As one hikes into the canyon, one can hear the falls but cannot see them until arriving right in front of them, a fantastic surprise. Unfortunately, the picture doesn’t do it justice.

Between Norris junction and Madison junction is Gibbon Falls along the Gibbon River. This waterfall was the first one that Laura and I encountered when we entered the park from the North entrance and travelled to Old Faithful. The river has created an impressive canyon making for a fun and scenic drive. Gibbon Falls has a couple of viewpoints from the roadside.

Just south of Madison junction is firehole canyon. The firehole river has created an incredibly steep canyon that has a thin one-way road winding through it. Besides a swimming hole stop, the most popular stop along the 2-mile drive is firehole falls.

The upper geyser basin area, where old faithful is located, has a number of short hikes surrounding it. The 200-foot fairy falls is a popular destination for upper geyser basin visitors. The short 3-mile hike (of which 1 mile is bike accessible) is a small price to pay for this aptly-named waterfall.

A mile from the biscuit basin area is mystic falls. Mystic falls is often overshadowed by the higher Fairy Falls but is a worthy adversary in terms of beauty.

Finally, exiting the park towards Grand Teton National Park, visitors can encounter Lewis Falls along the Lewis river. This waterfall is located just south of Lewis Lake, presumably named after Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Those are the waterfalls I was able to catch during our Yellowstone stay. Let me know which one you liked the best in the poll on this blog.


Greg said...

This waterfall tour is my first. Recall only seeing three or four of these. Photos from previous viewing of these are on paper somewhere. But now high resolution from JP are saved on the hard drive. Soon it will go to CD.

Thanks for the super photos.

Hope to go to Marine Band Concert tonight with your mom and dad.

Where are you and Laura now?


Gordon Smith said...

Mystic falls is my favorite.