Introduction to Waterfalls in Yellowstone National Park

Introduction to Yellowstone's Waterfalls.

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Waterfalls in Yellowstone National Park

Lewis Falls

Lewis Falls

Most people have seen pictures of Yellowstone's Grand Canyon and the Lower Falls of Yellowstone. So, I wanted to share other falls with you. Do you know how many falls there are in Yellowstone National Park?

Lewis Falls, seen above in its fall finery, is one of at least 290 permanent or temporary waterfalls in Yellowstone National Park. Very few people have seen many of these falls over the years.

Three people who have seen those 290 waterfalls wrote about them in the out-of-publication book The Guide to Yellowstone Waterfalls and Their Discovery. Paul Rubinstein, Lee H. Whittlesey and Mike Stevens spent seven years hiking the backcountry of Yellowstone. They often took others with them, such as my good ranger friend Joanne. They saw 290 waterfalls that fell at least 15 feet and many more that didn't meet that height qualification. They will be the first to tell you they are sure they have yet to see all the Park waterfalls. Remember, the Park encompasses 2.2 million acres, much of which have been seen by few human visitors. To answer the question at the end of the first paragraph, we must determine how many waterfalls exist in Yellowstone.

Many of those waterfalls are buried deep in the backcountry. But at least 15 or more waterfalls or cascades are within a 2-3 mile walk, and many are just steps from the parking area. You are encouraged to visit as many as time allows.

Waterfalls are another way nature displays its power with water within the Park. The picture to the left is of Moose Falls, steps away from the parking lot. Once there, the noise from the falls totally blocks all traffic sounds. It was invigorating and peaceful at the same time. I was alone and could easily imagine what it must have been like for those who first explored this part of our country.

The above authors used the following definitions for waterfalls and cascades. "...waterfall to mean a plunge or a horsetail, while we use cascade to mean water flowing at an angle with too many small leaps or segments to count."1

Moose Falls

Moose Falls near the South Gate.

Continue to types of waterfalls here.

Search the Internet, and you may find a reasonably priced copy of the above book to help you explore Yellowstone's waterfalls.

1Rubinstein, P. W., Whittlesey, L. H., and Stevens, Mike. The Guide to Yellowstone Waterfalls and Their Discovery. (2nd Ed.). Eaglewood, CO, 2000: Westcliffe Publishers.

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