Although geysers and other hydrothermal features get more press in Yellowstone, the Park is also home to some other truly wonderful watery attractions.
Of course, some of Yellowstone’s waters are already attractions in and of themselves. Lake Yellowstone, for instance, which measures as the largest alpine lake above 7,000 feet in North America. Or Tower Fall and the other falls that run through the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Seeing Lower Falls, for instance, is a must-do in Yellowstone National Park. And some falls, such as Gibbon or the Kepler Cascades, are popular because they’re located on or just off the Grand Loop Road.
Not to denigrate any of the features mentioned, they’re all wonderful and impressive. It’s just that, in Yellowstone National Park, location is everything. Especially when it comes to waterfalls.
With dozens of named waterfalls in Yellowstone National Park and hundreds more unnamed, it’s a feat to see them all, even if you’re a seasoned hiker or Park veteran. Some are even, like Gibbon or Kepler, just off the road, just waiting to be marveled at and touted.
The following are just a few of our favorite waterfalls that, for one reason or another, not as widely visited or well regarded. They’re not “hidden” gems and don’t require a trip into the backcountry any time soon. Nonetheless, for the curious traveler, they may come as pleasant surprises in a Park that thrives on surprise.
Located ten miles north of the South Entrance in the Lewis Lake area on the Lewis River (a pattern is developing) these falls mark a perfect stopping point if you’re going to or coming from Grand Teton National Park. They’re also a great destination point near Lewis Campground. Access is easy: just park in one of the pullouts and walk out to the observation area. While the vantage point isn’t as built-up as the Kepler or the Upper/Lower canyon falls, Lewis makes itself felt, measuring 30 feet from top to bottom.
You have to hike a bit to this one, whether from the pullout or the Lava Creek picnic area, but Undine is one of Yellowstone National Park’s most unique falls. Just outside of Mammoth Hot Springs on the Mammoth-Tower road, Undine tumbles through the landscape over terraced rock, a smooth contrast to the rock and pine.
The Norris-Canyon road is an underrated stretch of the Grand Loop for a few reasons, but the Virginia Cascades is undoubtedly one of them. Located two-and-a-half miles outside Norris, this waterfall can be reached by a short drive off the main road. It’s a tranquil spot and despite its 60 feet of ongoing rush, the Virginia Cascades exude tranquility too. Unfortunately in recent seasons, the road leading back to the Cascades has been closed. Nonetheless, they’re worth the trip if you can make it.