Yellowstone waterfalls overflow with remarkable qualities, appealing to fanatics and casual admirers alike.
Our previous Yellowstone waterfalls page covered some of our favorite roadside geysers like Rustic and Wraith Falls in the Mammoth Hot Springs area. Indeed, most of the falls mentioned so far in this series have either been roadside or accessible via a short drive. This batch, however, takes you (mostly) off the beaten track along the Bechler and Yellowstone rivers.
A fair warning about the Bechler falls: they’re located in the backcountry, along the 32-mile Bechler River trail, which starts from the Lone Star trailhead. If you’re looking to see these falls, you should incorporate them into a multi-day backcountry trip, because seeing them in one day without a permit is pretty much impossible. It’s a popular hiking route too, given its relative proximity to the Old Faithful area, so be sure and book your campsites early.
And if you’re going to go out into the backcountry, be sure and follow all precautions. Most importantly, be sure and pack bear spray, just in case.
Named by members of the 1885 Arthur Hague Geological Survey for the Greek goddess of the rainbow, Iris Falls is a pretty, secluded falls. Its waters tumble 45 feet, often casting rainbows depending on the time of day and the angle of the sun. It’s located near Treasure Island on the Bechler River—alas, there’s probably no mountain man gold hidden anywhere on it.
The word “colonnade” denotes series of columns arranged in equal intervals. Historian Lee H. Whittlesey speculates the name, in this instance, either comes from a set of columnar basalt layers located near the falls, or the fact that Colonnade consists of two falls.
The upper falls measures 35 feet, while the lower falls is nearly double at 67 feet.
If you’re looking to plan a trip, Colonnade Falls is located very close to backcountry campsite 9B5, along with Iris Falls. It’s a perfect pairing—you can arrive in 9B5 and make a quick jaunt between these two Yellowstone waterfalls.
Crystal Falls is one of the lesser-known waterfalls in Yellowstone National Park. Part of the issue is its closest competition consists of the Upper and Lower Falls. Crystal is fed by Cascade Creek, a tributary of the Yellowstone River. The falls themselves are pretty spectacular, falling 129 feet start to finish. And despite being relatively overshadowed, this waterfall isn’t too hard to find.
There’s an overlook that can be found just off the Rim Trail of the Grand Canyon. Otherwise, it’s partially visible from the South Rim near Uncle Tom’s Trailhead, but it’s not a great view.