When I was younger, my favorite waterfall in Yellowstone National Park was Tower Falls. The overlook to the falls is only about 100 yards away from the road, and the truly adventurous could take a half mile hike down to the bottom of the falls. You could feel the spray on your face as the water thundered onto the rocks below.
Our 8 year-old really wanted to make this hike, so even though it is steep, we decided to give it a try. The problem is, there is no longer a hike to the bottom of the falls. You can overlook the falls with a short (100 yards) walk, but you cannot go to the bottom. The trail is still there, and it leads down, but it no longer turns toward the falls. There is a sign that warns you that you cannot view the waterfall if you continue down. DO NOT TAKE THIS HIKE TO SEE TOWER FALLS.
The hike goes down from the overlook and follows several switchbacks to the bottom of the canyon. It is no longer a half mile, but only runs about a quarter of a mile. There the trail is fenced off with a railing. You can look out over the river and see two different confluences. To the right, a small river joins the larger river at the bottom of the canyon. To the left, the water that just tumbled over Tower Falls joins the large river. It is a nice spot, and we’ve seen several species of birds and even mountain goats on the canyon walls. We just didn’t see Tower Falls.
The maintained trail ends at the river, but some people had walked over closer to the river. We decided to stay on the paved portion of the trail, but it looks like you could explore further if you felt like doing so. If you are looking for other waterfall hikes in Yellowstone, check out our list of Kid Hikes in Yellowstone.