Yellowstone is home to hundreds of waterfalls. Many of them are accessible to everyone because they are right on main roads. And there are some beautiful waterfalls that you can see after a short hike. In this round-up, we’ll let you know everything we know about the waterfalls in Yellowstone.
The waterfalls in this section don’t require any hiking. They are waterfalls that you can drive to, pull into the overlook parking, and walk a short distance to the overlook. They are accessible to anyone. We love stopping at all of these roadside waterfalls in Yellowstone.
Lower Falls is the most impressive waterfall in the park. The best place to see the waterfall is just south of the Canyon Area at a short drive called Artist Point on the south side of the canyon. The paved walkway is wheel friendly, but it’s only about 50 yards depending on parking, because there will be a lot of people checking out this 110 foot waterfall.
Gibbon Falls is a roadside waterfall between Madison and Norris. There is a large parking lot right on the road, and the walk is again only about 50 yards depending on the angle you want on the waterfall. Gibbon Falls is an 85 foot cascade and it is always roaring. This waterfall is definitely worth the stop.
Undine Falls is in the far north end of the park. The waterfall is a roadside attraction and requires walking down three or four steps, but no more. Undine Falls is 60 feet and it is really beautiful. This is a great place to get everyone lined up for a picture, and it generally isn’t that busy.
Tower Falls is also in the northern end of the park. This waterfall is named for the towering rocks on either side of the brink of the waterfall. The waterfall requires a walk of about 150 yards along a paved path, but it is worth it because the water plummets 135 feet straight down. Unfortunately, they have closed the trail to the bottom of the waterfall.
Rustic Falls is located just a few miles south of Mammoth. There is a small pullout on the east side of the road, but this waterfall is unmarked. Rustic Falls drops almost 50 feet and can be seen without getting out of the car, but you do have to look back as you approach the waterfall from the south. This one is easy to drive past, so be careful.
Kepler Falls is a few miles south of Old Faithful and drops an impressive 50 feet. The walk to Kepler Falls is only about 50 yards across a bridge. This waterfall is definitely worth the drive south from Old Faithful, even if you weren’t planning on going that way!
Lewis Falls is 30 feet tall and can be seen from the road near the south entrance of Yellowstone. As you enter or exit the park through in the south, it is worth the stop to get the kids out of the car, walk across the bridge, and take a family photo by this waterfall.
Moose Falls is also in the very southern extreme of the park. Most people don’t see this one unless they are using the south entrance. The walk is unpaved and only about 75 yards. Since the trail is not maintained, you may have to avoid some mud. The waterfall is 30 feet, but you can get right up close and feel the spray on your face, which is unique compared to other waterfalls in Yellowstone.
Virginia Cascades lies on a short scenic turnout between Madison and Norris. You don’t even have to get out of the car to see this waterfall, though it is frustrating that it is slightly blocked by the trees. Virginia Cascades rumbles down a drop of 60 feet.
Firehole Falls also lies on a scenic turnout, but this one is south of Madison Junction as you head toward Old Faithful. The waterfall is beautiful and only requires a walk across the narrow road. It drops 40 feet, but keep the kids back as there is no railing and the precipice makes me nervous every time.
We love a great hike to a waterfall, and Yellowstone is full of waterfall hikes, and many of them are family friendly. We have taken our three boys on all of these hikes, and often when they were very young. Click on the link for more details about the specific waterfall hikes to see if they are right for you.
Wraith Falls (90 feet) is one of our favorite hikes, and we do it every time we are in Yellowstone. It is only 1/2 mile to the waterfall and it is a flat trail except for a small climb up to the waterfall overlook. We have seen lots of little critters here too: ground squirrels, snakes, marmots, and sometime elk.
Little Gibbon Falls
Little Gibbon Falls (25 feet) is a fun waterfall to hike to, but we have only been once many years ago before the blog existed. We often go early in the season and the trail is too wet or even snowy, so put this on your list for late Summer or Fall. The trail wasn’t hard, but there were lots of bugs so take bug spray.
Mystic Falls (70 feet) is a beautiful waterfall, and if you skip the overlook, the trail is very family friendly. It’s 2.0 miles roundtrip starting at the Biscuit Basin area, and you follow the river out to the waterfall.
Fairy Falls (200 feet) is an impressive waterfall to visit since you can get so close to this tall waterfall. There is a little pool at the bottom that is perfect to put your feet in, or throw rocks in like our boys do. This trail is a little longer at 5.0 miles round trip, but it is completely flat.
Sheepeater Waterfall (“Tukuarika Falls”)
Last time we were at Yellowstone we found a little secret that doesn’t appear in park literature. It is a section of the river that is probably best classified as a chute rather than a waterfall, but it drops about 25 feet. If the river is low, you might even call it a section of rapids. This secret waterfall is on the Sheepeater Cliff turnout, which is a very short drive between Norris and Mammoth. To find this waterfall, you must take an easy three-quarter mile walk along the river.