Our list of the Top 10 Yellowstone Waterfalls is a way for us to acknowledge these unsung attractions in the world’s first national park.
Indeed, variety reigns supreme where geysers, colorful pools, heaps of wildlife, and a Grand Canyon of its own all compete for visitors’ attention and camera clicks.
And after having been to this remote corner of northwestern Wyoming (crossing into slivers of Idaho and Montana) a couple of times, we’re finally in position to name off the waterfalls we liked in America’s version of the Serengeti.
Like with other lists that we keep, we’re limiting it only to those waterfalls that we’ve personally experienced.
That meant some of the bigger waterfalls in the Bechler Backcountry didn’t make this list, because we didn’t get a chance to do a backpack deep into Yellowstone’s Cascade Corner.
There was also some stiff competition as picking just ten waterfalls in this magical part of Americana was a torturous task.
So which ones did make it? Read on and find out!
Visiting this waterfall on the Gardiner River in Sheepeater Canyon used to be just a short hike from the eastern side of Bunsen Peak.
However, it was now closed to vehicular traffic, which meant that we had to earn our visit with an eight-mile hike.
And as much work as it seemed, we actually got to better experience the regenerating forest recovering from the 1988 wildfires all beneath the imposing Bunsen Peak (so named after the German chemist Robert Bunsen of the bunsen burner).
The hike ended before this gushing 150ft waterfall, which was delightfully uncrowded thanks to the hike required to get here.
Julie and I remembered this hike well because we happened to be caught out during a lightning storm chasing this waterfall. So now that we lived to tell about it, we’re just nudging it ahead of other deserving waterfalls on this list of our favorite Yellowstone Waterfalls.
This remote waterfall nestled within the undeveloped Bechler Backcountry (also known as the “Cascade Corner”) of Yellowstone National Park was one of the few such falls reachable by a moderately short day hike.
And while the official trail only took us to a somewhat unsatisfactory view from its brink, we’re well aware that there’s a far better view across the Fall River.
However, there’s some risk involved in the river crossing to get there.
So until we’re finally successful in this traverse, we feel there’s still some untapped potential regarding this waterfall’s scenic rating.
Yet despite such shortcomings, think about how much higher up the list it would climb had we been successful seeing all of its drops cumulatively losing around 150ft in total elevation!
Indeed, we’re due to make yet another attempt at this waterfall’s elusive best view. And by having it on this list, I’m reminded even more of the desire to go back!
Contrasting the adventure to reach some of the waterfalls on this list, this particular waterfall was one of the easiest to experience.
All it took was a short drive east of Mammoth Village, where there was a fairly sizable parking area as well as a lookout peering right into this three-tiered waterfall on Lava Creek.
While the short visit made it tempting to do further exploration, each time we’ve stopped here, we were content with the views as Yellowstone had a lot more going for it on this side of the park.
Nevertheless, despite its easy access to a view, it was attractive enough for us to include on this pretty exclusive list of Yellowstone’s best waterfalls.
It’s hard to beat this attractive waterfall, which featured pillars (or namesake “towers”) pointing to the sky above this 132ft year-round waterfall on Tower Creek.
We were fortunate to have been able to witness a morning rainbow at its base on our first visit back in 2004.
However, the indefinite closure of the trail to its base meant any shot at experiencing this falls from its best position (as shown in this photo) was no longer sanctioned.
Although this waterfall had all the potential of being in the top 5 of this list of Yellowstone’s best, even its less-than-optimal view still compelled us to keep it on this top 10 list.
It’s that good!
This pleasing 70ft was actually one of the rare geothermal waterfalls as Little Firehole River was fed with hot springs just upstream from the very top of the falls.
Even the hike to reach this waterfall involved walking by Biscuit Basin, which itself featured deep blue pools like the Sapphire Pool and the spasming Jewel Geyser among others.
We had options in terms of doing the shorter 2.4-mile out-and-back hike or the longer 4.1-mile loop hike that climbed to the very rim for a top-of-the-world view of both the Biscuit Basin and the Upper Geyser Basin.
It was quite the place to scout out which geysers were going off!
All in all, we had no problems putting this thermal waterfall on our list of Yellowstone’s best.
Things have changed over the years when it came to experiencing this nearly 200ft tall waterfall.
For starters, we did the roughly five-mile round-trip hike the first time around in 2004 which traversed through a regenerating forest burnt badly by the 1988 wildfires.
Some 13 years later, we made a return visit, where it was almost as if the forest had made a full recovery!
Even the informal “social trail” we took to get our full view of the Grand Prismatic Spring was now replaced by a newly-built sanctioned spur trail and lookout, which really amped up the trail’s popularity (especially the challenge of finding parking at the trailhead)!
But one thing that hasn’t changed over the years was the waterfall itself, which still plunged gracefully in relative peace as most visitors don’t continue past the Grand Prismatic Spring overlook spur.
And it’s for the overall experience (despite the changes both good and bad) that we include it as one of our favorites in Yellowstone.
This underdog waterfall really surprised us as it was much wider than it was tall, and it sat in the far western end of the remote Bechler Backcountry so it was also peaceful and beautiful to boot!
Even with a looming angry thunderstorm about to dump on us, we found it further added to the mood and drama of the experience.
The falls was so-named because there used to be an alcove or overhang next to the left side of the falls before it collapsed.
Nevertheless, it didn’t change the general characteristic of this falls, and it was the perfect tease for deeper adventures into Yellowstone’s Cascade Corner.
Therefore, we had to put this waterfall on our top 10 list of Yellowstone’s best waterfalls!
This gushing 110ft waterfall was just upstream from the more famous Lower Falls.
Flowing on the famed Yellowstone River, it was guaranteed to flow with every bit the same force that resulted in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River further downstream.
Backed by the Chittenden Bridge (as you can see in the photo), we were able to get this view from near the Uncle Tom’s Trail.
They were doing some major renovation work during our 2017 visit to Yellowstone so the photo you see here was from our first visit back in 2004.
Either way, this waterfall belonged to the upper tier of our top 10 list of Yellowstone favorites.
This 250ft waterfall deep in the Bechler Backcountry had to have been one of the most unique experiences ever!
Born out of a “union” of Mountain Ash Creek and some unnamed creek, we easily could have called this Yellowstone’s most beautiful waterfall and placing it #1 on this list.
The decision was made even harder when considering how I extended the hike with a short side trip to the Ousel Pool, which was a small geothermally heated lukewarm waterfall perfect for swimming and relaxing before the long hike back out.
Oh, it was a real neck-and-neck race to the top of this list of Yellowstone’s ten best waterfalls. So which waterfall just edged this one out?
Just barely beating out Union Falls for the top spot on this competitive list, there was no denying the sheer beauty and magnitude of this 308ft waterfall.
Especially considering that it sat at the head of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River (the very canyon whose sulfur-caked cliffs yielded the namesake “yellow stones”), millions of people come here every year to behold the quintessential beauty of the world’s first national park!
Overlooks on both sides of the rim made it easy to experience this place.
We were even able to get a closer look at the bottom of Uncle Tom’s Trail to really get a sense of this waterfall’s sheer power.
Indeed, there’s a reason why this waterfall and associated canyon was so famous and well-publicized, and as you can see from the photo above, the proof was quite literally in Nature’s pudding, so to speak.
Looking for more of our favorites?
Below are a few more Top 10 lists of the waterfalls we’ve visited.
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