Yellowstone National Park has two falls that are referred to as Yellowstone Falls. They are Upper Falls and Lower Falls. Lower Yellowstone River Falls is nationally one of the highest falls, which is why it warrants discussion separate from Upper Falls. The Yellowstone River will flow from the north where Yellowstone Lake resides. It moves through Hayden Valley before hitting Upper Falls. The drop over Upper Falls is roughly 109 feet.
Yellowstone River continues its southward run for 400 meters or a quarter of a mile where it reaches Lower Falls. Lower Yellowstone River Falls is over 300 feet in height, which is higher than Niagara Falls. After this fall from great height Yellowstone River enters Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. The canyon is over 1,000 feet in many places and 4000 feet wide. This canyon is 590,000 years old according to geologists.
The water volume that moves over Lower Falls is by no means the same as Niagara Falls. Lower Falls is only 70 feet wide, which means less water can flow out at a time and the river just doesn't have the same amount of water anyway. During peak season about 63,000 gallons per second will flower over Lower Falls. In winter only 5,000 gallons per second will make the trek. Yellowstone River does have the distinction of being the largest volume of water per second in the Rocky Mountains, though.
The Yellowstone Falls and specifically Lower Falls were discovered in 1846 when Jim Bridger happened upon them. He was the first white American to explore the area. In 1869 the falls were again discovered by the Folsom Party working for the US Government. Images of the falls were recorded in 1870 with Private Charles Moore as the artist.
Viewing Lower River Falls is possible from several locations. For those wishing to drive through Canyon region, there is the Canyon Loop with overlooks and parking lots to get out and view the falls. The parking lots are also where the trail heads are for visitors who wish to walk closer to the falls. In one section there are stairs attached to the cliff walls of the canyon, which take one down to the bottom. From the stairs and other points it is possible to see the falls. On the Canyon Loop there is a last stop where a trail head takes one to the top of the falls.
If visitors take the loop they will reach Canyon Village where supply stores, souvenir shops, and much more await. Horseback options are also available for those who do not wish to walk. While in the area visitors should check out the trail loop that brings them to Upper Falls. Though not as impressive, Upper Falls is certainly a picturesque place to take some photos or have a picnic. Tourists also have Firehole Falls, Gibbon Falls, Kepler Cascades, Undine Falls, Mystic Falls, Rustic Falls, Tower Falls, and Moose Falls to visit. These various falls are spread throughout the park.
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