Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Discovering the Unexpected - Yellowstone's Waterfalls

While fooling around on the Internet one Sunday prior to our visit, I came across a website detailing the waterfalls of Yellowstone. I had never associated the park with waterfalls. I now stand informed. They range from tall, softly flowing ribbons of water to short powerful cascades. Hunting them out was a high point of our visit.

Kepler Cascades

This was the first water feature we visited. As the name implies, cascades of water flow into a river creating rapids at their base. They are viewed from a bridge built over the swiftly moving river.

Gibbon Falls

This waterfall is on the shorter side. It is split into two distinct parts. A gentle flow on one side, while the other side, forced through a more narrow opening, gushes powerfully before mingling in the river below with it's more placid other half.

Lewis Falls

Serendipitously discovered while we were on our way out of the park, this 30 foot high majestic cascade empties into a river which winds through marshes and a meadow clad in the beautiful golden hues of autumn.

Undine Falls

Set against a craggy rock wall, 3 large tiers of water empty into sloping rapids rumbling down a deep narrow channel.

Tower Falls

A beautiful and graceful lady, tall stone pinnacles stand along her sides like sentinels before her extremely long, narrow ribbon of water plunges to the valley far below.

Wraith Falls

This one requires a 1/4 mile stroll down a meadow trail and across boardwalks erected over fragile marshy wetlands. A thin sheet of water first slides down a sloping rock face and than a winding staircase cut by nature into the stone wall before disappearing into the small stream at it's base.

The last two mentioned here are the most powerful and best known falls in the park.

The Upper Falls

Strong, quickly moving rapids lead up to this muscular powerhouse of water. Caves have been carved into the red lichen spotted rock wall along one side of the top of these falls by the force of the river before it makes it's roaring plunge. The viewing platform at the brink of this waterfall is remarkably accessible. At it's base a river flows leading to -

The Lower Falls

Although reaching the brink of these falls could be difficult for some, it is well worth the effort. The falls, although beautiful, full and powerful, are not as awe inspiring as what they have created over the years, the "Grand Canyon of Yellowstone". A deep channel whose steep walls are shades of yellow, orange and gray. Evergreens line the canyon's top and sprout along the walls in crevices and outcroppings. The canyon is a place of supreme beauty which should not be missed. 


No comments:

Post a Comment