Upper Falls of the Yellowstone River: Discover 5 Scenic Spots

best waterfalls in yellowstone
© iStock.com/Bartfett

Written by August Croft

Published: July 25, 2022

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Visiting the Upper Falls of the Yellowstone River is one of the best spots for scenic viewpoints in all of Yellowstone National Park. But what viewpoints should you consider on your trip, especially if you are looking for picture-perfect scenic spots? There are more places to consider than you may think, but where should you begin? 

In this article, we will give you some of the best scenic spots along the Upper Falls of the Yellowstone River. We will go over some of the best trails along the Upper Falls as well, in case you are considering a hike or a picnic along this river. If you are planning a trip to Yellowstone National Park, spending time along the Yellowstone River is a must! Let’s get started.

Upper Falls of the Yellowstone River

The Yellowstone River is the longest undammed river in the continental United States, and you can view the best parts of this river in Yellowstone National Park.

©iStock.com/Bartfett

Yellowstone National ParkUpper Falls Facts and Figures
Top Sights to SeeUpper Falls, Lower Falls, Crystal Falls, Grand View, Inspiration Point
Upper Falls Height110 feet tall
Best Trails Near the Upper FallsUncle Tom’s Trailhead, South Rim Trail, Brink of the Upper Falls
Length of the Yellowstone River692 miles
Things to KnowTake the Canyon Loop Road for multiple scenic turnouts and stops!

Upper Falls of the Yellowstone River: An Overview

Upper Falls of the Yellowstone River

Yellowstone has its own Grand Canyon, and the Upper Falls is a part of this deep valley.

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The Yellowstone River is the longest undammed river in the continental United States, and you can view the best parts of this river in Yellowstone National Park. At 692 miles long, the Yellowstone River is impressive and beautiful, cascading over cliffs and rocks along the way. This river is vital to all of the wildlife species within the park, as well as locals living in the area. 

One of the most stunning locations along all of the Yellowstone River has to be both the Upper and Lower Falls. These two waterfalls gather tourists all year round, given their impressive size and heights. Yellowstone has its own Grand Canyon, and the Upper Falls is a part of this deep valley. It’s no wonder that this location is so popular within the park! 

Scenic Spots Near the Upper Falls of the Yellowstone River

Upper Falls of the Yellowstone River

The Upper Falls cascades down 110 feet, though it isn’t the tallest waterfall along the Yellowstone River.

©iStock.com/T Schofield

Whether you are driving through Yellowstone National Park or accompanying a guided tour in the winter time, there are a number of scenic spots near the Upper Falls of the Yellowstone River that you must see. Here are some popular viewpoints, hikes, and beautiful locations that only Yellowstone National Park can offer you! 

Upper Falls

Naturally, viewing the Upper Falls should be on your list of priorities if you are interested in seeing the Yellowstone River. The Upper Falls cascades down 110 feet, though it isn’t the tallest waterfall along the Yellowstone River. However, it is wide and impressive, and you can easily see it from your vehicle as well as a few key trails. 

For example, the Canyon Loop Road is one of the easiest ways to view the Upper Falls, all from the comfort of your vehicle. There are multiple turnouts and scenic parking spots so that you can stop and see this waterfall in all of its glory. If you are interested in hiking, you can take the brink of the Upper Falls Trail to get an up close and personal view of this waterfall. Additionally, Uncle Tom’s Trailhead gives you a similar view of this beautiful waterfall. 

Grand View

Upper Falls of the Yellowstone River

Often considered the tallest waterfall in Yellowstone National Park, the Lower Falls cascade 308 feet down to the river below.

©iStock.com/Martina Birnbaum

Did you know that there is a location in Yellowstone National Park known as the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone? You can check out this 20 mile long canyon from a number of viewpoints and overlook locations, including a spot known simply as the Grand View. This location has a parking lot and the option to overlook the entirety of the Yellowstone Grand Canyon, offering sweeping views of both waterfalls and the entire valley below! 

Lower Falls

Often considered the tallest waterfall in Yellowstone National Park, the Lower Falls cascade 308 feet down to the river below. This is one of the most photographed locations in all of Yellowstone National Park, given the fact that it is stunning and beautiful. You can view this waterfall from a number of roadway locations as well as trailheads, including the Brink of the Lower Falls Trail. It’s a must-see, at any time of year!

Upper Falls of the Yellowstone River

Given the fact that the Upper and Lower Falls take precedence over Crystal Falls, you may find that this hike is pleasant, serene, and less populated than other Yellowstone locations.

©Colton Stiffler/Shutterstock.com

Inspiration Point

Inspiration Point gives you sweeping views of the Yellowstone Grand Canyon and both waterfalls, and you can access it via a trail or a parking lot, depending on your comfortability and preferences. From the parking lot, you can reach the Inspiration Point Overlook by taking a few sets of steep stairs, totaling less than 1/10 of a mile. Or you can choose to hike the North Rim Trail for even more of a challenge and a greater reward! 

Crystal Falls

If you head north from the Brink of the Upper Falls parking lot, there is a relatively unknown trailhead that will take you to Crystal Falls. This waterfall is a bit of an underdog in Yellowstone National Park, though it still towers 129 feet in the air. Given the fact that the Upper and Lower Falls take precedence over Crystal Falls, you may find that this hike is pleasant, serene, and less populated than other Yellowstone locations. Plus, it’s less than a quarter mile to view this beautiful waterfall, so it’s well worth the short detour!


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About the Author

August Croft is a writer at A-Z Animals where their primary focus is on astrology, symbolism, and gardening. August has been writing a variety of content for over 4 years and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Theater from Southern Oregon University, which they earned in 2014. They are currently working toward a professional certification in astrology and chart reading. A resident of Oregon, August enjoys playwriting, craft beer, and cooking seasonal recipes for their friends and high school sweetheart.

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