The Waterfalls, Lakes, and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone National Park

At the heart of Yellowstone’s past, present and future lies volcanism. Three huge volcanic eruptions happened in what is now the park’s collapsed 30-by-45 mile caldera. The underground heat powering those eruptions still powers the park’s geysers, fumaroles, and mudpots. On the right side of this huge caldera, the Yellowstone Lake, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, and its numerous water falls offers us a deeper view of these forces.

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River speaks Yellowstone’s complex geologic history in dramatic  shapes and colors. The multi-hued canyon walls, the Upper and Lower Falls of Yellowstone River compose the grandeur of this unique natural treasure. Walking through the trails and walkways winding along the rims and into the canyon is a true reward for the eye and the spirit.

“…As I took in the scene, I realized my own littleness, my helplessness, my dread exposure to destruction, my inability to cope with or even comprehend the mighty architecture of nature…”

– Nathaniel P. Langford  (one of the first explorers to record his impressions of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone)

Upper Falls, Upper Falls Viewpoint

The Upper Falls drops 109 ft over a lip of volcanic rock. Upstream of the waterfall, there is the old Canyon Bridge.

Lower Falls, Artist Point, Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

Lower Falls from the Artist Point is one of the most photographed views in Yellowstone. Framed by the Canyon walls with forests for a backfrop, the Yellowstone River thunders more 308 ft over Lower Falls.

Lower Falls and the Brink of Lower Falls, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Lower Falls and the Brink of Lower Falls. Every second, an average of 37,417 gallons of water plunges 308 ft over Lower Falls.

Lower Falls of Yellowstone River, Lookout Point, with Red Rock Trail below

Lower Falls, view from Lookout Point, with Red Rock Trail below

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone River, Inspiration Point

Inspiration Point, the farthest viewpoint on North Rim Drive, gives you a splendid view of Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, and a glimpse of the Lower Falls at the far back.

Yellowstone River roars down from the Grand Canyon, then calms down in Hayden Valley, at last joins the Yellowstone Lake, the largest lake at this elevation.

Stevenson Island, Yellowstone Lake

Stevenson Island on Yellowstone Lake

I took this on a cruise tour on Yellowstone Lake.

Motor boats in Bridge Bay, Yellowstone Lake

Motor boats in Bridge Bay

Lake Hotel by the Yellowstone Lake

Lake Hotel by the Yellowstone Lake

Firehole Falls, Firehole Canyon Drive

Firehole Falls, Firehole Canyon Drive

Mystic Falls, Biscuit Basin, Yellowstone National Park

Mystic Falls, west of Biscuit Basin

I like the light coming through the brink of the Mystic Falls, lightening the water and steam.

Upper Geyser Basin Overlook, from Mystic Falls trail

Upper Geyser Basin Overlook, on top of Mystic Falls trail

After taking this shot, we were off the trail and didn’t realize that we were lost in the woods after quite some time. Fear crow up on me for a moment, but thankfully we had a hiking GPS that we could turn back and make our way out.

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6 comments

  1. This is scary beautiful! I love the first and sixth photo. The antithesis is glaring…how strong and powerful one side can be and how calm it con become consequently.

    • Thanks! Now I am amazed by the antithesis as well since you pointed it out!
      I did not have that in mind when I was compose this post. Nature has its way to surprise.

  2. A Table in the Sun

    I’ve never been to Yellowstone, so thanks for my pre-tour.

  3. These are superb. Thanks. I am in Scotland so is it a good climb up to the Artist Point and places like that?

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