Upper Yellowstone Falls

Upper Yellowstone Falls

Upper Yellowstone Falls is a touristy waterfall and area for sure, but...

It is definitely worth wading through the seas of people to capture all of the views of this magnificent waterfall in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone in Yellowstone National Park.

Read about our experience at this amazing waterfall or click here to skip to just the facts.

Upper Yellowstone Falls Hike

On our honeymoon visit to Upper Yellowstone Falls, we decided to park at the Lower Falls parking lot because we fully intended to hike to and see as many vantage points of the falls as we could.

The parking lot was definitely crowded with a line of cars headed in ahead of us.  We took the first opportunity for a spot that we could, as we had the luxury of any spot available because of the small size of our rental car, which I lovingly dubbed "The Moon Rover".

I already had a plan so we pretty much stuck to it and decided to hike the trail around toward the Upper Falls of Yellowstone River first.  Though, our route took us right by Crystal Falls, so of course, we maximised those views as well.

I have heard and read some people's discounted views of the scenery in Yellowstone National Park, but as a staunch lover of nature and nature's Creator, Jesus Christ, we soaked in all the views and I'm sure we'll cherish them always.

fall foliage with Upper Yellowstone Falls in background

We took a quick look and snap of the map kiosk and were off on our way.

map of waterfalls in Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

The trail took us around the southwest end of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and we hit the brink of Upper Yellowstone Falls first.

What a view!  We were immediately taken in by the views up-river from us...

upstream view from the brink of the upper waterfall of the Yellowstone River

Not to mention the breathtaking power of the falls, evident in the giant wind gusts and overpowering mist.

Because it was a sunny day and the lighting was right, we saw a rainbow in the mist of the falls and then a double rainbow and I was able to capture some pretty good photos.

double rainbow at brink of waterfall

After taking in our fill of pictures from as many angles as possible, we headed back the way we came to take in the Lower Falls before we drove around to Uncle Tom's Point to get some other views of the Upper Falls of Yellowstone.

distant view of waterfall from Uncle Tom's Point
closer view of waterfall from Uncle Tom's Point

We really wanted to hike Uncle Tom's Trail to grab what many dub as the best, most personal view of the Lower Falls, but alas...the trail was closed.

😞

We did, however, get to take a hike on a simple little side trail that followed the river upstream (which we later learned was simply the final part of the South Rim Trail) and took in some amazing views of the Yellowstone River area that reminded us of our time in Oregon earlier in the year.

my wife heads down the South Rim Trail at Yellowstone
headed down the South Rim Trail looking toward the pedestrian bridge across the Yellowstone River
beautiful scenery on the Yellowstone River
my wife posing beside the Yellowstone River

Fast Facts about Upper Yellowstone Falls:

Height: 108 feet

Type: Fan Shape

Location: Yellowstone National Park Canyon Village Area

Local Weather: Yellowstone National Park

Dog Friendly: NO

Camping: Click here

Cell Service: Spotty at Best - Plan accordingly

Nearest Emergency Room:  Subject to Traffic and Seasons

Food Nearby: Click here

Emergency Medical Information

Being that Yellowstone is so huge and such a protected place, there are limited medical facilities.

Medcor does operate 3 medical clinics within the park with varied hours, depending on the time of year.  You can find their schedules and more information on the Medcor website here.

Due to the myriad of things that could go wrong in such a remote and wild location like Yellowstone, I would look this info up ahead of time and have it handy during your visit and make an emergency plan with your group as well.

Camping in Yellowstone National Park

There are lots of campgrounds within Yellowstone and quite honestly if you are going to camp while you visit, you definitely want to reserve a spot within a park campground as the park is just so big to explore, so that is definitely the route we would like to go on any return visit.

Staying in the park simply pays big dividends due to the vast amount of ground to cover while exploring the park, whether you are chasing waterfalls or being chased by wildlife.  Only kidding about the wildlife, sort of...we accidentally got pinned between two competing bull elk during the rut while we were there and narrowly escaped.

PRO TIP:  Read the park rules and keep the proper distance from ALL wildlife.  If you need that close up, invest in zoom lenses and a good camera before you visit.

Now, here is a map of the camping spots within Yellowstone and some of them really close to Upper Yellowstone Falls...

Dining Near the Upper Falls of the Yellowstone River

Yellowstone National Park is a huge place!  We're talking gigantic here!  So, when it comes to food, since we stayed outside the park and we were on a pretty strict eating plan at the time, therefore we opted to pack our food in each day.

We simply cooked at the place we were staying outside the park and packed all of the food we would need for the day.  This is a pretty simple and economical thing to do and it is made even easier if you are traveling in a camper van or RV.  We weren't, but it was still simple enough and we did just fine.

Another advantage of packing a lunch for your Yellowstone excursions is the fact that there are just so few choices for dining at restaurants and they are generally spread so very far apart.

With that said, I do remember the night we visited Upper Yellowstone Falls and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, we came out of the park pretty late due to the traffic coming out the west entrance and we decided to order something and pick it up on the way to our AirBnB.

We got some super delicious barbecue brisket from Beartooth Barbecue in the town of West Yellowstone, Montana.  So, I can say the we highly recommend it!

Whichever way you go with your eating plan, it is definitely best to plan ahead and know exactly what route you plan to go and maybe even have some snacks on hand as a backup, just in case "Plan A" goes sideways due to circumstances you can't control like seasonal hours or unexpected closings.

Either way, I thought it might be helpful if you have a map of places to eat.  Check it out here...

We hope you enjoy your visit to Upper Yellowstone Falls and the other many waterfalls within the national park as much as we did!

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