Here’s what naturalist John Muir wrote in 1898 about Hayden Valley, the Yellowstone River, and its falls: For the first twenty miles its course is in a level, sunny valley lightly fringed with trees, through which it flows in silvery reaches stirred into spangles here and there by ducks and leaping trout, making no sound save a low whispering among the pebbles and the dipping willows and the sedges of its banks. Then suddenly, as if preparing for hard work, it rushes eagerly, impetuously forward rejoicing in its strength, breaks into foam-bloom, and goes thundering down into the Grand Canon in two magnificent falls, one hundred and three hundred feet high. The Canyon and Falls of the Yellowstone Don’t be confused by the names of the two famous falls of the Yellowstone River [GEO.18]. Upper Falls is upstream from Lower Falls, but Lower Falls is nearly three times taller than Upper Falls.
Upper Falls: 109 feet (33 m) Lower Falls: 308 feet (93 m) Canyon depth: 800-1200 feet (240-360 m) Canyon width: 1500-4000 feet (450-1200 m) in the area of the overlooks Canyon length: about 20 miles (32 km) from the Upper Falls to Tower Junction. You might wonder why you’ve never seen a photo showing both the Upper and Lower falls, since they’re quite close together. When you look at a detailed map or wander along the canyon rim, you can understand why. The Yellowstone River makes a big bend about two-thirds of the distance downstream to the Lower Falls from the Upper Falls. There the river turns east before it cascades over the Lower Falls. An early park tour guide and enterprising character, Uncle Tom Richard Above the Yellowstone River’s Upper Falls, the water breaks into foam-bloom, in the words of John Muir. son, built the first crude trail into the canyon in 1898. After ferrying visitors across the Yellowstone above the Upper Falls, he would show them how to descend into the canyon with the help of wooden ladders and ropes. Canyon Lodge and cabins stood at the west end of today’s parking area from 1925 to 1957. The Lodge’s loyal employees returned year after year and produced musical shows to entertain the guests.