I visited Yellowstone National Park five years ago, and yet I’m just now getting to one of the major features of the park, Lower Yellowstone Falls. Upper and Lower Yellowstone Falls are stunningly beautiful, and they’re definitely worth seeking out if you’re in the park.
With Old Faithful and so many other geysers, Mammoth Hot Springs, and the wildlife, it can be difficult to choose what to do. And you should plan enough time to visit all of them. But you should also plan to visit a number of waterfalls, and if you only have time for a few, the falls on the Yellowstone River are probably the best to choose. The scenery around the falls is amazing.
The falls are very easy to get to and visit. They can be accessed just south of Canyon Village. From the North Rim Drive, Inspiration Point, Grandview Point and Lookout Point all give different views of the Lower Falls. From the South Rim Drive, Artists Point gives a view of the Lower Falls. As a waterfall fan, I believe I stopped at a number of these viewpoints since each stop is unique. Uncle Tom’s Trail is found on the South Rim, and that also leads down to a view of the falls. I did not do that, as I’m not a big fan of stairs/heights. No matter what, you’ll be able to find a wonderful view of the falls.
Canyon Village is found at the intersection of Norris Canyon Road and Grand Loop Road.
From that intersection, head south on Grand Loop Road, drive approximately 2 miles and you’ll find the N Rim Drive and S Rim Drive. Choose which viewpoint you want to visit, and that will help decide whether you want the North Rim or South Rim.
Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Length of Hike: variable, but often negligible
If you visit Iceland, and you explore outside of Reykjavík, you’ll likely end up on the Ring Road. If you take one of the tour buses to visit major attractions, many of them will head toward Skógafoss, which is one of the many stunning waterfalls in Iceland, and is extremely easy to visit. What I didn’t know the first time I visited Iceland in 2012 was that there was another waterfall about 1 mile away.
Kvernufoss isn’t as large or as exciting, but if you’re looking to get away from the crowds, and you can, Kvernufoss is the waterfall for you. Reaching the falls is a bit more adventurous, in that there are some unique steps. The start of the hike is near the Skógar Museum, but instead of stopping there, you pass the museum and some other buildings, and park at the end of that road near some abandoned farm equipment. Head east from that parking lot along the paths that have shown up. At some point, you’ll reach a wire fence that has been set to keep the sheep in/out. At the right spot, there should be a stepladder that you can use to safely cross over the fence. My sister was rather pregnant at this time, so it was interesting! After crossing that fence, it is pretty smooth sailing in terms of finding the falls. Follow the path toward the river/creek, and then once you reach the creek, turn north and follow the river upstream. That’s where Kvernufoss is!
The hike isn’t bad, but for the second half of the hike, it does climb uphill, and it can be a bit slippery, so wear appropriate shoes. You’ll likely have the trail to yourself. We ran into just a few other people. It’s a much quieter waterfall than Skógafoss, but it is also beautiful!
From the Ring Road, head toward Skógar, which is hard to miss because of the waterfall. If heading east, you’ll turn left toward the village.
Instead of heading toward Skógafoss, follow signs for the Skógar Museum. You’ll turn right at some point to arrive at the museum. Then follow the directions above.
Accessibility: 5/10 (moderate)
Length of Hike: 0.75 miles round-trip
I thought I would have written about Feather Falls already. The adventure getting to Feather Falls was definitely interesting, to say the least. Though once I had finally reached Feather Falls, it was definitely worth it!
I probably didn’t pay attention as much to the directions about the loop trail that exists, even as I’m reading it now. Realize there is an upper loop trail at 4.5 miles to the falls, and a lower loop trail at 3.5 miles to the falls. As many people probably think, let’s choose the shorter portion since it will be quicker. It is not, very simply. It is actually much more difficult to hike, at least when I visited in early March 2016. The lower loop trail seems to be constant up and down, and I would describe that trail as more “rustic”. It had been raining significantly the days before I arrived at the falls, and so the lower loop trail became very muddy, and in some parts had essentially a small but steady stream of water flowing downhill. I was soaked and muddy after doing the lower loop portion first. To get to the viewpoint for Feather Falls, you then steadily climb uphill, though it’s rather short. Unluckily, my knee decided to buckle and there was some definite pain, and I still had to return to the parking area. Luckily, I wasn’t injured where I couldn’t get back.
If I were to go on this hike again, I would absolutely recommend using the upper loop trail for the whole hike. There wasn’t any view on the lower loop trail that was remotely worth the difficulty. The upper loop trail was much more enjoyable, even with a knee in pain.
Once you reach the falls, as I mentioned, the whole hike becomes absolutely worth it. At 410′ tall, Feather Falls is stunningly beautiful. The scenery and geology around the falls is amazing. You definitely feel like you’ve entered Yosemite National Park (which isn’t really wildly far away.) So even though it might be a moderate/strenuous hike, it’s still a hike you should do if you love waterfalls!
I stayed in Oroville. If starting from Oroville, head east on CA-162. Drive 4-6 miles on CA-162 east, depending on where you start in Oroville.
Turn right on Forbestown Road, and drive for 6 miles.
Turn left onto Lumpkin Road and drive 11 miles.
Turn left onto Bryant Ravine Road and drive just under 2 miles to the trail head.
Choose which part of the loop you want to hike, and head to the falls.
Accesibility: 4/10 (Moderate/Strenuous)
Length of Hike: 7.4 to 9.8 miles round-trip
Many of the waterfalls I visited in Wales required some hiking. Rhaeadr Dyserth was one of the few waterfalls that didn’t require any hiking (beyond getting closer to the falls). So while it’s in a cute little city and does require a bit of driving out of the way to see the falls, it’s worth it for the quick viewing opportunities (though the hikes in Wales were stunning).
Getting to the falls isn’t particularly difficult, though it is very easy to miss the parking area for the falls (and the parking area is rather small), though it isn’t wildly difficult to track backwards. From there, you can see the falls, but you can also walk a little bit closer to get a much better view. I believe there was a request for payment to enter the park, though I don’t remember how much. The paved path to the falls is beautiful, though there were a lot of little bugs flying around! It’s a quick stop to photograph the falls. While you’re there, check out the walls…no one is really sure where the walls are from.
Head toward Dyserth, Wales.
From A5151 (High Street in the town), turn right onto B5119 (Waterfall Road).
The falls will be on your right, with the parking area to the north of the falls.
Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Length of Hike: negligible
In 2016, I flew into Rapid City, South Dakota. I had the intention to check a few waterfalls off, including some waterfalls in Nebraska. I saw three waterfalls in Nebraska, Snake River Falls,Smith Falls, and Fort Falls. All three of them were surprisingly beautiful. One doesn’t necessarily associate waterfalls with Nebraska, but you should.
Fort Falls is found in Fort Niobara National Wildlife Refuge, which is open sunrise to sunset. Getting to the trail for the falls does require driving through the refuge, where you’re almost guaranteed to see some prairie dogs. They were abundant. Once at the parking area for the trail head, it was a short hike to the falls. At 45′, Fort Falls is an impressive waterfall that just appears. It was definitely fun to photograph, as you can try a few different angles with the falls. If you continue down the trail, you’ll end up at the Niobara River, and will have a great view of some cliffs along the river.
From Valentine, Nebraska, head northeast on NE-12, the Outlaw Trail Scenic Byway.
Turn right into the entrance to Fort Niobara National Wildlife Refuge (which might be labeled Nebraska 16D).
After entering the park, I would follow the signs that clearly indicate where the waterfall is. There is a interconnected system of dirt roads throughout the refuge and they don’t have clear names. If you’re on the right path, you should end up at a looped parking area, and an information sign will indicate that you’re very close to the falls.
Accessibility: 8/10 (easy/moderate)
Length of Hike: 0.75 miles round-trip
I should have written about this waterfall years ago. I visited Indian Canyon Falls in April 2011, and I distinctly remember enjoying my visit to Indian Canyon Falls, but I don’t remember many of the other details about the hike. Was it a difficult hike? I don’t remember? How long is the hike? Not really sure. And searching online doesn’t seem to provide a whole lot of clear information, even 8 years later. It seems to be a hidden gem still.
Indian Canyon Falls is right outside of Spokane. I stumbled upon it searching online. It’s not in many books about waterfalls of the Pacific Northwest. I don’t remember it being a particularly difficult hike nor do I remember it being long, but it’s been a while. It seems from searching that the hike is a short one, but that it is of moderate difficulty. When I visited in April, there seemed to be more water flowing over the falls than I have seen in some other pictures. I still found it to be a beautiful waterfall, and if you’re in the Spokane area, I would encourage you to seek out Indian Canyon Falls.
I’m just going to provide the last few steps you’ll probably take to get to the parking area for the falls. You’ll end up on N Government Way at some point. You’ll want to head north, likely.
Turn left on W Greenwood Rd.
After about 1000 feet, you’ll then split left onto S Indian Canyon Drive. You should come to a parking area at W Canyon Drive (at least that’s what it shows on Google).
I don’t remember if there were numbered trails. One website refers to using trail 121…The waterfall seemed easy enough to find.
My experience with Mount Magazine was pretty interesting. I have to admit that I’m not even sure how I ended up at Mt Magazine in the first place. Most of the waterfalls in Arkansas are in the north of the state. Mt Magazine Cascades (and Falls) are closer to the center of the state (though still a bit west). I wasn’t having much luck finding impressive waterfalls further north, so maybe I decided to head to somewhere more unconventional…
Mount Magazine is the tallest point in the state, so it’s not surprising that this could lead to waterfalls. The drive to the state park is up a winding road and it was beautiful. It was rather foggy, though. It made it a bit difficult to see where the falls might be.
I do remember wandering around for a bit. I don’t know if I officially found the Cascades or the Falls found in the “Arkansas Waterfall Guidebook” by Tim Ernst. I believe I led myself astray for a bit, and then somehow stumbled upon some falling water. (I do think I found the cascades, though they weren’t as photogenic as I expected…but that was due to different water levels.) After not much other luck, I called the search awash. It was luckier than some of the other searches I was having in Arkansas, a few of which I just completely gave up.
Head to Mount Magazine State Park. You’ll follow AR-309 (Mount Magazine Scenic Byway) to get there.
Turn onto Mount Magazine Road. This will lead you up to the circular road around the summit.
At the Brown Springs Picnic area, follow the trail to the Cascades. (I don’t remember this part very much.)