The majestic Lower Yellowstone Falls is the crowning jewel of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. At 308 feet, the Lower Falls is the tallest waterfall in the park and more than twice the height of Niagara Falls. At twenty miles long, the canyon is up to 4,000-feet wide and 1,200-feet deep in places.
The amazing colors of the canyon walls mark hot spring and geothermal vents along the walls. The percolation of hot water containing dissolved minerals through the rocks changed their chemistry and creates the beautiful pinks, yellows, and red’s seen today. Contrary to popular belief the yellow is not sulfur but oxidized iron compounds.
It’s thought that Charles Cook discovered Lower Yellowstone Falls in 1869. Many other famous northwest explorers and mountain men are thought to have visited the area in the late 17 and early 1800’s. Their stories were often discounted a myth.
After an 1856 exploration, mountain man Jim Bridger reported observing boiling springs, spouting water, and a mountain of glass and yellow rock. These reports were largely ignored because Bridger was a known “spinner of yarns”.