UNTIL RECENTLY, THE PARK HAD 50 RECORDED WATERFALLS. NOW IT HAS ALMOST 300.
It is a measure of Yellowstone’s vastness that a survey has found some 230 waterfalls—each at least 15 feet tall and two dozen more than 100 feet—that had never been mapped during the century and a quarter since its establishment as America’s first national park. The survey was conducted over seven years by Lee Whittlesey, a National Park Service archivist and year-round Yellowstone resident, and a pair of longtime Yellowstone explorers, Paul Rubinstein and Mike Stevens. Their work, which is still in progress, has boosted the number of recorded waterfalls in Yellowstone from 50 to almost 300.
Not everyone is thrilled with the team’s findings—or, more precisely, with their decision to make their findings public. Yellowstone devotees worry that an influx of hikers and campers will ruin the park’s remaining pristine sections. While Rubinstein is sensitive to these concerns, he and the others hope that the benefits of deepening our knowledge of Yellowstone’s beauty and uniqueness will outweigh the attendant risks.
To learn more, see The Guide to Yellowstone Waterfalls and Their Discovery , by Paul Rubinstein, Lee Whittlesey, and Mike Stevens (Westcliffe Publishers, 2000). Information about the waterfalls and other little-seen wonders of Yellowstone can also be found at