Kepler Cascades

Yellowstone National Park / Old Faithful, Wyoming, USA

About Kepler Cascades

Hiking Distance: roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2004-06-20
Date last visited: 2017-08-11

Waterfall Latitude: 44.44546
Waterfall Longitude: -110.80573

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

The Kepler Cascades was probably the easiest waterfall of this magnitude that we were able to visit within Yellowstone National Park.

The lookout platform was pretty much right next to the spacious parking lot (see directions below).

Kepler_Cascades_017_08112017 - Kepler Cascades
Kepler Cascades

And it was from that lookout platform that we were able to witness the Firehole River drop in a series of successive cascades and waterfalls over a cumulative height of about 100-150ft (as shown above).

According to The Guide to Yellowstone Waterfalls and Their Discovery, this waterfall was named in 1881 by the park superintendent P.W. Norris.

He named it after Kepler Hoyt, the son of the Governor of the Wyoming Territory John Hoyt, who toured the park that year.

Although that book showed a picture of the falls from the base of the largest of the drops you see pictured above, there was no sanctioned way down the steep cliffs to get there.

Kepler_Cascades_001_08112017 - The lookout for the Kepler Cascades was quite literally right next to its parking lot
The lookout for the Kepler Cascades was quite literally right next to its parking lot

This waterfall was probably the nearest one to the delightful Upper Geyser Basin, which included the Old Faithful Geyser and several other predictable geysers as well as colorful thermal pools and springs.

And yet despite its close proximity to the very busy Old Faithful area, the falls curiously didn’t have nearly as much fanfare.

I’m guessing it was precisely due to the haste of most visitors to get to the Upper Geyser Basin at the expense of overlooking the Kepler Cascades.


The Kepler Cascades reside in Yellowstone National Park near West Yellowstone in Park County, Wyoming. They are administered by the National Park Service. For information or inquiries about the park as well as current conditions, visit the National Park Service website.

Kepler_Cascades_004_08112017 - Context of the Kepler Cascades and the wooden viewing area as seen in August 2017
Kepler_Cascades_005_08112017 - Looking towards the end of the lookout platform for Kepler Cascades during our August 2017 visit
Kepler_Cascades_009_08112017 - Broad view of the Kepler Cascades as seen during our August 2017 visit
Kepler_Cascades_012_08112017 - Julie trying to stay warm while checking out the Kepler Cascades during our August 2017 visit
Kepler_Cascades_019_08112017 - We actually had the Kepler Cascades to ourselves for several minutes during our August 2017 visit before quite a few people started to show up
Kepler_Cascades_001_jx_01192004 - This was what the Kepler Cascades looked like back in June 2004.  As you can see, not much had changed regarding this waterfall over the years
Kepler_Cascades_005_06202004 - More focused look at the Kepler Cascades as seen during our June 2004 visit

To get to the Kepler Cascades, it was a short 2.5-mile drive southeast from the Old Faithful Village turnoff heading towards the West Thumb Geyser Basin along the Grand Loop Road.

The well-signed parking lot was on the right.

Kepler_Cascades_003_08112017 - The Kepler Cascades Parking Lot
The Kepler Cascades Parking Lot

For a little context, Old Faithful was about 17 miles (under 30 minutes drive) south of the Madison Junction and about 19 miles (30 minutes drive) west of the West Thumb Junction. It was also about 98 miles (2.5 hours drive) north of Jackson and about 32 miles (an hour drive) east of West Yellowstone, Montana.

For additional geographical context, West Yellowstone, Montana was 58 miles (at least 90 minutes drive) south of Gardiner, Montana, 90 miles (over 90 minutes drive) south of Bozeman, Montana, 72 miles (under 2 hours drive) north of Flagg Ranch (near Yellowstone’s South Entrance), and 321 miles (about 4.5 hours drive) north of Salt Lake City, Utah.

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Sweep showing the entirety of the cascades as well as some of the downstream canyon

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Tagged with: old faithful, west thumb, jackson, wyoming, west yellowstone, yellowstone, waterfall, rockies, rocky mountains, park county, lone star geyser

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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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