Lewis Falls

Yellowstone National Park / South Entrance, Wyoming, USA

About Lewis Falls

Hiking Distance: 0.2 miles round trip (bridge view and end of walk view)
Suggested Time: 15 minutes

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

Waterfall Latitude: 44.26748
Waterfall Longitude: -110.63700

Find Nearby Accommodation



Lewis Falls was a wide 30ft tall waterfall on the Lewis River, where we chanced upon it as we were driving south on the South Entrance Road as it was one of the easier waterfalls to see.

According to The Guide to Yellowstone Waterfalls and Their Discovery, the falls was named after Meriwether Lewis from the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1803-1807, despite the fact that their explorations were 50 miles to the north of this spot.

Lewis_Falls_Yellowstone_025_08112017 - Lewis Falls
Lewis Falls

That said, a Hayden surveyor by the name of Frank Bradley honored Lewis by naming the falls as such because he wanted at least one landmark to be named after one of the guys who first surveyed the region.

Experiencing Lewis Falls

Each time we’ve stopped for this waterfall, it was in the morning when the rising sun would shine right on the waterfall. For the rest of the day, at least part or all of it would be in shadow. Thus, morning would be the time to take photographs.

When we first visited the falls in June 2004, the best views we were willing to get were from the north side of the bridge over the Lewis River.

I did spot some faint trails that continued for a closer and more direct look at the Lewis Falls, but it looked ill-defined.

That said, I suspected that the picture shown in the Yellowstone Waterfalls book was probably where that trail would have led to.

On a more recent visit in August 2017, it appeared that a new trail was built that brought us closer to the falls, and that was where the photo at the top of this page came from.

This was one of a handful of examples where the park service made changes to the park that was actually for the better.

Lewis_Falls_004_06202004 - After some brief scrambling to try to improve the view back in 2004, this was about as clean a look as I could get of Lewis Falls without straying too far from the bridge
After some brief scrambling to try to improve the view back in 2004, this was about as clean a look as I could get of Lewis Falls without straying too far from the bridge

Especially in this case, the erosion from off-trail scrambling would be less likely given the obvious trail that was now in place while at the same time enhancing the visitor experience.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition

Finally, the Lewis and Clark expedition was significant because it was the first government-sanctioned effort to explore and map the Western Frontiers (including parts of what would become Yellowstone National Park) shortly after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.

Apparently with some assistance from Sacagawea (a Native American woman from the Shoshone Tribe), they ultimately reached the Pacific Ocean.

For better or for worse (especially for Native Americans), this set the stage for settlers to come west, but it also set the stage for the eventual establishment of National Parks.


Lewis Falls resides in Yellowstone National Park. For information or inquiries about the park as well as current conditions, visit the National Park Service website.

Lewis_Falls_Yellowstone_001_08112017 - Checking out the rising sun from the Lewis Falls pullouts by the bridge over the Lewis River
Lewis_Falls_Yellowstone_003_08112017 - Context of the pullouts flanking the South Entrance Road by the Lewis Falls
Lewis_Falls_Yellowstone_007_08112017 - Context of the view of Lewis Falls from the north side of the Lewis River Bridge
Lewis_Falls_Yellowstone_008_08112017 - Steamy view towards the Lewis Falls suggesting that the Lewis River must have had some degree of geothermal heating
Lewis_Falls_002_06202004 - This was how we saw Lewis Falls when we first noticed it in June 2004 while traversing the bridge over Lewis River
Lewis_Falls_006_06202004 - Back in 2004, this view of the Lewis Falls from the south side of the bridge was about as good a view as I was going to get
Lewis_Falls_Yellowstone_002_08112017 - Then, in our most recent visit in 2017, the park service appeared to have improved the trail and viewing area
Lewis_Falls_Yellowstone_005_08112017 - This was the view of Lewis Falls from the start of the newly built or newly improved trail
Lewis_Falls_Yellowstone_014_08112017 - Following the short trail to its end to see what kind of view of Lewis Falls I was going to get
Lewis_Falls_Yellowstone_016_08112017 - Looking between some trees towards this closer view of Lewis Falls
Lewis_Falls_Yellowstone_027_08112017 - Looking back at the seemingly new Lewis Falls Trail
Lewis_Falls_Yellowstone_028_08112017 - Returning to the pullouts after having my fill of Lewis Falls


The Lewis River Bridge from where we could see the falls was about 9.6 miles north of the Yellowstone South Entrance and a little over 11 miles south of the West Thumb Junction. Unlike our first visit in June 2004, the pullouts appeared to be long on both sides of the road making them both obvious while also accommodating several cars in either direction.

The Yellowstone South Entrance was about 57 miles (75 minutes drive) north of Jackson and 70 miles southeast 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.

Sweep from the north end of the bridge over Lewis River towards the falls

Angled view looking down at the falls from the very end of the short walk

Related Top 10 Lists

No Posts Found

Tagged with: south entrance, yellowstone, west thumb, lewis lake, jackson, wyoming, west yellowstone, waterfall, rockies, rocky mountains, park county

Visitor Comments:

No users have replied to the content on this page

Share your thoughts about what you've read on this page

You must be logged in to submit content. Refresh this page after you have logged in.

Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

No users have submitted a write-up/review of this waterfall

Have you been to a waterfall? Submit a write-up/review and share your experiences or impressions

Review A Waterfall

Nearest Waterfalls