Tower Fall

Yellowstone National Park / Roosevelt, Wyoming, USA

About Tower Fall

Hiking Distance: 1 mile round trip (base)
Suggested Time: 45-60 minutes

Date first visited: 2004-06-24
Date last visited: 2004-06-24

Waterfall Latitude: 44.89369
Waterfall Longitude: -110.38731

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Tower Fall was one of the more graceful and picturesque waterfalls that we’ve seen in Yellowstone.

It was a beautiful 132ft waterfall that got its name from the tower formations looming over the canyon it was nestled in.

Tower_Fall_048_06242004 - Tower Fall
Tower Fall

In the morning, we were fortunate to see rainbows in its mist adding to the lovely scene.

Accessing the Base of Tower Fall and Indefinite Closure

In order to get to the view you see above, we had to hike down a mostly paved but somewhat steep 1/4-mile trail.

After a large chunk of the descent was done, we then followed Tower Creek upstream to the trail’s end where some railings indicated where the end of the trail was.

It was also from here that we could see the gorgeous waterfall flanked by the namesake towers that really added to the scene.

However, that may not be feasible (at least in a sanctioned way) due to the closure of that last section of trail following Tower Creek.

Tower_Fall_013_jx_06242004 - Earlier in the morning of our June 2004 visit, I noticed that there was a faint rainbow higher up Tower Fall's wafting mist
Earlier in the morning of our June 2004 visit, I noticed that there was a faint rainbow higher up Tower Fall’s wafting mist

I suspect that the trail was closed because of erosion of the banks of Tower Creek cutting into the trail.

Personally, I thought it wasn’t too bad when I managed to do it way back in late June 2004 (admittedly, I hopped the barricade), but I can easily see why the officials erred on the side of caution.

After all, if they allowed thousands of visitors a day putting pressure on the unstable stream bank undercutting the paved path, then I’m sure the rate of erosion would dramatically increase.

This would eventually result in people getting hurt falling into the creek if the banks would cave and slide into the creek.

Since the time I last visited this falls in 2004, I haven’t heard any news as to whether this trail had been re-opened or if it will ever re-open.

The Alternate Sanctioned Overlook

Tower_Fall_004_jx_06242004 - Tower Fall from the alternate overlook
Tower Fall from the alternate overlook

So assuming the view from the base of Tower Fall wouldn’t be available, the alternate would be a somewhat disappointing view (at least in comparison) from the upper overlook.

This overlook was near the start of the steep descent just a few paces from the parking lot.

The view from here was disappointing because there were trees obstructing the bottom sections of the falls, but at least the towers were more prominent and visible from this vantage point.

Nonetheless, the rating I gave was based on our experience of viewing the waterfall from its base.

That score would probably be more on the order of 2 or 2.5 if we had to settle for the upper overlook only.


Tower Fall resides in Yellowstone National Park near Gardiner in Park County, Wyoming. It is administered by the National Park Service. For information or inquiries about the park as well as current conditions, visit the National Park Service website.

Tower_Fall_002_06242004 - Partial view of Tower Fall from the upper overlook first thing in the morning of our June 2004 visit
Tower_Fall_007_06242004 - Making it down to the base of Tower Fall early that morning in June 2004
Tower_Fall_012_06242004 - As the sun started to make its way higher in the sky that morning in June 2004, it started getting brighter at the base of Tower Fall
Tower_Fall_023_06242004 - Then, I started to see a rainbow showing up high up in Tower Fall's wafting mist during that when we came earlier in the morning, the rainbow was higher up Tower Fall
Tower_Fall_007_jx_06242004 - Another look at Tower Fall in the early morning of June 2004
Tower_Fall_035_06242004 - We then came back later that morning in June 2004 and started to get bold rainbows at its base
Tower_Fall_045_06242004 - Another good look at the Tower Fall with bold rainbow when we came back that morning in June 2004
Tower_Fall_047_06242004 - Slightly more zoomed in on the Tower Fall with bold rainbow during that return visit in the later morning in June 2004
Tower_Fall_058_06242004 - More contextual view of Tower Fall from the upper overlook during that later time in the morning of June 2004

The well-signed Tower Fall parking lot is on the Grand Loop Road in the northeast part of the park just past the bridge over Tower Creek about 2.5 miles south of the Tower Junction.

Tower Junction is about 30 minutes drive (18 miles) east of Mammoth and over 30 minutes drive (19 miles) north of Canyon Junction via Dunraven Pass. Mammoth and Mammoth Hot Springs is about 90 minutes drive from Bozeman. Canyon Junction is about an hour drive (40 miles) east of West Yellowstone (which itself is about 4.5 hours drive north of Salt Lake City). Canyon Junction is also about 3 hours drive north of Jackson Hole.

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Tagged with: tower, roosevelt, yellowstone, canyon, dunraven pass, wyoming, waterfall, rockies, rocky mountains

Visitor Comments:

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Tower Falls Base View September 1, 2008 10:14 pm by Andrie HK - As by Aug 2008, the trail to the base of Tower Falls hasn't reopened yet. But it is possible to get there, either by climbing the barrier onto the trail (some people do, despite the signs) or getting down to the creek and hiking upstream. It requires climbing a few large boulders though. On the… ...Read More

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There used to be a large boulder at the brink June 21, 2013 11:36 am by Ron Andrews - There used to be a large boulder at the brink of this falls as in this photo taken by my grandfather in 1948. As I recall, the boulder was still there when I visited in 1979. It had fallen by 1994 when I visited again. ...Read More

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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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