Terraced Falls is an incredibly beautiful waterfall along the Falls River in the remote southwest corner of Yellowstone National Park (called Cascade Corner for the many waterfalls abounding in this section of the park). It consists of six tiers totaling about 140 ft. The first tier is about 35 ft. and located up a ways from the main section of the falls, making it impossible to photograph the entire falls from the south side of Falls River. The main section consists of 5 tiers with heights of about 25, 50, 5, 10, and 5 ft. respectively (according to Rubinstein, Whittlesey, and Stevens).
The trail to Terraced Falls begins as the Cascade Creek trail, following Cascade Creek down to the Falls River, then downriver for another half mile to Terraced Falls. Along the way, you will see cascades along Cascade Creek and Cascade Acres on the Falls River. Once at Terraced Falls, the trail ends, and you will find that there is not a good viewpoint of the entire waterfall from the south side of the river. You can get right on top, looking down on the waterfall, from the cliffs beside the river. Be very careful here (and keep a close watch on children). It may be possible to continue downstream, and scramble down to the river. However, it looked very steep and dangerous to me (although people have obviously done it), plus there is a sign indicating clearly that it is not permitted to scramble down the cliffs. We are not certain that you would get any better view of the falls from riverside anyway, because the river makes a bend at the bottom of the waterfall. The best photos we have seen of Terraced Falls were taken from the other side of Falls River. But how to get on the other side of the river, we are not sure.
When we were here in mid-June, the mosquitoes were tenacious (unlike the rest of the park, where we encountered very few of the critters). We were swarmed as soon as we got out of our vehicle at the trailhead. We put on bug spray, and once we started hiking they were not too bad, but we did not want to stop any place on the trail for long, or we would get attacked relentlessly. The best time of year to visit this area of Yellowstone would probably be in September when the mosquitoes would be gone (hopefully), but in September the waterfalls would not be flowing as well, either.
In their Yellowstone Waterfalls book, Rubinstein, Whittlesey, and Stevens have identified almost 300 significant waterfalls in Yellowstone National Park. The vast majority of these waterfalls are located in remote, hard to get to places within the park, requiring long day or multiple day hikes. The great thing about Terraced Falls is that this is one waterfall in Yellowstones backcountry which only requires an easy day hike to reach. This is a highly recommended hike because it gives you a taste of a different area of Yellowstone, away from the crowds, with different scenery, and a beautiful waterfall at the end of it. The drawback to Terraced Falls is that it does require a long drive to reach the trailhead, but if you can spare a day to come here, it is definitely worth the drive.
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