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Undine Falls
Yellowstone National Park

Undine Falls Yellowstone National Park by John William Uhler © Copyright Page Makers, LLC


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Undine Falls Yellowstone National Park

Undine Falls Yellowstone National Park by John William Uhler © Copyright Page Makers, LLC

Undine Falls is just about four (4) miles east of Mammoth Hot Springs in the northern area of Yellowstone National Park.

"Undine Falls - this three-step waterfall appeared on the cover of National Geographic magszine in July 1977. This multi-step falls consists of three plunges that you can see from a roadside overlook on the Mammoth to Roosevelt / Tower road.

Originally called the "East Gardner Falls," "Cascade Falls of the East Gardiner", or Gardiner River Falls", Undine received its present name in 1885 from geologist Arnold Hague. Undine (pronounced UNdeen) was named for wise, usually female water spirits from German mythology who lived around waterfalls and who could gain souls by marrying mortal men.

A number of early Yellowstone explorers such as Captain John Barlow, Captain William Ludlow, and Dr. A.C. Peale saw Undine Falls. Ludlow's description mentioned all three drops. Park superintendent P.W. Norris claimed to have discovered a passageway behind the falls in 1879. Captain W.A. Jones was there in the summer of 1873 and noted:

    "We made our nooning near a lovely fall of the east fork of Gardiner's [sic] River, after traversing a beautiful country of high, rolling hills... A beautiful effect is produced about half-way down the face of the fall, where a horizontal dish-like ledge juts out from the wall. Some of the falling water rushes down and into the dish of the ledge, so that its impetus throws it up again at several points in low, heavy fountain-like jets, while another portion jumps clear over and beyond the ledge, in a thin transparent sheet whose convex surface looks exceedingly like a glass cover preserving the little fountains beneath from defilement."

1908 visitor F. Dumont Smith captured the spirit of the area: "Just below, the little stream goes wandering and whispering to itself, and you know that somewhere down there Undine has returned, and if you were not so tired you could find her." Smith's use of "Undine" in singular form probably refers to the character in the 1814 French romance by De la Motte Fouque."


Undine Falls Information
Location 44° 56' 35.90" N / 110° 38' 24.40" W (roadside parking area)
Fall Type Three-tiered Plunger/Fan
Height 60 feet
Stream Lava Creek
Access Four (4) miles east of Mammoth Hot Springs

The above information is from the book "Yellowstone Waterfalls and their Discovery" by Paul Rubinstein, Lee H. Whittlesey, and Mike Stevens.


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