Gibbon Falls – Yellowstone National Park


Gibbon Falls is a good 5-minute stop, perfectly positioned to allow a “stretch your legs” break between the crossroads at Norris and Madison.

A long walk isn’t necessary here: the Gibbon River is right next to the parking area, which is right next to the road.  By mid-afternoon, the falls were a bit shady; I’d expect the view is better around midday.

It’s funny how in so many places, the attraction you find isn’t the one you stopped for.  A couple of black birds (ravens?) were hanging out in the pine trees next to the parking area, and drawing at least as much attention as the waterfall.  They patiently struck one pose after another as people took pictures.

After Gibbon Falls, I knew I needed to start making progress.  I had enjoyed the drive back to Jackson through Idaho so much the previous day, I wanted to do it again, but early enough to catch the sunset on the west side of the Tetons.  So, I made only one more stop…

… when I spotted this bull elk, and about 50 people watching him.

I only spent a few minutes watching him, though, because as I said, I was in a hurry.

This part of the park is absolutely beautiful, and thanks to the Madison River, it’s the perfect spot for fly fishermen.

As I left the park, I considered driving back for a third day in Yellowstone.  I was disappointed that I hadn’t seen the entire upper half of the park.  After weighing the option, I decided another day of driving into, and then through, Yellowstone would be too much for this trip.  Instead, I spent the next two days focusing on Grand Teton National Park, which is just as rewarding, and (thankfully) much closer to Jackson.

Note: This trip was first published in 2007.

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