Tuesday, November 27, 2012

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Experiencing the Tower Falls of Yellowstone

Camping near the Tower Fall in Yellowstone National Park is a glorious experience. The Tower Creek feeds in to the Yellowstone River with thunderous applause, the waterfall filing the air with a constant noise. This waterfall is in the north end of the park, at the end of the snake-like meanderings of the Dunraven Pass road. This area is full of a variety of trees and a variety of wildlife. At any moment, a traveler can see a bear
ambling in the distance with a doe and her fauns nibbling on flowers and bucks fighting for domination against one other.

The campgrounds for the area are a mile or so above the actual waterfall. It is located near both Tower creek and the park employee dorms. These grounds are far enough away from civilization to remind a person that he is in the wild, yet close enough to get a bit of food when hungry. The Tower Fall general store is within walking distance, with one road going down to the store and another coming back up.

There is a bit of food served at Tower Fall General, but it isn’t a restaurant. There is no sit down service, inside tables, or a place to cook food. What the Tower Fall General store has is a small area inside that can serve a hungry traveler ice cream or microwave meals. These meals are often sandwiches or hotdogs; they are decent eating for those without a sensitive palate. The ice cream is worth having, since Tower Fall General is famous for the biggest scoops in all of Yellowstone Park. These scoops are delicious and have that homemade taste only a local dairy can produce. The store also sells a variety of drinks, prepackaged food, and knickknacks of every shape and size. There are survival items on sale as well, for any hiker that needs to re-equip before hitting the trails.

The beauty of the Tower Fall area is what surrounds the general store. The Yellowstone River is accessible from a hiking path besides the main building. This path winds down behind the building, eventually leading to the river and the mighty Tower Fall beyond. The river is a gorgeous mixture of green and gold hues that reflect that land around it. During the summer months, courageous anglers can be seen with rod and reel in hand, trying to catch that perfect fish. The fish in the river are plentiful and are seen just under the surface, waiting for that perfect fly to land. Sometimes that fly is a juicy morsel to be enjoyed; sometimes it is but a lure on the end of a string. Have no worries for the fish will live on. Yellowstone has a strict catch and release policy.

The path continues past the bulk of the Yellowstone River to the Tower waterfall itself. The running waters of Tower Creek plunge in to the Yellowstone River here, creating a constant spray and misty air. This mist is famous throughout the world; catch sunlight at the right time and a brilliant rainbow shows up for all to see.

The hike down to the fall isn’t bad; it is a half-mile that curves and winds through nature. It is the hike back up that may be difficult for even the most seasoned trail veteran. A steep half-mile climb seems much longer. The old saying goes “Tower Fall is half a mile down and three miles back up.” Any traveler should be prepared for this, making sure to stop if a body becomes overheated. Regardless, it is a beautiful trail.
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