World Waterfall Database
Book Review

Guide to the Waterfalls of Yellowstone and their Discovery, The

Rubenstein, Paul; Whittlesey, Lee H.; and Stevens, Mike (author)

Westcliffe Publishers, 2000
Edition 1
Format Paperback
Print Style Full Color
Book Type Guidebook
Page Count 296
ISBN 1-56579-351-X
In Print? Yes
Picture quality (5)
Picture Quantity (5)
Accuracy of Content (5)
Thoroughness of Content (5)
Production Value (5)

Reviewed by Dean Goss

I was nearly giggling at just how good this book was when I first ripped open the cardboard box bearing the logo. Any time you have 3 hardcore National Park enthusiasts (one IS a park ranger and archivist for the National Park Service), you know good things will happen.

The only squabble I have with this book (and I do mean the ONLY squabble) is that they used UTM coordinates rather than NAD84. I like feet better than meters, I like miles better than kilometers, I like pounds better than kilograms and I like latitude and longitude better than UTM. I realize UTM is more accurate than geo-coordinates, but I'm comfortable with degrees, minutes and seconds.

Enough about the bad thing...let's review this book. Paul Rubinstein, Lee Whittlesey, and Mike Stevens have tracked down every waterfall in the park. Their dedication is nothing short of fanatical. One of the backcountry falls would require a 75 mile roundtrip hike if you intended to visit it. That's dedication.

This book details nearly 300 waterfalls, most of which I'd never heard rumors of. Careful study of the USGS topographical maps of Yellowstone National Park show that there must be hundreds of waterfalls. These three gentlemen went out and documented them. Each waterfall has a photograph, an accompanying factbox and very well written and informative text. The narrative is not merely descriptive but gives the history of the area as only a thoroughly knowledgeable and attentive historian could. Since most of the falls weren't previously named, the authors have drawn upon their considerable acumen to christen them in what they believed to be an appropriate manner.

In addition to the waterfalls, the book offers good practical advice regarding travel to each of the falls. Some are in inherently dangerous places, whether the risk be steep terrain, the underrated danger of Yellowstone's Thermal features, or the large, unpredictable and sometimes carnivorous animals in the park. If a waterfall is deemed too dangerous to visit, the authors are brutally frank in saying so.

The Bottom Line: This isn't a guidebook for the casual visitor, at least not the majority of it. Indeed, many of the waterfalls won't see visitors with any frequency. This is however, a remarkable opportunity to see some of the unknown backcountry splendor that Yellowstone has to offer. For the falls that ARE accessible, this is an invaluable guidebook. If you never even set foot in Yellowstone, this book is a fascinating read and a detailed look at waterfalls and their context both in terms of aesthetics and historical perspective. Buy this book, it's great!

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