The Yellowstone River
The Yellowstone River is six hundred and ninety two miles of free flowing water. It is said to be the longest undammed river in the country, even though there are several diversion dams that stretch between its banks, these dams do not prevent the water from continuing into the Missouri River, so the river keeps its free flowing status. The Yellowstone is one of our great freestone trout fisheries here in this state, but it is also one of the most picturesque and unique places to visit and to photograph in Montana.
The Yellowstone River begins high up in the Absaroka Mountains in northwestern Wyoming, which can be a difficult area to access due to its remoteness, however, when it flows out of the hills and into the lower reaches of the Lamar River Valley, the river begins to take its shape, as it tumbles through a small canyon and confluences with the Lamar River. From the Lamar River Valley and throughout the rest of Yellowstone Park The Yellowstone River is breathtakingly beautiful. The upper and lower Yellowstone Falls allow for some wonderful shots of the river as it falls off the steep cliffs near the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. The Parks service has set aside good pullouts for viewing and photographing the falls. Lower Yellowstone falls is photographed hundreds if not thousands of times every day of the tourist season.
After the river leaves the park, heading directly north toward the town of Livingston, it flows through the wide-open spaces of Paradise Valley. The Valley is picturesque in and of itself, with the Absaroka Range towering over it to the east and the Gallatin Range to the west, and the Yellowstone River splitting it right down the middle. Spots such as Emigrant Peak or the overlook at Mallards Rest provide many tourists with photos of the river against a dramatic backdrop.
At the town of Livingston the river picks up some speed and finally begins turning East when it leaves the mountain valleys behind, and cuts through the wide-open spaces comprised of farmland and towering cottonwood trees all the way to the Missouri River.
The Yellowstone River is truly a Montana treasure, and the area has spent more time on the other end of a camera lens then most areas in the state.