Northeast, near Canyon Village, 43 miles (70 km) from the East Entrance
The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, formed by water and scoured by glaciers, is 20 miles (32 km) long, up to 1,200 feet (360 m) deep and 1,500-4,000 feet (450-1,200 m) wide. But it's not the canyon's statistics that impress, it's the sight of it. Two waterfalls, one above the other, cascade into the golden-walled Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, their clear water forming an aquamarine ribbon winding far below.
Hiking trails and observation points along both rims of the east-west-oriented canyon provide ample opportunities to view it. You'll get the best waterfall photographs here in the early morning. In afternoon, turn your lens west to catch the gold rocks lit by afternoon sun and the blue river below, and watch for rainbows in the spray.
Walks and Overlooks, Grand Canyon of the YellowstoneThree walking trails and five overlooks provide Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone views from both rims.
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone North RimTake the one-way road from Canyon Lodge to reach the North Rim. Viewpoints and trails along the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone in the order you will encounter them:
- Cascade Overlook Trail: This trail starts at the well-marked Glacial Boulder and goes about 3/4 mile to Silver Cord Cascade Overlook.
- Inspiration Point: Enjoy canyon views from the parking area, or walk down 50 steps to the overlook for a better look. The steep climb back up from the overlook is moderately strenuous. From here, the partly-paved North Rim Trail leads three miles (4.8 km) to Brink of the Upper Falls.
- Grandview Point: This overlook is wheelchair accessible with assistance, and a good place to see the river's twisting course below.
- Lookout Point and Red Rock: Accessed from the same parking area, Lookout Point provides the first look at the Lower Falls, while Red Rock Trail (a strenuous walk not recommended for those with health problems) takes you close enough to feel the spray.
- Brink of Lower Falls: Take the trail to the edge and watch over 37,000 gallons (141,000 liters) of water cascade over the falls every second. The trail drops 600 feet (180 m) and is not recommended for those with health concerns.
- Brink of Upper Falls: While shorter than the lower falls, upper falls is equally impressive. The trail here leads to an overlook where the spray often creates afternoon rainbows.
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone South RimJust across the river from Canyon Village, exit the road for Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone South Rim sights:
- South Rim Trail: This partly-paved trail runs from near the Chittenden Bridge past Artist Point and on into the back country.
- Upper Falls: As easy walk to two viewpoints of 109-foot (33 m) Upper Falls.
- Uncle Tom's Trail: Paved inclines and steps lead 500 feet (150 m) down to a viewing platform for an intimate look at the Lower Falls. This walk is steep and not recommended for those with health concerns. Wear flat-soled shoes, as much of the walkway is made from perforated steel sheeting.
- Artist Point: The often-photographed view of the waterfall cascading into the canyon make it easy to understand this observation point's name.