You definitely want to visit The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone National Park during your stay. It’s absolutely stunning, and also a great break from touring the geysers.
The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone National Park is definitely awe inspiring. The water literally roars as it crashes over the cliffs into the canyon below! There are a couple of vantage points to view this canyon, and each one offers a unique view.
We did the trails on both sides of the canyon, and we really enjoyed both. When we got home, we realized we missed the usual view that everyone photographs from Artist’s Point, (next time I guess)!
This is the upper falls view point accessed from the North Rim Drive, and it’s from this side that you access the Uncle Tom’s trail leading you down to the lower falls.
Here’s Tyler ahead of me with the Go Pro, videoing the crazy metal scaffolding ‘trail’ down to the viewpoint. If you have a severe fear of heights or issues with vertigo, this trail might not be the best for you. You can look down through the metal stairs to the canyon far below – with nothing but air under the metal stairs!
This is the view from the Uncle Tom’s trail down to the lower falls – it won’t let you down! You’ll notice a rainbow in a few of the pictures today – this phenomena occurs between 9am through around 10am in the morning when the angle of the sun reflects (refracts?) off the mist.
We saw it from a couple of vantage points, but this view from the Uncle Tom’s trail was probably the best. Too bad there was still a gigantic snow field blocking part of the view, but if you go late in July or August, the snow should be gone by then.
From the other side of the canyon, you hike down about a mile. You’ll get to see the river just before it turns into the lower falls. There’s a nice landing where you can look down and watch the water thunder over the cliff.
The snow field you see in the picture below is the same snowfield that was partially blocking our view on the other side from Uncle Tom’s Trail – just to give you a bit of perspective.
The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone has several view points.
Both trails are steep on either side of the canyon but worth it for the unique views on each side! The Uncle Tom’s trail gives you a view looking directly at the lower falls. But there’s no real view down the canyon. The other side looks straight down the lower falls, (above picture). And there’s a view looking all the way down the canyon, (photo below)!
Artist’s Point is all the way at the end of the canyon looking back at the canyon and falls. This is probably the most famous vantage point. We ended up missing it due to some serious confusion about which side of the canyon we should be on!
The information we gathered online wasn’t quite enough to clear this up, so I thought I’d pass on our experience. As a final note, everyone has a different opinion about where the best place to see the rainbow is.
My personal favorite was the view from the Uncle Tom’s trail. It took you the closest to the rainbow, and there wasn’t anything in the way for photo taking! (See photo below for another view with lots of trees in the way!)
More Yellowstone Favorites:
Update: You can find each of our Yellowstone posts in my 10 Tips for Visiting Yellowstone National Park. I put together everything we learned into that post. And at the end each place we visited is linked so you can read about them individually!