When thinking about Yellowstone National Park the first thing that usually comes to mind is geysers. However, after exploring the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone we will forever associate the park with jaw dropping waterfalls, spectacular colors, and amazing rock formations. Pictures just don’t do justice to the beauty of this natural wonder and it really takes an entire day or two to fully explore and relish in the awesomeness of the 20 mile long canyon.
We broke up our visit to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone into two days. The first day we explored the area near Tower Fall and then because the road south was closed for the winter we waited until the next day to visit the Upper and Lower Falls. After checking out each of the overlooks and scenic vantage points we all agree the the trails down into the canyon are what really make the experience memorable.
We all had a great time taking the trail down to the Brink of the Lower Falls. Thankfully there was a chain-link fence surrounding the viewing area, but it was still hard not to hold onto the younger fives very tightly as they gleefully watched the Yellowstone River plunge 350 feet straight down right in front of their eyes. We also enjoyed the trail down to the river at Tower Fall and would have loved to hike down the 300 stairs that make up Uncle Tom’s Trail if it hadn’t been closed.
However, after all the hiking up and down it was also really nice to hang out at some of the scenic viewing areas and enjoy the spectacular colors of the canyon. Our favorite scenic vista was at Artist Point but we wish we would have gotten there earlier in the day as the afternoon sun made the view across to Lower Falls a little blinding. Even in the off-season this was a super popular spot so we would definitely recommend getting to Artist Point early in the morning for a truly serene look out over the canyon.
While it is nice to have our kids back on level ground, instead of leaning over the side of the canyon or trying to maneuver closer to the brink of the falls, spending time in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone was definitely worthwhile. We all have a new appreciation for the geological forces at work here in the park and will fondly remember the beauty of this amazing canyon.