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Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park
Fast Facts




Canyon Country
Yellowstone Nat'l Park
Wyoming 82190
Natural Wonder
Points of Interest Nearby

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone


Photo by Alfredo De Simone

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is one of the most picturesque points in Yellowstone National Park. And while it is much smaller than the Grand Canyon in Arizona, storied falls and colorful walls make this big ditch simply spectacular. For adults. For this much-photographed feature to be a top ten for children requires a bit of work on the part of mom and dad. Put on your animation cap and paint, color or draw with the children. A picture of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is great addition to any family travel scrapbook.
Getting There
The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, roughly 20 miles long, 1,200 feet deep and 4,000 feet wide, is located at Canyon Junction. North Rim Drive is 12 miles (19 km) east of Norris, 16 miles (26 km) north of Fishing Bridge and 19 miles (31km) south of Tower Junction. South Rim Drive is accessible from Grand Loop Road just south of the Canyon Junction. The two-lane road from Fishing Bridge to Canyon is open to wheeled vehicles mid-April 15 through October and oversnow vehicles late December through early March. The road from Tower Junction to Canyon is accessible in two stages; the stretch from Tower Junction to Tower Falls opens first and closes last.
Getting Around
Upper Falls Overlook and Artists Point on South Rim Drive, Brink of the Upper Falls from Grand Loop Road, and Inspiration Lookout and Grandview Points on North Rim Drive offer sweeping views of the canyon, river and falls. (Some walking is required at all.) And while these views are spectacular, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is best viewed from the trail. The following hiking trails are ideal for families. The easy North Rim Trail is 4 miles (6.4 km) one-way from Inspiration Point to Chittenden Bridge. This flat, partially paved trail can be walked in whole or in part. South Rim Trail is an easy 2-mile (3.2 km) trek on a flat, paved path. The trail flanks the south rim of the canyon from Chittenden Bridge to Uncle Tom's Trail. Uncle Tom's Trail is graded strenuous and while it is far from ideal for families with young kids it is a great hike for families with teens. This trek to the base of the Lower Falls has a 500-foot (150m) drop on 300 metal steps. Clear Lake Trail may not offer views of the canyon or falls but this easy 2 ΒΌ-mile (3.6 km) hike traverses rolling meadows and pine forests and offers a chance to spot wildlife. NB: There are no guardrails on Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone trails. Check trail openings with park rangers before venturing out. Be bear aware. Maintain a safe distance from all wildlife, 100 yards (91m) from bears and wolves and 25 yards (23m) from all other animals. Be sure to pull your car off the roadway when parking roadside.
Things to Keep in Mind
The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is one of the most popular spots in Yellowstone National Park. While you're unlikely to visit in solitude there are a few things you can do to avoid the crush. Visit in the early morning and late afternoon. Venture beyond lookouts and overlooks, most visitors never do!
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