Yellowstone’s Artist Point Name Was a Mistake


Lean over the rock walls of a cliff 700 feet over the Yellowstone River and you’ll see a steamy canyon of pastel yellow, pink, and orange colors. There is a huge waterfall smack in the center of your view. I’m talking about Artist Point on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and its grand waterfall, Lower Falls.

Thomas Moran’s “The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone” presented to Congress (Photo: Thomas Moran, Public Domain)

Many people think that this was the spot where famous artist Thomas Moran painted to inspire Congress in 1872. Yellowstone Park photographer F. Jay Haynes thought the same thing. He mistakenly named the overlook in his 1890 guidebook and on his hand-colored postcards.

Painting of Yellowstone’s Lower Falls by Thomas Moran (Photo: Thomas Moran, Public Domain)

However, Moran’s paintings were actually created at the north rim overlook named Moran Point by the first Hayden Survey in the 1870s. There is more confusion here – Moran Point is also called Lookout Point, Mount Lookout, Lookout Rock, and Prospect Point. On current day official park maps, it’s called Lookout Point.

Despite all the confusion over names, the Artist Point name stuck.

Today Artist Point is one of the must-see views at Yellowstone. Many families choose it as the perfect family vacation photo backdrop. It’s a short 1/10th mile walk on a paved trail from the South Rim Drive. The lower level with the waterfall view is wheelchair accessible.

Climb the short stone stairs to the upper level with a view of the bleached wall of the North Rim between Inspiration Point and Grand View Point.

An off-road wheelchair at Artist Point in Yellowstone (Photo: NPS/Jacob W. Frank)

Download a map of Yellowstone National Park

The post Yellowstone’s Artist Point Name Was a Mistake appeared first on Yellowstone National Park.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Posts

Generated by Feedzy