Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Lower Falls from Artist Point

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Near Canyon Village, this is one of the park’s true blockbuster sights. The Yellowstone Rivers placid meanderings north from Yellowstone Lake suddenly plunge over the Upper Falls and then the much larger Lower Falls before raging through the 1000ft-deep canyon. There are scenic overlooks and a network of trails along both sides of the canyon rim, that highlights its multicolored volcanic beauty from a dozen angles. The South Rim Dr. leads to the most spectacular overlook, at Artist Point (see above). The most common photograph you see is from Artist Point on the South Rim, however some think the best shots are taken from the North Rim (I will test this theory, next month when I am there in May)

Trail Difficulty – Easy to Moderate

I rate the the trail easy to moderate solely because you can drive South Rim Drive all the way to Artist Point, park and walk 200 yards. However, if you did this at every location, you really wouldn’t get to experience hiking along this great rim trail. My suggestion is the more moderate trail, by parking in the parking lot just past the Upper Falls. Then follow the signs to Uncle Tom’s Point Trail. Uncle Tom’s trail is a quick, but strenuous hike that ends near the base of Lower Falls. For an unparalleled canyon and waterfall experience, take a deep breath and descent this trail. A series of paved inclines and more than 300 steps lead you about 500 feet down into the canyon. When you get to Uncle Tom’s trail there is a staircase that leads you down, however in 2021 this trail was closed due to some damage (tree falls). If you continue past the stairwell that takes you to the first observation point, you will essentially continue on to Artist Point.

Download KMZ Trailhead File

Click Here to download the Google Earth KMZ file for this trailhead.


GPS Coordinates & Elevation

44°43’9.80″N110°28’53.55″W |  7,606 ft Elevation



Google Maps View

South Rim Drive will take you to the highlights but try hiking the South Rim Trail if you are able. The short hike gives a few extra overlooks along the canyon’s edge. No matter which path you choose, do not miss Artist Point, which offers one of the best views in any national park.





















The location is in central Yellowstone and can be accessed from all directions. These directions are from the Yellowstone East Entrance coming from Rex Hale Campground about 18 miles from the East entrance. 

Head west on US-14 W/US-16 W/US-20 W toward Forest Rd 433,  Turn right onto Grand Loop Rd, Turn right on South Rim Dr.