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The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is quite possibly the most scenic wonder inGrand Canyon of the Yellowstone - Moran
Yellowstone National Park if not the world. Imagine that first look the early trappers and explorers had when entering this part of the park. This view is the first scenic painting (Thomas Moran), ever to hang on the walls of the White House. Thanks to the National Park Service, today the view remains the same as it was since the parks first explorers.

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is 23 miles long and was formed by erosion cutting through layers of volcanic rock followed by glaciers forming into dams. When the ice melted this chasm flooded with a mixture of torrential icewater and gravel creating the canyon. The colors from the canyon walls are a result of the thermal effects on the Rhyolite walls.

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is best viewed via the two roads off the Grand Loop. The South Rim Drive takes you to Artist Point and the North Rim Drive provides views from Lookout Point, Grand View Point and Inspiration Point. Both drives will provide views of the Upper and Lower Falls

There is an excellent exhibit at the Canyon Vistor Center. If you are taking the Grand Loop tour, you can get fuel and food at Canyon Village.


"The Wonders of Yellowstone"
- 98 Minutes -
~Telly Award Winner for Nature and Wildlife~

Two years in the making and just released, "The Wonders of Yellowstone" video has been highly requested, produced in DVD format and is now available. Take a complete tour of Yellowstone National Park as our Narrator Cathy Coan guides you to all the wonders of the park including all the geyser basins, wildlife, waterfalls and much more.

We previously sold travel packets but these packets, maps and trail guides are all available at the park for free or minimal charge.

More Info or Order Online

South Rim Road - National Park Service

Upper Falls Viewpoint
Of the two famous Yellowstone River waterfalls this one stands at a higher elevation, but it is considerably shorter in height than its downstream neighbor, the Lower Falls. The height of the Upper Falls is 109 feet. According to a companion, the famous mountain man Jim Bridger visited this waterfall in 1846. Word spread of its existence and in the 1860s some prospectors went out of their way to visit it.

Lower Falls from Uncle Tom's Trail
Uncle Tom's Trail was first constructed in 1898 by "Uncle" Tom Richardson. The five years following its construction, Uncle Tom led visitors on tours which included crossing the river upstream from the present day Chittenden Bridge, and then following his rough trail to the base of the Lower Falls. The tour was concluded with a picnic and a return trip across the river. Today Uncle Tom's Trail is very different from the simple trail used by Mr. Richardson and his visitors. It is still, however, a very strenuous walk into the canyon. The trail drops 500 feet (150 m) in a series of more than 300 stairs and paved inclines.

Artist Point
Many people thought that this was the point where Thomas Moran made the sketches he used to produce his famous painting of the canyon in 1872. In fact those sketches were made from the north rim in a location known today as Moran Point. The name Artist Point is believed to have been given to this location around 1883 by Park Photographer F. Jay Haynes. The name appeared in print for the first time in Mr. Haynes guidebook, published in 1890.

Point Sublime
When the Cook-Folsom expedition stepped out of the woods on the south rim of the canyon in 1869 the staggering view prompted Folsom to use the following adjectives in his description of it: "pretty, beautiful, picturesque, magnificent, grand, sublime, awful, terrible". It is thought to be that description which prompted the naming of Point Sublime in the early 1920s.

Silver Cord Cascade
Surface Creek flows passed this overlook and then falls abruptly in a long series of falls down to the river. While not a single waterfall, this cascade may well have given rise to the stories of a waterfall over 1000 feet tall that was hidden in the mountains. Members of the Washburn party discovered the cascade in 1870 and named it Silverthread Fall. In 1885 the USGS Hague parties gave it the name that survives today, Silver Cord Cascade.

North Rim - National Park Service

Brink of the Upper Falls
This is the smaller of the two famous waterfalls on the Yellowstone River at 109 feet tall. To get a feel for its magnitude notice that the arrow at the top of the photo points at three people standing on the platform at the Brink of the Upper Falls. This falls was called the "upper falls" for the first time by members of the 1869 Folsom party who estimated its height at 115 feet.

Inspiration Point
It is at a is a natural observation point where the canyon wall juts far out into the canyon allowing spectacular views both upstream and down. Along the road to Inspiration Point there is a house-sized granite boulder sitting in the pine forest alongside the road. It was plucked from the Beartooth Mountains by an early Pinedale Glacier and dropped on the north rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone nearly 80,000 years ago. Continued glacial advances and retreats led to the present-day appearance of the canyon and surrounding area.

Silver Cord Cascade Overlook
The Silver Cord Cascade is on the opposite side of the canyon where Surface Creek flows over the canyon lip and falls in a series of cascades down to the Yellowstone River.

Lookout Point
This was a popular lookout for many early visitors to the park. Noticing that it got regular visitation, in 1880 Superintendent P.W. Norris built a railing here and the location has been called Lookout Point ever since. It is likely that this was the superintendents preferred name for the spot. It had been called many things prior to 1880 including Point Lookout, Lookout Rock, Mount Lookout, and Prospect Point.

Red Rock Point
Red Rock Point is near the tall reddish pinnacle of rock below the Lower Falls. Iron oxide is the cause of this rock's red pigmentation. The pinnacle has had several names relating to its color including Red Pinnacles and Cinnabar Tower. It was finally given its present-day name of Red Rock by the 1886 Park Photographer, F. Jay Haynes.


A winding mountain road through a pine-fir forest puntuated in winter by the occasional giant bull bison, a few small hot springs, and a scenic loop road at virginia cascades.

Detailed information about the names of many Yellowstone locations can be found in the book Yellowstone Place Names by Lee Whittlesey. It is available through the Yellowstone Association's Bookstores at most visitor centers.


For more information on Yellowstone National Park and
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