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1

South Rim Trail
(formerly the Savage Trail)
Length from Chittenden Bridge to:
Upper Falls viewpoint - 0.3 miles, one way.
Uncle Tom's Trail - 0.6 miles, one way.
Artist Point - 1.4 miles, one way.
Sublime Point - 2.5 miles, one way.
Elevation change: Trailhead at 7,800 feet (50-foot gain). 
Trailhead: Located at the Chittenden Bridge parking area, 2.3 miles south of Canyon Junction.

The South Rim Trail is a wonderful hike for early summer mornings. The morning light is to a hikers' back, when viewing the canyon, and the light provides shadows, relief and changing colors. The trail wanders through lodgepole and limber pines but provides striking viewpoints along the way. The South Rim Trail begins at Chittenden Bridge and is partially paved. It skirts the south rim of the canyon, runs past Upper Falls, Uncle Tom's Trail (see Uncle Tom's Trail for description), Lower Falls, Artist Point (see Artist Point Trail for description), and access to Lily Pad Lake, ending at Sublime Point.

The trail is best hiked early in the morning while the sun remains to the east, thus providing the best light conditions for photography and viewing.


Artist Point Trail
Length: .1 mile, one way.
Elevation change: Trailhead at 7,680 feet (no noticeable elevation change). 
Trailhead: Located at Artist Point Trailhead at the end of the South Rim Drive, which begins 2.3 miles south of Canyon Junction.

This is a very short walk from the parking area to a viewpoint on the South Rim. Artist Point is considered to be the best vantage point of the falls and canyon, which has inspired artists such as Thomas Moran and Albert Bierstadt.

The canyon began forming almost 590,000 years ago when a large magma chamber flowed over what now is the canyon area. Hydrothermal springs developed under the flow and began weakening and altering the rhyoiitic rock. As time went by, the Yellowstone River channel began etching and deepening into the soft rhyolite.

The Upper and Lower falls were formed because hard, resistant basalt layers at the brink did not erode. Today, the canyon is about 800-1,300 feet deep, 1,500-4,000 feet wide, and 20 miles long


Cascade and Grebe Lake Trails
Length from Cascade Lake picnic area to:
Cascade Creek Trail Junction 0.9 miles, one way.
Cascade Creek Trailhead
(spur trail) - 2.3 miles, one way.
Observation Peak Trail Junction - 1.9 miles, one way.
Observation Peak Summit
(spur trail) - 4.2 miles, one way.
Cascade Lake - 1.6 miles, one way.
Grebe Lake - 4.2 miles, one way.
Canyon Village Junction to:
Cascade Lake - 2.6 miles, one way.
Grebe Lake - 4.6 miles, one way.
Cascade Lake picnic area (spur trail) - 2.4 miles, one way.
Grebe Lake Trailhead on Norris-Canyon Road to:
Grebe Lake 3.0 miles, one way.

Elevation changes from Cascade Lake picnic area at 8,020 feet to: Cascade Lake, 40-foot loss Grebe Lake, 28-foot gain Observation Peak, 1,377-foot gain.  
Trailheads: 1) Cascade Lake picnic area, 1.5 miles north of Canyon Junction. 2) Grebe Lake trailhead parking area, 3.3 miles west of Canyon Junction. 3) Cascade Creek trailhead, located a quarter mile west of the Canyon Junction on the Canyon-Norris Road.

Three trailheads access these lakes but the best-and certainly the most scenic-access to Cascade Lake starts at Cascade Lake picnic area, nearly a mile and a half north of Canyon Village on the Canyon-Tower Road. The picnic area is on the west side of the road, in a dark stand of lodgepole pine. The trailhead begins on the far western edge of the picnic area loop road.

Shortly after leaving the picnic area, the trail emerges into several open meadows. After nearly a mile, the trail joins Cascade Creek and the trail junction to Cascade Creek Trail. The Cascade Creek Trailhead begins nearly a half mile west of the Canyon Village Junction, just past the Park Service housing compound. This trail is not as scenic as the entrance from Cascade Lake picnic area because it lacks the spacious, wildflower meadows. It also is used for trail rides, so expect horse traffic. During the winter. Park Service employees use this trail to the Cascade picnic area and the Grand Loop Road back to the housing area as a ski loop. Because there are no overnight winter accommodations at Canyon, however, it is not convenient for most cross-country skiers to use.

Just past the Cascade Creek Trail Junction, the trail opens into a large open meadow, where Cascade Lake (7,980 feet) is on its west side. This meadow often is inhabited by moose and bison. At the northeast corner of the lake is another trail junction that leads to Observation Peak, which can be seen from the meadow. This spur trail climbs nearly 1,400 feet over two miles to the summit of Observation Peak (9,397 feet). The forest surrounding this area and the peak itself burned during the 1988 fires, and much of the forest remains as standing skeletons. Only occasional trees along the margin or small islands of untouched trees remain. The hike up to Observation Peak provides excellent views of Cascade Lake and, in the distance, Hayden Valley. As the trail continues around the south and west of the summit, a hiker will also get views of Grebe Lake.

Cascade Lake is a popular and easy destination for fishing. This 36-acre lake is only 27 feet deep but contains a good population of cutthroat trout. It also is considered to be the only lake in the Yellowstone drainage to have grayling.

From Cascade Lake, the trail continues on for about two miles through forests and meadows and, crossing into another drainage, to Grebe Lake (8,020 feet). These meadows usually are wet, mucky and mosquito-ridden in the spring but are more accessible in late summer and early fall.

The Bureau of Fisheries operated a fish hatchery on the eastern end of Grebe Lake from 1933 until the mid-1950s. This hatchery stocked most of the lakes in the area, the majority of which previously were considered barren offish. Grebe Lake is a roundish lake, about 156 acres in size and 39 feet deep, and is said to contain grayling and rainbow trout. This lake forms the headwaters for the Gibbon River, whereas Cascade Lake forms Cascade Creek, which drains into the Grand Canyon near the Upper Falls.

The most popular trail to Grebe Lake begins about 3.3 miles west of Canyon Junction on the Norris-Canyon Road. The trail is the original road to the Grebe Lake fish hatchery. The trail uses the old road for the first two miles but veers to the west, leaving the road for the remaining mile to Grebe Lake. The trail junction, on the east shore, leads either to Wolf Lake to the west or Cascade Lake to the east.

 


For more information on Yellowstone National Park and
the surrounding communities visit these helpful sites:

YellowstoneNationalPark.com
- YellowstoneLodging.com
YellowstoneFlyFishing.com


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