The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is an amazing, must see, geologic feature in Yellowstone National Park. According to NPS data, from the Upper Falls near the Grand Loop Road the Canyon stretches approximately 20 miles to the Tower Falls area. Its depth varies from 800 to 1,200 feet; and, its width is from 1,500 to 4,000 feet. These bare statistics do not begin to describe its power and majesty. The Canyon is best viewed on a clear sunny day. Oxides of various minerals have painted the Canyon walls and pinnacles bright yellow and orange. There are many trails along both rims offering grand views of the Canyon and its two large waterfalls. The Upper Falls is 109 feet high. It can be seen from the Brink of the Upper Falls Trail and from Uncle Tom’s Trail. The Lower Falls is 308 feet high and can be seen from Lookout Point, Red Rock Point, Artist Point, Brink of the Lower Falls Trail, and from numerous points on the South Rim Trail. Artist Point offers stunning views of the Lower Falls and Canyon. There are access roads to both the North Rim and the South Rim. While there is an extensive trail system for hikers of all skill levels, many great viewing opportunities are within a short distance of vehicle parking. This very popular attraction draws hundreds of thousands of visitors. Nonetheless, with large parking areas (south rim artist point) and miles of asphalt walks and trails, with a little effort it’s possible to enjoy the tranquil beauty of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Most visitors never venture past the asphalt walks of Artist Point. A delightful trail follows the south rim downriver from Artist Point. Pack your camera, bring a snack and find your favorite spot to relax and meditate.
The Canyon region is on the east side of the Park north of Hayden Valley. Canyon Village, at Canyon Junction on the Grand Loop Road, is headquarters for the area. There are overnight accommodations, a large campground, numerous restaurants, a gas station, a general store and one of the best designed NPS visitor education centers in the entire country.
The new (2009) Canyon Visitor Education Center presents Yellowstone’s super volcano and the greater Yellowstone ecosystem. Visitors can see, hear, and learn how the Yellowstone volcano, its geysers and hot springs, and tumultuous geologic history have crafted the Yellowstone area of today. Information is offered in several languages. Highlights include a room-size relief map of the Yellowstone ecosystem, many interpretive exhibits (some of which compare Yellowstone’s thermal activity to other hot spots in the world), animations, audio-visual productions, and real-time scientific data. To gain a unique perspective of the entire Park, view the Yellowstone relief from the 2nd floor balcony.