Did you know that Yellowstone National Park has its own “Grand Canyon”? The canyon carved by Yellowstone river just a few miles northwest of Yellowstone Lake, known as the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, is one of the most popular attractions in the park. It is famous for its hiking spots and breathtaking canyon views.
Over 20 miles long and over 1000 feet deep, it may not be nearly as wide or deep as the Grand Canyon in Arizona, but with its distinctive yellow colored rocks and the Upper and Lower Falls certainly make it a wonderfully unique attraction in Yellowstone. Besides, it will give you a change of scenery from geysers and hot springs that you can’t get enough of in Yellowstone.
There is a beautiful visitor center and a lodge housing several dining facilities in nearby Canyon Village. Although there are guided bus tours offered by park operators at an additional cost, we recommend doing the hiking trails on foot instead to get the most of the canyon experience.
Hiking Trails in Grand Canyon
There are two major hiking trails in the Grand Canyon – the North Rim Trail and the South Rim Trail. Both of these are relatively easy in difficulty. If you’re comfortable with a little bit of strenuous activity, Brink of Lower Falls Trail and Brink of the Upper Falls Trail are both must do’s. Definitely include them in your plan!
North Rim Trail
The easiest way to view the north rim is to park on the North Rim Drive just off of Cascade Lodge. From there, its an easy walk along the rim of the canyon with four viewpoints – Red Rock Point, Lookout Point, Grand View Point and Inspiration Point. You can walk all the way to Inspiration Point which is about 1.8 miles. Alternatively, you can turn around at Grand View Point, and then drive to Inspiration Point and park there.
Brink of the Falls Trails
There are two separate trails that take you to the brink of each of the Upper and Lower Falls. We did the Brink of the Lower Falls Trail as the Brink of Upper Falls Trail was closed due to rock slides. The hike is a bit strenuous but is a very short 0.8 miles, making it very doable for all skill levels. We highly recommend doing this as it takes you right to the edge of the roaring waterfall and still be completely safe behind the railings. Look at the pictures below to see for yourself how close you can get to the falls!
South Rim Trail
The South Rim Trail offers a slightly different view of the canyon and has two major viewpoints – the Upper Falls and Artists Point. With 2.5 miles round trip, the trail is mostly shaded with a moderate elevation change. It ends at Artist’s Point which is one of the best places to view sunset in the Grand Canyon. Do this trail in the late afternoon so you get to Artists Point just in time for a spectacular sunset!
You can easily spend an entire day hiking the Rim trails and enjoying the breathtaking scenery along the way. But if you’re short on time and can’t do both rims, we recommend doing the North Rim Trail and Brink of the Lower Falls.
Share your experience
If you have been to Canyon Village in Yellowstone, let us know about your experience in the comments below. We would love to hear from you! If you are planning on visiting Yellowstone, check out our day by day itinerary of our trip.