Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River
Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon runs for about 20 miles, but the best part is around Upper and Lower Falls (109 and 308 feet respectively), very close to Canyon Lodge where we were staying. We spent two full days hiking the various trails around the rim.
We started with two short, steep trails which each dropped 5-600 feet from the North Rim to overlook Lower Falls. We managed to climb back up the first one without stopping, and were complimented by a young man as follows: “Wow! I don’t want to make any judgements about age, but my kids’ grandparents couldn’t have done that!” I wasn’t sure whether to be flattered, or to be insulted that he obviously thought we looked too ancient to manage such a feat. I think I’ll stick with flattered…
Brink of Lower falls
Red Rock Point
Artist Point and Point Sublime Trail
From Red Rock Point, we drove round to Artist Point on the South Rim. The trail from here to Point Sublime displayed the multi-hued rocks of the canyon to perfection.
Ribbon Lake Trail
We then followed the Ribbon Lake Trail – lots of bird life here.
My Fitbit measured over 30,000 steps that day – the first and only time this has happened!
On our second day in the Canyon, we returned to Artist Point and hiked a loop, taking in the South Rim and Clear Lake Trails, which provided an amazing variety of scenery.
South Rim Trail
From Artist Point we set off on the South Rim Trail. As we walked along the canyon edge, we could see the North Rim viewpoints we had visited a few days before – Red Rock Point and Brink of Lower Falls.
Just before we reached the falls, we came to a diversion at Uncle Tom’s Trail.
Now rope ladders would have been beyond me, but steps I can manage. I won’t pretend that I wasn’t completely out of breath by the time I got back to the top though!
We continued along the South Rim past Upper Falls before re-joining the road at the Wapiti Lake Trailhead where we had our picnic.
Clear Lake Trail
From the other end of the trailhead, Clear Lake Trail led off and the scenery changed completely. First, there was an open meadow to cross.
Eventually, the smell of sulphur assaulted our nostrils and we emerged from a small patch of forest to find the hydrothermal area of Clear Lake with acid-bleached driftwood and boiling mudpots – a complete contrast in its desolation.
Eventually, we met Ribbon Lake Trail again and had the same walk back to Artist Point as on Day 1. It seems no-one can resist photographing the canyon walls.
Yellowstone surprises round every corner. In this small area we encountered painted cliffs, waterfalls, meadows, sulphurous lakes and boiling mudpots. Could it get any more amazing? Well, maybe it could – next up, Mammoth Springs! In the meantime, this post is linked to Jo’s Monday Walks. Hop over there for blue Portuguese skies and a selection of other cyber-rambling.