We had just finished an amazing lunch at Otter Creek and could have stayed there by the Yellowstone River all day. But, it was time to move on and see two of Yellowstone’s most iconic and popular attractions. It feels funny calling Yellowstone Falls and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone attractions. However, in lieu of their popularity and the crowds, we knew what we would experience would overpower the most ideal description of these two natures from God.
Our first stop was Artist Point where you can see the Lower Falls. There were plenty of people when we arrived. The parking lot was full. This isn’t the first time we’ve mentioned the crowds in the park and probably won’t be the last. We do that for two reasons. First, it’s true and second, if you’re mentally prepared for them, it’s easier to be in the moment and live in the experience of these amazing places without the crowds affecting your attitude. Believe this, many of the most famous places in Yellowstone are so dramatic, awesome and other worldly, even the most amazing pictures and videos don’t do them justice. You have to see them in person! Yellowstone Falls and The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone are in that special group. Forget about the crowds and experience the wonder of Yellowstone.
When you arrive at the Artist Point parking lot, you can faintly hear the rush of water. As you get closer to the platforms, the sound becomes louder. Looking down into the canyon, seeing the colors of golds, pinks, oranges, browns and greens, you can’t help but think a talented painter had painted every detail with the shadows accentuating all that you see. The power of the rushing water as it tumbles over the fall line takes you to a place of euphoria, or at least it did for us. From the top of the platform, you can see the Lower Falls, the river and the canyon.
When you enter Yellowstone for the first time, we recommend you ask the Park Ranger at the entrance gate which areas and roads are closed. On the day we were there, The Upper Falls was closed for construction so we were not able to visit that area of the park. We made the best of the disappointing situation. After visiting from the South Rim where Artist Point is, we drove over to the North Rim on the other side of the falls where The Brink of the Lower Falls, Inspiration Point, Grandview Point and Lookout Point are located.
The Lower Falls trail is a .8 mile switch back trail with 252 ft (76 m) of elevation. Going down is pretty easy, but coming back up can be difficult if you have any medical issues or are totally out of shape. It’s not a marathon, so you can take your time and stop often. It is worth taking this jaunt to the lower falls where the mist envelopes the Yellowstone River below the falls. See the photos below.
The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and Yellowstone Falls did not disappoint and as the sun began to set, we were able to capture some extraordinary coloring in the rocks and water. We hope you get to visit this park and make sure and see these two wonders when you do. We look forward to our next visit and hiking some of the trails we didn’t get a chance to visit on this trip.
Living in the Moment is what we do while enjoying our time in nature. If you missed any of the other Living in the Moment Series, you can click on them here. Just After Take Off, Day 1, Day 2 Mammoth Hot Spring, Day 2 Traffic Jam, Day 2 Undine Falls and Lava Creek, Lamar Valley – Slough Creek, Day 2 Trout Lake, Lunch at Otter Creek, Mount Washburn. Please look forward to our next post as the adventure continues.