Pacific Northwest - Day 12 - Yellowstone Natl. Park, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park Travel Blog

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Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, as seen from the north rim

Yellowstone National park is one of my favorite National Parks. It is, together with Grand Canyon National Park, in my top 2 of parks. Yellowstone is in many ways special. Like:
- it is the second largest National Park in the 48 contiguous states (after Death Valley Natl. Park)
- it was the first National Park in the US, and in the world
- it has several very different specials, like: Geothermal activity, Lakes, Mountain ranges, a Canyon, Volcanism, Wildlife
- it is situated on the largest supervolcano on the American continent
- it comprises the largest remaining, nearly intact ecosystem in the earth's northern temperate zone

Our today's highlight was for me the main reason to re-visit the park, since I had not seen enough of it during my previous visit years ago, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, as seen from the south rim

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone has the honor to be the reason why the park is called "Yellowstone". The canyon has a very colorful stone type. It is mostly yellow, but the park could easily have been called Redstone National Park, or Orangestone National Park. The colors are caused by the geothermal effects on the iron in the canyon's rocks. The yellow and red colours are mainly rust, and not sulfur.

The canyon is compared to its famous "relative", the Grand Canyon in Arizona, a small one. Yet it is still 39 kilometers (24 miles) long and varies in depth from 244 meters (800 feet) to 366 meters (1200 feet). A unique characteristic of the canyon is the fact that the Yellowstone River enters the canyon via two spectacular waterfalls, the Yellowstone Falls. The Upper Falls drop 33 meters (109 feet), and the lower falls 94meters (304 feet).

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, as seen from the south rim
Although not quite the volume of Niagara Falls, still the most powerful falls in the US Rocky Mountains.

Tourism already flourished in the 19th century. A certain Tom Henderson (beter know as 'Uncle Tom' got permission to construct a trail to the base of the lower falls. An ingenious set of ladders, stairs and even ropes were set in place, forming Uncle Tom's Trail. Uncle Tom ran his business until 1906, the trail does not exist anymore in its original setting. Yet the park service has constructed a similar (but more secure) trail which takes visitors down 150 meters (500 feet) over 300 small or large stairs and steps.

We decided to hike along the north rim of the Canyon, starting from Inspiration Point (see here on map) towards the falls.

Lower Yellowstone Falls later on the day HDR corrected for backlight
En route we hiked down where the side trails allowed us to do so. Despite the fact that those trails did not make it to the canyon floor it was still a climb going back. Unfortunately, when we got to the trail to the upper falls the weather, which had been quite cloudy, turned to rain. Since we hate rain we decided to return to the car and drove to the south rim to hike Uncle Tom's Trail. This was an amazing mini hike, and again in the sun shine.

More pictures and a video below. Deze fake-tekst heb ik toegevoegd om net iets meer regels te genereren zodat deze rare website toestaat dat de

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Descending at Lookout Point
Descending at Lookout Point
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Lower Yellowstone Falls as seen f…
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Uncle Toms Trail
Uncle Tom's Trail
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Uncle Toms Trail
Uncle Tom's Trail
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Lower Yellowstone Falls later on …
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The Rim Trail and Uncle Tom's Tra…
GPS Height Profile of the Rim Trail
GPS Height Profile of the Rim Trail
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This is how tourist experience Un…
Lower Yellowstone Falls
457,535 km (284,299 miles) traveled
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