Yellowstone National Park – Grand Canyon of Yellowstone South Rim

Yellowstone National Park - Grand Canyon of Yellowstone South Rim

Breathtaking to behold, the scenery of the Yellowstone National Park – Grand Canyon of Yellowstone South Rim Trail has dramatic and amazing color and contrast.

Chris & Mac of Grey Otter Outventures

Chris & Mac
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Length:  6.5 Miles Round Trip
Trailhead(s):  South Rim Trailhead
Elevation Gain:  800’
Trail Type:  Out and Back – or Loop by Returning on Wapiti Lake Trail
Dogs:  Not Allowed
Difficulty:  Easy to Moderate
Permit Required?  Yes – National Park Entry Fee $35
Considerations:  Wildlife / Road Closures Due to Snow in Early Spring or Late Fall
Season:  Spring/Summer/Fall


Breathtaking to behold, the scenery of the Yellowstone National Park – Grand Canyon of Yellowstone South Rim Trail has dramatic and amazing color and contrast.  Washed in varying hues of yellow, with lovely pink and white tones, the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is magnificent.


Upper Falls to Artist Point

The colorful rock formations below the trail and across the river dominate and surround all views of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.  Up close views of the majestic upper falls of the Yellowstone River were visible after only a short hike along the South Rim Trail.  Turning around periodically, we continued to enjoy beautiful long distance views of the falls.  Additionally, all along the trail the views of the canyon and the river belos are spectacularly colorful.  Though the falls disappear from view as the trail winds through the forest as it follows the river below, the trail continues offering magnificent views of the river and the delightful canyon walls all the way up to Artist Point.

Return from Artist Point

At Artist Point hikers can choose to turn around, making this an out and back hike, or take the short trail which connects to the Clear Lake/Ribbon Lake hiking and horse trail.  We took the Clear Lake/Ribbon Lake trail towards Ribbon Lake to loop over to the Wapiti Lake Trail for our return to the parking area.  Honestly, the journey back this way was not terribly impressive.  It was different, however, in that we passed through forest and meadow. We took great care to stay on the trail here.  Besides avoiding trampling on delicate plant life, we also wanted to avoid stepping in or on any sensitive or dangerous thermal areas.

Bucket List Hike

Is this is a must do hike?  Absolutely!  The views are breathtakingly impressive and beautiful.  Having never seen anything like this before, we were blown away.  The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is truly a treasure in Yellowstone National Park.  We hiked this trail in early August which is peak time for park visitors.  Though there were other hikers on the trail we did not feel at all crowded.  That said, where the trail intersects with Uncle Tom’s Point and Artists Point we definitely had more company while we took in the views near these busier parking areas.


Travel south from Canyon Junction on Grand Loop Road to South Rim Drive.  The trail is located off of South Rim Drive at the Chittenden Bridge where it crosses over the Yellowstone River.  Parking is available at the Wapiti Lake Trailhead on the right, shortly after crossing Chittenden Bridge.  Take the short trail back through the woods towards the bridge and cross the road to locate the South Rim Trailhead.

Scroll down to learn about the GEAR WE USE and OTHER OUTVENTURES in this area.

Additional Information

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone South Rim Trail Slideshow

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Gear We Use for Day Hiking

To see descriptions of the gear Chris & Mac use for day hiking, as well as links to manufacturers and retailers offering the gear for sale, please CLICK HERE.

Pine Creek Lake Trail, Livingston, Montana

Articles About Other Regional Outventures

Click below to learn about other regional outventures in this area.

SAFETY DISCLAIMER:  The activities discussed in this website are outdoor activities and, as such, have inherent risks to which participants are exposed.  It is not the intent of this website, nor is it possible due to the variability of weather, terrain, equipment, and experience, to detail all of those risks.  The information contained in this site is informational, but not instructive nor exhaustive.  It is the sole responsibility of the user to ensure he/she is in good health, fully prepared, and fully informed as to dangers before undertaking any of the activities discussed in this website and the user does so at his/her own risk.  The user understands that by using this website he/she acknowledges and accepts all risks associated with use of information from this website and participation in any particular activity addressed herein.  Please see “Terms of Use” for additional information.

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