9/20/14: North & South Rims of the Canyon
We got up a bit after seven & got ready to head for the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone section of the park. We had made some fried eggs last night & stuck them in the fridge so we didn’t need to cook anything this morning. We drove out & stopped off at the Canyon Visitor Center & heated some egg sandwiches in the microwave & then checked out the visitor center for a bit. After that we went off parked at the Wapiti Lake picnic parking lot where the Yellowstone trail book said we should park for the hikes we planned for the day. The parking lot was off of the Artists Point road.
The first hike we planned was the South Rim which the book had looped together with a couple of other trails to make it a loop. The trail was fantastic & went through a variety of terrains which kept it interesting. First the trail follows the Yellowstone River with stops at both the Upper & Lower falls. Both are impressive & well worth seeing. At each falls there were crowds due to the fact that there are stops on the road for each one. It’s crowded at the major sites but not many people hike the entire trails so in between people are fairly sparse. We took a side trail down Uncle Tom’s Trail which goes steeply down to get great views of the lower falls. The trail includes hundreds of steps down a metal staircase built onto the cliff walls. It was definitely worth the effort. The last part of the South Rim trail ends at Artists Point which gives you a great view of the lower falls but from quite a distance away.
Once done with Artists Point we switched to the Ribbon Lake trail & looped that in with a couple of other trails to get back to the car. These trails took us through forests, prairie lands & thermal areas as well as past lakes with thermal activity and lakes filled with lily pads. Very diverse for this 2-3 mile section of trails. Back at the car we ate some lunch & then headed back out from the same spot to do the North Rim of the canyon. This one was an out & back trail. I forgot my camera in the car so we used Joyce’s iPhone for this section. Great views were had on this side of both falls as well as a “hidden” falls most people don’t see if they don’t hike the whole thing. It was awesome to get right up to the falls where they pour over the falls. Pretty scary the power water has.
We got back to the car & went back to the visitor center since they had at least some cell coverage & Joyce needed to call home. We decided to eat at the Lodge there since we didn’t feel like cooking after a long day of hiking. Dinner was just ok but we were hungry so anything would’ve been good. after dinner we went back to the campground. On the way we spotted a lone buffalo grazing by the road. We’ve only seen solitary buffalo here in Yellowstone. I was expecting herds. Maybe once we get to different sections of the park we’ll get some herd action. I grabbed some pics of this one & as I walked closer it gave me the stink-eye so I stopped approaching & let him munch in peace.