ast week my wife and I went to Yellowstone National Park for the first time, hoping to see its famed geysers, bears, and buffaloes. Before the end of the trip, we saw all three and a lot more and have now become some of its biggest fans. Yellowstone did not disappoint. Here are 5 reasons you should go there next year, when the warm weather returns, and some tips for making your trip as good as ours.
1. Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
Do a trip to Yellowstone and a trip to the Grand Canyon sound too expensive? Luckily, there’s a partial solution. It’s called the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone — a little known but amazing feature of Yellowstone. The canyon is near the center of the park, a few miles north of the largest lake. The Yellowstone River created the canyon and still flows through it today, creating two giant water falls, the largest of them 308 feet.
There are several ways to experience the canyon. Hiking trails on both the north rim and south rim allow visitors to descend at least half way into it and stop along the way at breathtaking overlooks. The unfortunately named Uncle Tom’s Trail (not named for Uncle Tom’s Cabin) on the south rim has great views of the largest water fall, called the Lower Falls, and the Canyon walls. But it descends steeply, via 300 steps, requiring one to be in at least decent shape to make the roundtrip journey. The north rim also offers outstanding views, and the hiking trails leading to them are much easier to navigate. Some of the north rim trails are just short paved walks, accessible to the disabled.