Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

#1 in Best Things To Do in Yellowstone
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone picture1 of 2
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone2 of 2
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Price & Hours

Free
24/7 daily

Details

Hiking, Natural Wonders, Sightseeing, Free Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.8scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

Formed over thousands of years of erosion caused by wind, water and other natural forces, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is the primary attraction in the Canyon Village area and one of the park's most popular hiking spots. The canyon stretches approximately 20 miles long and nearly a mile wide. Just as remarkable as the canyon's terra-cotta hued cliff walls is its river, which is the longest undammed river in the country, meandering for more than 600 miles through Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota.

"Amazing," "beautiful" and "fascinating" are just a few adjectives recent visitors used to describe this natural wonder. Most praised its hiking trails (like Artist and Lookout points), but a few said to check the National Park Service's Canyon Area Construction Projects page before you arrive since several paths are either partly or completely closed for renovations. Another tip: Get to the canyon early or late in the day to avoid rubbing elbows with hordes of tourists.

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is located about 40 miles southeast of Yellowstone's North Entrance and roughly 15 miles northwest of Yellowstone Lake. The heart of Canyon Village, which features a visitors center, a lodge and several dining facilities, can be found approximately 1 mile northwest of the canyon's North Rim Trail. To get to the canyon, you can drive or sign up for a bus tour. Day tours offered by operators like Xanterra Parks & Resorts and Buffalo Bus Touring Company generally cost less than $100 per person. The canyon welcomes visitors when its roads are open from April 20 to Oct. 10. Learn more by visiting NPS' Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone page and its Canyon Village Area page.

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More Best Things To Do in Yellowstone

Old Faithful1 of 8
Yellowstone Lake2 of 8
Type
Time to Spend
#2 Old Faithful

The world's most renowned geyser is a must-see for every Yellowstone visitor. Although it isn't the largest geyser in the world, Old Faithful's eruptions are definitely awe-inspiring, averaging around 130 feet high. Like its name suggests, you can count on Old Faithful erupting approximately every hour and a half (the nearby visitors center can provide you with a more accurate schedule). There are several ways to see Old Faithful's power: You can join the hordes of tourists who gather around the perimeter or find a less hectic spot in the nearby Old Faithful Inn's dining room. More adventurous travelers can enjoy the mile-long hike out to Observation Point for a bird's-eye view of the Upper Geyser Basin.

Recent visitors enjoyed seeing Old Faithful, although some felt it wasn't as impressive as other Yellowstone geysers. Many, however, said this geyser is worth checking out. Despite it's fairly predictable schedule, Old Faithful's eruptions occasionally occur sooner than expected, so consider arriving early.

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