Yellowstone: Grand Canyon & Artist Paint Pots

Day 1: Mammoth Hot Springs and Norris Geyser Basin

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

On day 2 in Yellowstone, we first went to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, which is 24 miles long with two waterfalls. We hiked the South Rim Trail, an out-and-back trail for a total of 6.4 miles. I loved this hike because it was shady, so we were comfortable and not hot, and it had scenic overlooks and gorgeous views for nearly the whole hike. It was so beautiful that I actually teared up. My soul was touched--it was that amazing.

On the way back, we went on Uncle Tom's Trail, a side trail off the South Rim Trail. This trail was a  descent of 500 feet to almost the canyon floor by Upper Falls and back up, and much was on perforated metal stairs attached to the canyon wall. I am very afraid of heights, so at first I wasn't even going to go down. But I figured I was there, and it was a good opportunity to face my fear. Well, the hike down was very scary. Yes, you are on stairs and yes, there is a railing, but you are walking straight down a deep descent of a canyon. I was clutching the railing and going very slowly. The hike back up was much easier for me because I simply didn't look down.

I forgot to mention yesterday that my husband Dave took the majority of these photos. I had to size them down so they are not as crisp as the originals.

The first overlook for the Upper Falls, the only of the two waterfalls visible on
the South Rim Trail.

Another view of Upper Falls.
The canyon walls.

Another view of the canyon walls.
Dave and me at one of the lookouts.
A higher viewpoint of the Upper Falls.
View from Artist Point at the end of the trail, looking back toward Upper Falls.
Another view from Artist Point.
Another view of the canyon.
Sign at the end of the trail.
Rainbow in the canyon from the falls.
Going up the stairs on Uncle Tom's Trail.

Artist Paint Pots

After the Grand Canyon, we went to the Artist Paint Pots area, which is close by. There is a short 1.2-mile trail to go through this otherworldly geothermal area. There are a number of different geothermal features, including the "paint pots," which are basically boiling pools of mud instead of water.

View from the top of the trail of the Artist Paint Pots area.
Another view from higher on the trail.

Walking through the Artist Paint Pots area.
Steam from the boiling springs and pools.

Walking through the Artist Paint Pots area.
Another view from higher on the trail.
Burned lodgepole pines in the first part of the trail before getting to the geothermal area.
Hard to see, but this was a slowly boiling pit of mud. Pretty cool!

Next I'll be recapping Old Faithful and more geyser basins.

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