Features: River/Creek — Views — Waterfall
To reach Artist Point follow the hordes of people through the large parking area, down a few cement steps, and veer left out to the point. There is a reason this is the most popular spot in the canyon -- it has by far the best view! Here the canyon is approximately 900 feet deep and over 1,500 feet across. Up river, the mighty Yellowstone plunges 308 feet over Lower Falls, approximately twice as high as Niagara Falls.
Take a moment to contemplate how this magnificent canyon and falls were created. Hundreds of thousands of years before the canyon was formed there existed here an ancient thermal basin. The hot waters altered and weakened the hard rhyolite lava in the area, allowing the river to cut this deep canyon. This also produced the beautiful colors of the canyon. Lower Falls tumbles over a hard section of rhyolite unaltered by thermal waters.
Similar views from the opposite side of the canyon inspired Thomas Moran in 1871 to make sketches and take notes from which he later painted his famous oil of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and Lower Falls. This and other paintings of Yellowstone caused Moran to become identified with his favorite subject. His friends called him "T. Yellowstone Moran" and he began signing his paintings with a colophon that incorporated a "Y" with his initials.
Thanks to guidebook author, Tom Carter, for sharing this trail description. To learn more about visiting Yellowstone, check out his book, Day Hiking Yellowstone