Uncle Tom's Trail
ElevationAscent: 6' 2 m
Descent: -358' -109 m
High: 7,776' 2,370 m
Low: 7,423' 2,263 m
GradeAvg Grade: 18% (10°)
Max Grade: 53% (28°)
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“Have fun scaling the incline stairs more than 300 feet down to the bottom of the canyon!”— Tom Carter
Features River/Creek · Views · Waterfall
When originally constructed by Uncle Tom Richardson in the late 1800s, the trail included a series of rope ladders that scaled 400 feet down the canyon walls. Hardy visitors would spend the day with Uncle Tom, first ferrying across the Yellowstone River (before the Chittenden Bridge was constructed in the early 1900s) then ascending the South Rim to the top of Uncle Tom's Trail, finally climbing down the rope ladders to view the falls. A picnic lunch was served before the return trip.
In 1889, a license was sought for the construction of a huge elevator that would have seriously defaced the opposite wall of the canyon. Opposition by Park Superintendent Boutelle forced the withdrawal of the objectionable request.
Enjoy the view of the falls from the bottom and charge-up your batteries for the steep climb out!
Thanks to guidebook author, Tom Carter, for sharing this trail description. To learn more about visiting Yellowstone, check out his book, Day Hiking Yellowstone.
Land Manager: National Park Service - Yellowstone National Park