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°)
Current trail conditions
Popular runs nearby
7.3 mi 11.7 km • Out and Back • 1,384 ft Ascent 421.81 m Ascent
Doubletrack Canyon Village, WY( 26 )
Monument Geyser Basin
2.7 mi 4.4 km • Out and Back • 676 ft Ascent 206.17 m Ascent
Singletrack Norris Junction, WY( 7 )
17.7 mi 28.5 km • Point to Point • 3,681 ft Ascent 1121.97 m Ascent
Singletrack Tower Junction, WY( 3 )
14.6 mi 23.5 km • Loop • 1,102 ft Ascent 335.8 m Ascent
Singletrack Tower Junction, WY( 5 )
19.0 mi 30.6 km • Loop • 3,808 ft Ascent 1160.7 m Ascent
Singletrack Mammoth Hot Springs, WY( 6 )
Navigate on-trail with our free app
Run this trail?
Add details to help others plan their adventure.
“Have fun scaling the incline stairs more than 300 feet down to the bottom of the canyon!”— Tom Carter
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