Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, US
The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is the first large canyon on the Yellowstone River downstream from Yellowstone Falls in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.
The canyon is approximately 24 miles (39 km) long, between 800 and 1,200 ft (240 and 370 m) deep and from .25 to .75 mi (0.40 to 1.21 km) wide.
Although trappers and prospectors who visited the Yellowstone region had knowledge of the canyon, the first significant descriptions were publicized after the Cook–Folsom–Peterson Expedition of 1869 and the Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition of 1870.
When Charles W. Cook first viewed the canyon after traveling west from the Lamar Valley on September 20, 1869, he subsequently wrote these words in his journal:
I was riding ahead, the two pack animals following, and then Mr. Folsom and Mr. Peterson on their saddle horses. I remembered seeing what appeared to be an opening in the forest ahead, which I presumed to be a park, or open country. While my attention was attracted by the pack animals, which had stopped to eat grass, my saddle horse suddenly stopped. I turned and looked forward from the brink of the great canyon, at a point just across from what is now called Inspiration Point. I sat there in amazement, while my companions came up, and after that, it seemed to me that it was five minutes before anyone spoke.
A year later during the Washburn expedition, on August 30–31, 1870, Lt. Gustavus C. Doane described the canyon with a bit more scientific detail.
In 1890, Bozeman resident H.F. Richardson (known as Uncle Tom) was given a permit to operate a ferry across the Yellowstone River near the site of today’s Chittenden Bridge and take tourists down into the canyon below the lower falls on Uncle Tom’s Trail. Although the original trail no longer exists, there is still a steep stairway down to the base of the lower falls that is called Uncle Tom’s Trail. Uncle Tom’s Trail is approximately a 3-mile hike.