Yellowstone: Canyon Village FAQs

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Canyon Village FAQs

Find out the answers to all your questions about Canyon Village here. Add to your enjoyment of Canyon Village by finding out all the facts about this intriguing area. Read More

Scenic Points/Viewing Areas

Question: Where can I see the canyon/falls?
Answer: To view the Upper Falls you can use the viewpoint next to the parking lot for Uncle Tom’s Trail or you can see them from the Brink of the Upper Falls Trails. To see the Lower Falls, you can use Lookout, Artist, and Red Rock Points. You can also view the Lower Falls from a few places along the South Rim Trail.

Question: Is it possible to view both falls at the same time?
Answer: There is a bend in the canyon between the Upper and Lower falls and this keeps anyone on the ground from seeing both of them at the same time. Obviously, both falls can be seen at the same time from the air.

Question: Is there anyway to get to the bottom of the canyon?
Answer: There is one trail, the Seven Mile Hole Trail that you can hike to get to the bottom of the canyon. You should be aware that this particular trail is a strenuous round tip of 11 miles. There are shorter hikes/trails, but none of them goes all the way to the bottom of the canyon.

Geological Information

Question: Why are there different colors in the canyon?
Answer: The basic answer is that the rock in the canyon is “rusting”. The iron compounds in the rhyolite rock are changing color due to oxidation.

Question: What is the size of the canyon?
Answer: The canyon itself is approximately 20 miles long. It can range from 800 to 1200 feet in depth and varies from 1500 to 4000 feet in width.

Question: Why is there a green stripe in the Lower Falls?
Answer: The green stripe in the Lower Falls is the natural color of the water. The depth of the water at any given point, plus the angle of your view, and the amount of light on the water at that particular time, all combine to give the water a definite color. The notch in the lip of the falls where the stripe is makes the water deeper at that point and keeps the water from becoming turbulent as it goes over the edge.

Question: What is the volume of the water going over the falls?
Answer: During peak runoff, nearly 63,500 gallons per second of water cascades over the falls. During the late fall, the volume of water is approximately 5,000 gallons per second.

Historical Information

Question: Who was Uncle Tom and why is there a trail named after him?
Answer: One of the first concessioners in the canyon area, Uncle Tom Richardson used to lead visitors on guided trips into the canyon – along the trail, which now bears his name. He would get the visitors to the bottom of the canyon using rope ladders. Uncle Tom lost his permit in 1903 when the Chittenden Bridge was completed.

Question: What was the location of the old hotel?
Answer: About a mile south of Canyon Junction at the present site of the horse corrals was the location of the old Canyon Hotel.

Miscellaneous Information


Question: There are large birds that can be seen in the canyon and they look like eagles. What are they?
Answer: The large eagle-like birds are actually ospreys or “fish hawks”. They nest in the canyon from late April until late August or early September and can be seen most often during this time. Their nests can generally be seen from Grandview, Lookout, and Artist Point viewing areas.

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