Colors Surpassing Anything on the Globe – The canyon’s rock formations are as inspiring today as they were during the first expeditions into the area in 1869 and 1870. Lt. Gustavus C. Doane, a Civil War soldier whose beautifully recorded impressions of the area to the U.S. Secretary of War helped turn Yellowstone into the country’s first national park.
Doane recorded the canyon’s striking beauty in his journal during the 1870 Washburn Expedition, and visitors will find his words as true today as they were when they were first documented.
“The walls of the cañon are of gypsum, (and) in some places … (with) lime white as snow. … In other places, the rock is crystalline and almost wholly sulphur of a dark yellow color, with streaks of red, green and black, caused by the percolations of (the area’s) hot mineral waters. … The combinations of metallic lusters in the coloring of the walls are truly wonderful, surpassing, doubtless, anything of the kind on the face of the globe.”
Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon drops down 800-1200 feet, and is one-quarter to three-fourths of a mile wide. Visitors can access the canyon’s various lookout points by car via the Grand Loop. Each point offers exquisite views of the canyon and the falls, so plan to bring your camera, easel, or writing journal and expect to be moved by the majesty of this unique site.
Observation points are easy to access, but the walk down can be steep; access to the Lower Falls is particularly easy, and you can travel down the paths as much as you wish.
Additionally, there are excellent hiking trails on both sides of the canyon, and a number of trails, both short and long, begin in the canyon area. Be sure to pack food and water, and envelope yourself in the beauty of America’s first national park.
If you would like to go on the best guided tour of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone we recommend to consider the ”2-Day Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks Wildlife Adventure,” or the “4-Day Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks Wildlife Adventure.”