Lookout Point, like Inspiration Point, is a panoramic overlook on the north rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River. Lookout Point offers a stunning view of the 308-foot Lower Falls tier of Yellowstone Falls. Similar to Inspiration Point, you may drive right up to Lookout Point or visit the overlook as a stop on North Rim Trail. The minimum distance to Lookout Point is 0.15 miles round trip with 25 feet of elevation gain.
From a parking area bordering North Rim Trail, pick up the walkway out to Lookout Point. There are thirteen steps on the way to the lookout, making it an easy viewpoint to reach. Step up to Lookout Point, which has been a popular visitor destination for over a century. The Yellowstone National Park webpage explains:
This was a popular lookout for many early visitors to the park. Noticing that it got regular visitation, in 1880 Superintendent P.W. Norris built a railing here and the location has been called Lookout Point ever since. It is likely that this was the superintendents preferred name for the spot. It had been called many things prior to 1880 including Point Lookout, Lookout Rock, Mount Lookout, and Prospect Point.
Lookout Point faces west up a deep canyon carved by the Yellowstone River toward a white gushing waterfall flanked by orange vertical walls. Out of sight, upriver from Lower Falls, there is a shorter upper tier of Yellowstone Falls. Starting with the Upper Falls of Yellowstone Falls, The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River runs northeast for over 20 miles, carving a 1,000-foot deep gash in the pine-covered landscape. The north and south rims are separated by a mere 3/4 of a mile, with treacherously steep canyon walls painted in oranges, yellows and reds.
Lower Falls from Lookout Point
In the canyon below Lower Falls, you will notice wooden steps extending down to a viewing platform just downstream from the falls. This is Red Rock Point, which can be reached from the same trailhead as Lookout Point but requires a much greater investment of energy. The sign at the traihead explains:
A steep descent to Red Rock will take you to the North Rim’s closest full view of Lower Falls. Please be prepared for steep grades, steps, and a rough surface. The rail descends rapidly—about 500 feet (150 m) in 3/8 mile (0.6 km). Wear sturdy walking shoes with good tread, and be prepared for a steep uphill return.
Lower Falls from Lookout Point
To get more views of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, you can head east from Lookout Point on North Rim Trail, reaching Osprey Point, Grand View Point, and eventually Inspiration Point. Each overlook is placed at a panoramic promontory along the canyon wall. There is an entrance fee for Yellowstone National Park, but no permit is required to visit Lookout Point on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, so get out and enjoy!
To get to the trailhead: From Canyon Junction, where Norris Canyon Road and Grand Loop Road meet, drive 1.2 miles south on Grand Loop Road and turn left (east) on North Rim Drive. Proceed 0.7 miles to a parking area for Lookout Point, which will be on the right.
Trailhead address: North Rim Drive, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
Trailhead coordinates: 44.721521, -110.487884 (44° 43′ 17.47″N 110° 29′ 16.38″W)
Use the map below to create your own directions:
|North Rim Trail on the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone|
This trail follows the north wall of the canyon past several exceptional views between Inspiration Point and the Brink of the Upper Falls.
|Inspiration Point on the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone|
This jutting point is one of the premier vistas along the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, reachable at the bottom of a flight of stairs from a parking area at the east end of North Rim Trail.
|Brink of the Upper Falls on the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone|
This short trail extending from North Rim Trail reaches a daunting overlook atop the 109-foot waterfall at the start of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River.
|Uncle Tom’s Trail on the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone|
This 0.7-mile round trip hike descends a steel staircase clinging to the south wall of the canyon to a viewing platform with spectacular views of Lower Falls.
|Artist Point on the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone|
This viewpoint delivers one of the most photographed views in Yellowstone, a memorable perspective of the 308-foot Lower Falls.
|Point Sublime on the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone|
This 3-mile hike explores the south rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, passing Artist Point toward more excellent views.
This 1-mile hike starts with a head-on view of a 132-foot waterfall. Unfortunately, the final leg of the trail to the base of Tower Fall is closed due to damage from rock and mud slides.
|Calcite Springs Overlook|
This 0.25-mile loop overlooks a dramatic section of the Yellowstone River lined by bleached cliffs and steam venting hydrothermal springs.
|More trails in Yellowstone|
Explore other hikes to waterfalls and hydrothermal hot spots in Yellowstone National Park.
|Yellowstone National Park Campgrounds|
There are 12 developed campgrounds with over 2,000 total sites spread throughout Yellowstone.