Artist Point is one of the marquee overlooks on the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, with an exceptional perspective of canyon’s most famous feature, the 308-foot Lower Falls. The viewpoint juts out from the south wall of the canyon and is just a short 0.1-mile walk from South Rim Drive. Beyond the paved trail, you can continue hiking along the south rim of the canyon to places like Point Sublime.
Get started from a large parking area at the east end of South Rim Drive and hike down the wide paved trail continuing beyond the road’s end. Through pines along the rim of the canyon, you can sneak a peak of Lower Falls. The finest perspective comes at Artist Point, so step out onto the promontory and take in the panoramic view. You will understand immediately why the Canyon Area Trail Guide describes Artist Point as:
One of the most photographed views in Yellowstone.
Looking up the canyon, you’ll see a powerful waterfall contained by a deep V-shaped canyon of colorful orange rocks. Lower Falls is about a mile up the canyon from Artist Point. Above that and out of view is Upper Falls, which marks the start of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. It is estimated that between 5,000 and 60,000 gallons of water rush over Lower Falls each second, depending on the season.
Looking across gaping 1,000-foot deep chasm, the north rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River is about 3/4 of a mile (as the crow flies) from Artist Point. There is a steep bleached wall on the other side of the canyon that can be seen from above on North Rim Trail between Grand View Point and Inspiration Point.
Looking down the canyon from Artist Point, there are miles and miles of rugged steep canyon walls colored in yellows, oranges, and pinks. If you brought your canvas and paint set, there are several amazing landscapes to capture. With binoculars, you may be able to spot osprey, ravens, swallows, and bald eagles, which nest along the canyon wall. Even with the naked eye it is easy to see why Artist Point has been one of Yellowstone’s most popular vista points for over a century.
This is a perfect spot to take your family vacation photo! The hike is 0.2 miles round trip with 50 feet of elevation change. There is an entrance fee for Yellowstone National Park, but no permit is required to hike to Artist Point, so get out and enjoy!
To get to the trailhead: From Canyon Junction, where Norris Canyon Road and Grand Loop Road meet, drive 2.2 miles south and turn left onto South Rim Drive. Proceed another 1.6 miles to the parking area at the end of the road.
Trailhead address: South Rim Drive, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
Trailhead coordinates: 44.720183, -110.479766 (44° 43′ 12.65″N 110° 28′ 47.15″W)
Use the map below to view the trail and get directions:
|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.
|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.
|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.
|Lookout Point on the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone|
This short spur off North Rim Trail (which you can also drive right up to) achieves an impressive view of Lower Falls in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River.
|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.
|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.
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.