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Home » Regional » Wyoming » Yellowstone National Park

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone - Yellowstone National Park
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The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone has long been celebrated in prose, poetry, paintings, and photographs. Its profound depth and beautiful colors resulted from the synergistic forces of fire, ice, and water.

The current Grand Canyon of Yellowstone dates back 14,000 years ago to the end of the last glaciation. During the glaciation, melting water carved out the current V-shaped valley. Today, water continues to cause the erosion of the hydrothermally-altered volcanic rocks.

The Upper and Lower Falls of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone are formed mostly by the Yellowstone River. Upper Falls is 109 feet high and can be seen from several locations including the Brink of the Upper Falls Trail, the Brink of the Lower Falls Trail, and from various viewpoints at Uncle Tomís Parking Area. At 308 feet high, the Lower Falls can also be seen from several locations including Artist Point, Lookout Point, Red Rock, Brink of the Lower Falls Trail, and from various other points along the South Rim Trail. Crystal Falls enters the canyon in the area between the Upper and Lower falls. It can be seen from the South Rim Trail just west of Uncle Tomís parking area and is a waterfall on Cascade Creek.

The beautiful colors in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone resulted from hydrothermal alteration of iron compounds in the rhyolite. The rocks change colors as they become oxidized from exposure to these elements. Most of the yellow colors in the canyon result from the presence of iron and sulphur within the rock.

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone offers fabulous opportunities to see wildlife. Osprey soar over the Yellowstone River or perch on their 5-foot diameter nests. From between six and ten osprey nests have occupied the area since the mid 1980s.

It may also be possible to see other wildlife in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone including bald eagles, ravens, and swallows. It may also be possible to see black bears, mule deer, moose, red foxes, grizzly bears, coyotes, and great gray owls.



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