For many people the most iconic photo of Yellowstone National Park, the picture they recognize most, is of majestic Yellowstone Falls taken from Artist’s Point. It’s the one site visitors feel they must see. It doesn’t disappoint!
We loved it so much that we spent most of a morning there and then returned on another day. The waterfall flows into the valley that is often called the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and together the scenery is hard to beat for pure natural beauty. Between Larry and myself we took hundreds of photos, each slightly different but still showing the glory of God’s creation.
Around 500,000 years ago a huge volcanic eruption occurred in Yellowstone. It emptied a large underground chamber of magma. The roof of this chamber slowly collapsed, forming a giant caldera, which began to fill with lava and sediments. For thousands of years the lava flow and Yellowstone River have cut a path through the rocks, and the canyon now extends for 24 miles.
Steam from geysers can still be seen in the canyon walls. Various minerals from this hot thermal activity continue to alter the canyon face and create abundant colors that frame the river below.
If you drive on the North Rim of Yellowstone Falls, you can stop at various pullouts including Lookout Point, Grand View, and Inspiration Point. A fairly steep path with switchbacks takes you to the brink of the Lower Falls where you’ll witness how powerful the Falls are as water spills over the edge. Reaching a height of 308 feet, the Falls are spectacular as they roar and splash high in the air upon reaching the canyon bottom.
On the South Rim, the most visited spot is Artist’s Point. There we were intrigued with multi-colored, exquisitely beautiful canyon walls. Shades of pink, amber, ivory, tan, and green, glisten in the sun. We tried to capture the variety and enormity of the canyon while watching the Yellowstone River snake through the rocks on its downstream path.
The green streak many people notice is the result of a thicker rock layer which makes for a thinner water flow at that particular spot. To me, it adds additional interest to the overall picture of Yellowstone Falls.
Artist’s Point is accessible to most people, so it can become very crowded. Photographers anxious to set their tripods in preferred spots might arrive as early as 5 a.m. Since I’ve started using only my iPhone camera (which takes better pictures than my point and shoot camera), it was easy for me—with a little patience--to slip in among other visitors to take the exact photos I wanted.
Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier