Exploring Yellowstone National Park, August 17, 2014.
Walking from the Old Faithful Inn parking lot towards Old Faithful, from the all the people crowding the benches, we could tell that it was get close to eruption time.
We didn’t even have time to look for someplace to sit before it went. In all the many times we’ve seen Old Faithful, this was the first time we never had to wait.
We had actually come to the Old Faithful area to try to get online using our phones’ mobile hotspot feature. Unfortunately, we were just barely able to take care of what we needed to. Cell phone service is very limited in Yellowstone and, overall, we had worse luck than we did in 2010 – which I wrote about in How we are posting in Yellowstone National Park, complete with photos.
After taking care of our online activities, our plan was to drive back over to the Canyon area of the park and take the Uncle Tom trail.
H.F. Richardson, affectionately called “Uncle Tom” by his contemporaries, engineered a trail and pioneered a guiding service in 1898 to lead Yellowstone visitors into the canyon. Today’s modernized trail still bears Uncle Tom’s name. (from trail sign)
The original trail had 528 steps and rope ladders and went almost to the canyon floor. The modern trail is asphalt with switchbacks and steps, terminating in a metal staircase with 328 steps and a view platform about 3/4 if the way down into the canyon.
Uncle Tom’s Trail was busy and, for some, its resting spots were a welcome relief.
The trail offers unique views of the canyon. The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is about 24 miles (39 km) long, between 800 and 1,200 feet (240 and 370 m) deep and from .25 to .75 miles (0.40 to 1.21 km) wide.[
Lower Yellowstone Falls drops 308 feet (94 m), almost twice as high as Niagara. It is the largest volume major waterfall in the United States Rocky Mountains.