“This trail switchbacks steeply down to the very brink of the 308-foot Lower Falls.”
— Tom Carter
River/Creek · Views
This trail contains steep drop-offs that are extremely dangerous for children. In 2014, a young girl lost her footing, stepped off this trail, and plunged 550 feet into the canyon.
The Brink of Lower Falls Trail switchbacks steeply down a mostly forested section of the Grand Canyon to an observation platform perched at the top of the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone. Here the mighty river thunderously plunges 308 feet into the heart of the canyon and hikers are afforded spectacular views down river into the vast, colorful canyon.
From the Brink of Lower Falls parking area, the trail (which technically doesnt begin until the end of the first switchback) drops more than 300 feet in 0.4 miles. This very popular trail is often quite crowded. It is even more crowed since the direction of the one-way North Rim Road was changed making this the first stop on the road. Now, many visitors stop here thinking its a short way to the viewpoint and are unprepared for this steep, somewhat difficult trail. So expect a slow hike down and an even slower hike back up. But the views at the bottom are amazing, making it a must-do hike for many.
In 1887, Owen Wister, gathering stories and inspiration later used in his classic western novel, The Virginian, described Lower Falls this way: "This is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. The water falls . . . 300 feet into a caldron of rock . . . the spray floats out into a rainbow that melts away into many-coloured moss, until you cannot discern which is moss and which rainbow."
Thanks to guidebook author, Tom Carter, for sharing this trail description. To learn more about visiting Yellowstone, check out his book, Day Hiking Yellowstone