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North Rim Trail

 4.3 (4)


3.2 Miles 5.2 Kilometers

270' 82 m


-310' -95 m



Avg Grade (2°)


Max Grade (14°)

7,866' 2,398 m


7,652' 2,332 m


Shared By Tom Carter


Bad / Closed 70 days ago

Getting forecast...

The North Rim Trail leads you alongside the spectacular Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone!

Tom Carter

Dogs Unknown

Features River/Creek · Views · Waterfall

Family Friendly This medium-length trail provides amazing views of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone all with a gentle grade.

This hike contains steep drop-offs that are extremely dangerous for children.


North Rim Trail travels alongside spectacular Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Sections are easily accessible from the road so you'll see people nearby. But, as others scurry from their cars to the edge for a quick look hikers can truly experience it.

Before starting, visit Inspiration Point to view the canyon and a portion of Lower Falls. Until 1975 the walkway led all the way to the point. A significant earthquake that summer caused rock to weaken and eventually a 300-foot vertical column of rock slid out from under the walkway. There were 15 visitors on the scenic overlook when the slide occurred. Fourteen scrambled to safety, while the 15th remained to take pictures. When he was rescued, he had some pretty good shots!

The North Rim Trail begins to the right of Inspiration Point and meanders up and down along the canyon rim 1 mile to Grandview. This is one of my favorite sections of the trail; there is no road in sight and relatively few people use this section. Hikers enjoy impressive intermittent views of canyon color through the lodgepole pine and occasional subalpine fir trees.

Views become more impressive as you approach Grandview. From here the trail, rejoined by the road, continues upriver along the very edge of this awe-inspiring canyon. At the 1.3 mile mark you reach Lookout Point. A short walkway leads to the point where you get your first great vantage of Lower Falls. Its 308-foot plunge is approximately twice that of Niagara Falls. From here you can take a side trip to Red Rock Point. This well-groomed, but steep, spur trail drops 500 feet in 0.3 miles to one of the area's finest views of Lower Falls.

As you continue from Lookout Point you eventually spy, in the distance, the spray from 109-foot Upper Falls. Here, at the 2.2 mile mark, you are directly above the Lower Falls. A paved spur trail switchbacks down 600 feet in 0.5 miles to the brink of Lower Falls.

To continue the North Rim Trail, start down the spur trail to Lower Falls, but proceed straight into the forest at the first switchback. Soon the trail crosses Cascade Creek just above Crystal Falls. For a good view of this delicate falls, take a short spur trail to the left about 100 yards past the creek. At 2.7 miles, cross the Brink of Upper Falls parking area and follow an easy stone stairway to the brink of the falls.

The North Rim Trail continues upstream hugging the relatively calm Yellowstone River. At the 3.2 mile mark the trail ends near Chittenden Bridge.

Thanks to guidebook author, Tom Carter, for sharing this trail description. To learn more about visiting Yellowstone, check out his book, Day Hiking Yellowstone.


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Your Check-Ins


Sep 4, 2018
Lisa VdBergh
Sep 1, 2018
Miranda Yee
Aug 9, 2018
Jason Crawford
Trail only open between Brink of Lower Falls to Grand View.
Aug 6, 2018
Sydney Fritz
Great views and fairly easy hike 2mi
Jul 18, 2018
Stephanie Freeman
Jul 15, 2018
Paul Gormisky
May 27, 2018
Ted Christensen
Oct 24, 2017
Andrew Baker

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Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 4 votes


  4.3 from 4 votes
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1,420 Since Sep 10, 2015
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