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Yellowstone Guide – Explore SE Grand Loop Drive from Grant Village to Canyon Village

    Exploring Grant Village to Canyon Village

    The route from Grant Village to Canyon Village runs just short of 40 miles and, for the most part, travels along the edge of Yellowstone Lake. As you reach its northern edge, you’ll begin to enter the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. At roughly 20 miles long, and more than 100 feet deep, and 1500-4000 feet wide, the canyon bends between the Upper and Lower falls so there isn’t a location where they can be seen at the same time. Each of this road segment’s highlights is listed consecutively from point to point, so you can decide which ones your family will want to do and use it as a guide in the park. We’ve bolded the stops we greatly enjoyed.

    Hayden Valley Bison on a Chilly September Morning

    Yellowstone Southeast Segment Highlights

    Explore Grant Village to Hayden Valley

    • Start at West Thumb. This park hub areas offer campgrounds, store lodging, showers, gas, and a visitor center.
    • Grant Marina offers both private and commercial paddling excursions. Swimming is not recommended most of the year however, as temperatures are often dangerously cold
    • West Thumb Geyser Basin Trail presents a quick, .6 mile stroll through a geyser basin of colorful hot springs and dormant lakeshore geysers on the scenic shores of Yellowstone Lake
    • West Thumb also features the Thumb Paint Pots, Seismograph Pool, Lakeshore Geyser, Fishing Cone and Big Cone
    • Duck Lake Trailhead is a speedy .8 mile walk up a small hill for a view of Duck and Yellowstone lakes
    • Sand Point allows for lakeside picnic with 15 picnic tables along the shore of Yellowstone Lake
    • Gull Point Drive offers a handful more picnic tables and a more elevated view of Yellowstone Lake
    • Natural Bridge Trailhead is a 51 foot cliff of rhyolite rock cut through by Bridge Creek, with the trail itself extending for 2.5 miles

    Explore Bridge Bay

    Bridge Bay campground has a selection of 432 reservable sites sporting spectacular views of the lake and the Absaroka Range rising above the lake’s eastern shore

    Explore Lake Village and Fishing Bridge

    • Lake Village plays host to the Lake Yellowstone Hotel, the oldest surviving hotel in all of Yellowstone.
    • Amenities at Lake Village include lodging, dining, camping, a medical station, store, and a ranger station.
    • Fishing Bridge is a popular place to watch cutthroat trout, fishing is not allowed.
    • Amenities at Fishing Bridge include an RV park, gast, store, and dining.

    Explore Fishing Bridge to Hayden Valley

    Mud Volcano trail
    • LeHardy’s Rapids offers some of the best cutthroat trout fishing in the entire park – just be sure to have a fishing permit issued!
    • Mud Volcano trail takes you on a .6 mile walk near geysers that’re about as acidic as stomach acid, with locales such as the Sizzling Basin and Churning Caldron
    • Sulphur Caldron is also one of the most acidic hot springs in the whole park, combining with sulphuric acid to make a rather pungent aroma

    Explore Hayden Valley

    This five-mile stretch of the Grand Loop Road takes you through Hayden Valley. Be on the lookout for bison, elk, grizzly bears, and elk. Traffic will often be slow through this area as the bison take their time crossing the road.

    Explore Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

    South Rim Drive

    • Chittenden Bridge provides a small, heavily wooded picnic area with 6 tables along South Rim Drive
    • Clear Lake Trailhead gives way to Ribbon Lake Trail, An easy 5.8 mile  there-and-back trail that traverses through forest with views of the Grand Canyon. Watch for bears, as they’re known to frequent the area
    • South Rim Drive to Artist Point includes two viewpoints, allowing you to see the canyon in both directions
    • South Rim Trail is a must-see, 1.8 mile trail with iconic views of both the Upper and Lower Falls, as well as the Yellowstone Grand Canyon. The height of upper falls is 109 feet and the height of lower falls is about 308 feet
    • Artist Point Trailhead leads to the popular Artist Point Overlook and allows you to embark on both the Point Sublime Trail (1.3 miles) and the Clear Lake–Ribbon Lake Trail (4 miles). The former travels from the majestic Artist Point overlook to the Point Sublime Overlook, along the southern rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River. The latter travels from the junction with the Wapiti Lake Trail out to Ribbon Lake, a couple of backcountry campsites and Surface Creek.
    Grand View

    North Rim Drive

    • North Rim Drive is a short, one way drive along the north rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, with several stops of interest such as Lookout Point, Grand View and Inspiration Point
    Lookout Point
    • If you want to take a slower pace to fully enjoy the scenery, Northern Rim Trail is about a 8.2 mile round-trip trail along the northwest wall of the canyon. Highlights include not only what you can see from the North Rim Drive but also Crystal Falls.

    Canyon Village

    • Visit the Canyon Visitor Education Center to learn about the geologic story of the area, including the Yellowstone volcano. Restrooms are open 24 hours a day. Amenities in the area include gas, lodging, dining, store, and showers.

    More Yellowstone Trip Planning Information

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    Theresa Jorgensen

    Theresa Jorgensen

    Theresa Jorgensen is a mother to four children including twins. She recognized the necessity for a comprehensive resource of hotels that cater to big families with rooms and suites for 5, 6, 7, or 8 people in a single room while traveling with her own family. In 2008, she established SixSuitcaseTravel to compile a database of such hotels. Over time, the website has grown to include travel advice, itineraries, road trip suggestions, national park guides, and more. Theresa takes pleasure in assisting other big families in creating unforgettable travel experiences.