Perfect as an easy overnighter or for families with young children, this short, 4.8-miler explores Yellowstone National Park’s incredible backcountry sights on easy, well-maintained trails. From the Artist Point parking area, follow the paved trail along the rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Numerous viewpoints dot the route, revealing the sheer, multi-colored walls of the canyon. At certain points, the sounds of the canyon-carving Yellowstone River can be heard in the distance.
Less than a mile in, the route veers south and enters the forest for a 0.3-mile stretch to another trail junction. Turn left and hike northeast through forest and meadows to the grassy banks of Ribbon Lake (several campsites are located around the lake). From here, continue hiking north to a side trail that leads to Silver Cord Cascade, a dizzying 1,200-foot waterfall and drops into the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. The hike finishes at a vantage point with more stunning views of the canyon. When you’re ready, turn around follow the same route back to the trailhead.
PERMIT: Overnight camping in Yellowstone National Park requires a backcountry permit. Check out the latest fees and more details at nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/backcountryhiking.htm.
MORE PARK INFO: Yellowstone National Park, (307) 344-7381; nps.gov/yell/.
-Mapped by Jason Kauffman