Yellowstone National Park: Uncle Tom’s Trail and Artist Point
Just as we parked at the entrance to Uncle Tom’s Trail, we saw the first few drops of water hit our windshield, rapidly developing into pouring rain. No worries; we came prepared with ponchos that Maria had picked up back in Chicago!
Uncle Tom’s Trail was developed in 1898 by “Uncle Tom” Richardson, an entrepreneur who took visitors on tours across the Yellowstone River. Initially created as a simple trail made of 528 steps and rope ladders, the trail currently consists of 328 grated metal steps and paved pathways.
The good news is that by the time we walked to the beginning of the trail, the rain had ended. The bad news is that everything was wet and slippery! Now, given that this is a tour site in the US, I’m sure that every safety precaution was taken (I had a little flashback to my rainy day at Victoria Falls, where that was decidedly not the case!). Still, we both thought this was scary! The steps were much steeper than I imagined, and you could see right through them to see just how high up we were. *Gulp* So the reason that there aren’t any photos of this is because I was too busy clinging to the railing for dear life, ha!
We met some nice people at the bottom who took a picture for us. Please note how our ponchos ended up matching our outfits… how funny is that?
And then it was time to turn around and go back up!
Now, over those aforementioned 328 steps, the trail drops 500 feet. On top of that, it’s located at an elevation of 8,000 ft, so it was pretty strenuous. Still, I much preferred the way up, versus the way down! We saw a family of rambunctious boys literally running down the steps. We could not believe how fearless they were. But then we saw their athletic-looking dad following after them – while carrying a toddler by the arms in front of him. He was going so fast, it was as if he were running bleachers! The kicker was that the little kiddo was grinning from ear to ear, totally enjoying it!
We found this sign near the top. Dangerous!
Lastly, we headed over to Artist’s Point. This area is known as the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Amazing views!