Visiting Artist Point in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Visiting Artist Point in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming


The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is without a doubt one of the most spectacular sights in Yellowstone National Park. The Yellowstone River has carved this 1,200-foot-deep canyon over thousands of years, and it features several stunning pullovers on both rims where visitors can take in breathtaking views.

Among these, a lookout known as Artist Point stands out as one of the best-known stops on the south rim. This beautiful overlook frames the thundering 108 feet of Yellowstone River Lower Falls between the bleached rhyolite walls of the canyon. It has a fascinating history and is regarded as one of the best viewpoints in the area. It is, after all, the inspiration for one of the most famous landscape paintings in the world. …Isn’t it?

snowy mountainsNPS, Jacob W. Frank

History of Artist Point 

It’s impossible to discuss the early history of our national parks without acknowledging the early artists. It was these photographs and paintings that brought the majesty of one-day parks to the public, tourists, and lawmakers alike. Without these inspiring works, protections for Yellowstone to become a national park may have come much later, if at all.  

That's why, when photographer and explorer F. Jay Haynes came here in 1890, he named this viewpoint for Thomas Moran, the creator of one of Yellowstone's most famous paintings, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

painted image of mountain and wterfallsThomas Moran-Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Unfortunately, Haynes chose the wrong location for his tribute to Moran. The famous painting was not created at Artist Point but at the north rim overlook known as Lookout Point (also sometimes called Moran Point).

The confusion persists to this day, with many Artist Point tourists mistakenly believing they are standing in Moran’s legendary footsteps. (To visit the real location where the painting was made, just take a short drive to the north rim.)

Sunrise and Sunset at Artist Point

So now that you know you want to go, when should you go? Every part of the day offers a unique experience. Here’s what you can look forward to at various times of the day.

As dawn draws near, the sun rises from behind you, illuminating the canyon with an ever-widening band of golden light. The waterfall roars and crashes down onto the rocks below, and, by mid-morning, a rainbow emerges from the mist.

The best time to visit, however, may be in the late afternoon. At sunset, dramatic shadows cast over the canyon under skies of orange and pink as the sun nestles itself to rest behind the brink of the falls. Without a doubt, Artist Point is lovely whenever you decide to visit.

How do you get to the Artist Point in Yellowstone?

  1. Start at Canyon Junction, where Norris Canyon Road and Grand Loop Road intersect in Yellowstone National Park.
  2. Drive south on Grand Loop Road for 2.2 miles.
  3. Turn left onto South Rim Drive when you see the signs.
  4. Continue on South Rim Drive for about 1.6 miles.
  5. Reach the parking area at the end of South Rim Drive, where you can safely park your vehicle.
  6. Follow the trail from the parking area to Artist Point, where you'll enjoy stunning views of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River.

Trailhead Address: Wyoming 82190, United States
Trailhead Coordinates: 44.71982, -110.48017

Artist Point is located at the end of South Rim Drive. To reach the overlook, visitors need to take a short, paved walk that is just over a tenth of a mile each way or a quarter mile there and back. Be aware that during peak hours, such as midday to sunset, the overlook may be very crowded. If you’d like to avoid crowds, try coming early in the day.

Does my Shaka Guide Tour Take Me There?

Of course! Artist Point is one of 110 stops on Shaka Guide’s Yellowstone National Park Tour. We’ll guide you there with turn-by-turn directions and stories along the way. We’ll never let you miss out on any of Yellowstone’s must-see attractions. Check out our Yellowstone Tour to learn more!

Visiting Yellowstone? Download Shaka Guide’s Yellowstone National Park Tour

We hope that we’ve given you all the information you need to make the most of your day. Your vacation is extremely important to us so if you have any questions feel free to reach out at aloha@shakaguide.com.

For more detailed information to help you plan, check out our 7-Day Yellowstone Itinerary, 3-Day Yellowstone Itinerary, and Know Before You Go.

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waterfall between mountains and valley


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