Artist Point is one of the most popular destinations in Yellowstone National Park. The stone lookout point is great for viewing the impressive Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Its just a short walk down a paved road. The crowds give the place a feeling of international relevance; while standing shoulder to shoulder with strangers, you are likely to hear at least five languages spoken. The lookout point on the south side of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone was originally thought to be the place where artist Thomas Moran sketched his 1872 depictions of Lower Falls. As it turns out, this is not the location where the famous sketch was made. The name stuck, however. The 700-foot cliff is a great place to snap some photos, take in the view or just admire the rich diversity of tourists. Looking across the canyon at the iron-rich walls makes one feel insignificant and even inspired.
A great option to escape the crowds of Artist Point is to continue hiking the South Rim Trail toward Sublime Point, which is just over a mile from Artist Point. The trail is mostly flat, uncrowded, and it meanders in and out of the lodgepole pine forest on the rim of the canyon. The views looking northeast are dramatic as the river carves through the deep canyon and flows toward the Lamar Valley. Along the way the trail gets very close to the canyon rim; if heights are of concern, this may not be a good trail for you. Sublime point is the end of the South Rim Trail and is marked by a small fence that overlooks the canyon to the northeast.
If backcountry camping is of interest to you, look into sites 4R1 or 4R2 at Ribbon Lake. The lake can be be reached by a spur trail about a half-mile down from Artist Point on the South Rim Trail. The lake is less than 3 miles from Artist Point, making for an excellent quick backpacking trip near one of Yellowstone's most beautiful areas.
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