Uncle Tom's Trail is a 0.8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Yellowstone National Park, WY that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible from May until October.
Uncle Tom's trail is a quick but strenuous hike that ends near the base of Lower Falls in Yellowstone National Park. The following information was taken from the Canyon Area Trail Guide, which is available at several trailheads in the Canyon Area. For an unparalleled canyon and waterfall experience, take a deep breath and descent this trail. A series of paved inclines and more than 300 steps lead you about 500 feet down into the canyon. Your destination is a platform from which you can see, hear, and feel the power of the Lower Falls.
Uncle Tom’s Trail is a truly unique experience: Descending more than 300 stairs isn’t particularly easy on the knees, the views of the Lower Falls from the observation area at the base of the stairs are most impressive, and the climb back UP those 300+ stairs will make your calves burn.
To reach the beginning of this trail, take the South Rim Trail from the Uncle Tom’s parking lot after enjoying nice views of the Upper Falls from a couple of viewing spots just off the parking lot.
This trail begins with a series of switchbacks before you reach the well-known stairs. Although the stairs are generally stable, several individual steps along the way are rather uneven (sagging), so you’ll want to pay attention where you’re stepping.
Plan to take plenty of breaks – not only on the way back up, but also on the way down. Your leg muscles will thank you afterward.
A word of advice: When entering the parking lot, don’t go in the rightmost aisle – you’ll quickly realize you’re going the wrong way because the parking spaces are angled in the other direction. (Some sort of “DO NOT ENTER” sign in the parking lot would be helpful.)
Be sure to take the short (and LEVEL!) spur trail near the top that leads to an absolutely gorgeous view of the canyon. I commented to my wife that it was “the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.”
Had we done Uncle Tom’s Trail as part of our South Rim hike, we probably wouldn’t have had the energy to continue beyond Artist Point to Point Sublime – and we’d have missed that enjoyable segment of the South Rim Trail.
Fantastic and worth the stairs! Just watch your step, some of the stairs need maintenance!
Not for someone with a fear of heights.
Not what I would call a fun trail but great views of lower falls. Better than rope ladders for sure.
Some of the stairs are in need of care, but the view of the falls is beautiful.
Pretty cool walk, But if you hate stairs, definitely not for you! Only wish it went further down into the canyon, but all in all worth doing once
Lots of stairs but a good view of the waterfall
If you don't like waterfalls, stairs, or heights then maybe skip this climb up and down the 300+ steps. It is a beautiful view and well worth the effort.
Totally worth the steps! If you're used to the elevation and are in decent shape its not a big deal. Highly recommend.
We love this hike! Nothing else like it!
Wow. Such an amazing trek. I thought I wasn't going to make it a few times but if you pace yourself, anyone can do it!!
I would only do it once because it is a lot of steps but SO worth it..SO worth it
Short trail that is more vertical than horizontal. Very beautiful waterfall view.
this trail is nothing short of strenuous, but it is worth the view of Lower Falls, and some of the canyon. Really cool trail, but pretty strenuous.
very nice and short but will make you sweat hike. the view was quite beautiful during the sunset because you can see the various colors on the canyon. the waterfall is gorgeous and there is an area where you can just take a whole bunch of pictures. if you get tired, benches around each flight of stairs, trail is well marked and well built. I would give this five stars if the trail went all the way down to the water level, that would be a beautiful site .
Very unique "trail." It's basically a series of stairs bolted into the canyon walls, allowing one to step into the canyon just below the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone. Take South Rim Road, and you'll see the sign for the trailhead just after the Chittendon Bridge.
An interesting thing to do in Yellowstone but crowded and there are better views of the falls along the South Rim Trail.