Uncle Tom's Trail

MODERATE 91 reviews
#4 of 206 trails in

Uncle Tom's Trail is a 0.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from May until October.

0.6 miles
377 feet
Out & Back

kid friendly



nature trips






wild flowers


no dogs

PLEASE NOTE TEMPORARY CLOSURE: Uncle Tom's Point, Uncle Tom's Trail & South Rim Trail Uncle Tom's Point and Parking Area, Uncle Tom's Trail (the stairs), and the entire South Rim Trail are closed for reconstruction: expect completion in July 2018. Please check with park before leaving for hike. 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.

1 month ago

I did trail in July 2017. Interesting views and unique perspective of the falls. Stairs, stairs and more stairs.

1 month ago

This trail will kick your butt if your not in good shape. Its an interesting feeling climbing down and back up hundreds of metal stairs with the feeling "This could break at any moment". I really enjoyed the memory of this hike. Amazing photo op at the bottom of the falls.

2 months ago

It's closed, under construction. Looks like it will be for a while

2 months ago

Great view at the bottom. Lots of stairs to get there. Worth the short, but hard hike.

3 months ago

The views at the bottom make this trail a 5 in my book -- though there are a lot of stairs, it's not one I'd take kids on if you're carrying them and scared of heights. Beneath you on the way up you'll see the remnants of the original rope ladder used to get to the bottom of the falls. I've taken this trail at least three times. At the time of this review, the trail is currently closed for maintenance and construction until the end of July 2018 - as posted on the nps.gov/yell website. So when it re-opens, and you're planning to be in the area, take the time to see the views and get a small amount of mist!

6 months ago

What a view! Wow... a bunch of stairs! Totally worth the slow stair adventure on the way back up to the trail. Don't worry about having to rest between flights. There are random levels to rest and catch your breath, if need be.

10 months ago

Stairs, and lots of them. Absolutely a must do trail If you go to Yellowstone. The bottoms allows you to get stunning photos of the Grand Canyon of Waterfalls. If you've even wanted to see the base of a waterfall, do this trail. It's completely breathtaking and virtually impossible to take a bad photo whether you are using a cellphone, DSLR, Bridge, or point and shoot. As far as if you are looking to carry camera gear, be careful. After all the hiking and calories burnt climbing the over 300 steel steps to the top , be sure to stop and get yourself a Wilcoxson's huckleberry ice cream sandwich ... or a boxful.

10 months ago

The stairs coming up were certainly tough but the falls were beautiful and I enjoyed this trail.

11 months ago

Don't let the stairs put you off. This is a neat little side trip

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Worth all the stairs!

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

the trail was closed today

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Amazing views. Unique with lots of flights of stairs that border the falls. Many people took breaks along the way, but if you want a good challenge, hustle to the bottom, enjoy those beautiful falls, and hustle back up for a great workout.

Friday, June 16, 2017

This trail is short, but a LOT of stairs. It doesn't seem like it going down, but going up you can certainly feel it. The view is pretty, but I think there are some better shots from up top.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Beautiful view of the lower falls

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Short but beautiful hike. The stairs are metal and spiked (great for snow melt and traction, not great if you fall on them) Not difficult to navigate but are pretty steep. If you are reasonably fit and willing to take your time, you will be okay. You end at a nice platform near the lower part of the falls. It's a unique view and fun to photograph from. Take your bear spray. We saw bear scat on the trail. Note: You can also access this trail from Artist's Point.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Short and Steep, but beautiful nonetheless. Great view from inside the canyon

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The stairs weren't as big of a problem as I thought. If you're fit & take your time, you can do it.
The view of the waterfall is nice & we went early enough that we got to see the rainbow with the falls.
The viewing platform is small for the amount of people who use this trail. Go early!

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Step is hard but not long. You can finish it in 15min round trip. Actual this trail is not worth to spend time cause no beautiful scenery. I prefer red rock trail more.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

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.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Fantastic and worth the stairs! Just watch your step, some of the stairs need maintenance!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Not for someone with a fear of heights.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Not what I would call a fun trail but great views of lower falls. Better than rope ladders for sure.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Some of the stairs are in need of care, but the view of the falls is beautiful.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

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

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Lots of stairs but a good view of the waterfall

Thursday, July 28, 2016

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.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Totally worth the steps! If you're used to the elevation and are in decent shape its not a big deal. Highly recommend.

Friday, July 15, 2016

We love this hike! Nothing else like it!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

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!!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

I would only do it once because it is a lot of steps but SO worth it..SO worth it

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