Near Canyon Village Yellowstone, WY


Brink Of The Lower Falls offers one of the very best views of the enormous power of the Yellowstone River. The Brink of the Lower Falls places you right on top of the massive 300ft drop off to the canyon below. The hike to this spot is not easy, with a pretty serious elevation gain over a ¼ of a mile. But when you reach this spot, you can capture some unique images of The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

From the viewpoint at the bottom of the trail, you can capture the exact opposite view that you get from Artist Point on the south rim. Around mid-day, you normally get a nice rainbow that forms looking east. If you walk back up the switchback and look down on the falls, you can also get some nice abstracts of the powerful flow from the falls. All in all, this hike is well worth the visit; but again, it is not easy. 


I would rate the difficulty of this trail as a 3 on a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being most difficult). The hike to the Brink of the Lower Falls is a dirt/paved trail that is 0.4 miles each way (0.8 miles round trip) consisting of about 8-10 switchbacks. The elevation gain is significant (300ft each way) and is not for everyone. The hike back up can be tiring if you don’t hike much. 

Download KMZ Trail File

Click Here to download the KMZ file for this location.

GPS Coordinates & Elevation


7.421 Ft. Elevation

Google Maps Birds-Eye-View

Click link above to view location in Google Earth


CLICK HERE to get driving directions to the Brink Of The Lower Falls trailhead/parking lot.

The location is in central Yellowstone and can be accessed from all directions. These directions are from the Yellowstone - South Entrance, coming from Jackson, WY.

From the Yellowstone - South Entrance, travel north on US-191 for 21.2 miles toward the community of West Thumb. At this point the road splits. Take a right (east) on US-20 for 20.6 miles around the lake.

Once past the lake, continue on Grand Loop Rd. for another 14.2 miles. As you get close to Canyon Village, take a right (east) on North Rim Dr. and drive for 0.2 miles to the parking lot. From the parking lot, look for a large wooden sign that says “Brink of the Lower Falls” and follow the trail. 

Best Time of Day to Shoot

You can shoot this location any time of the day. However, I found that in mid to late afternoon, you get a nice rainbow looking out away from the waterfall. The shot above was taken at 3pm in early June.

Best Time of Year to Shoot

Spring, summer, or fall are great times to shoot the Brink of the Lower Falls. 

What Lens(es) Do You Need

The image above was shot with a 20mm lens.


Once you pay the entry fee for Yellowstone, there are no permits required.

Direction of the Shot

The direction of the shot is east around 80°.

Special Nuances of Shot

The shot is fairly straightforward. Just be careful not to tumble in, as there is no return.

In the afternoon, the mist from the falls will produce a rainbow when shooting out toward the canyon. This is a nice option to include in your shot.

Special Equipment Needed

Other than a tripod, ND filter to slow the shutter to 1/2 second and a polarizer filter, there is no need for any special photography equipment unless you plan on doing a panoramic shot. 

Number of Other Photographers to Expect

During the day, The Brink of the Lower Falls is a very popular hike - so expect lots of tourists and amateur photographers. 


Current Weather

Weather in Yellowstone is mild in the late spring, summer, and early fall and bitter in the winter. The weather in Yellowstone is very unpredictable and changes quickly.

Cell Service

I use Verizon, and there is NO cell service at this location. There is limited cell service at the Canyon Village.

Overnight Lodging/Camping

Canyon Village is a very small community only 1 mile from The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. The community has a general store, a post office, a cafeteria, a couple of lodging locations, and a very nice campsite (Yellowstone Canyon Campground). The campground has a nice shower and laundry with 250 campsites, but books up quickly in the summer. 

Nearby camping and lodging

Camping - click on the campground below for directions

Yellowstone Canyon Campground – (in Canyon Village)


Lodging - click on the lodging below for a TripAdvisor review

Canyon Lodge – Canyon Village
(800) 299-0396
3 Canyon Loop Drive, N Rim Dr, Yellowstone National Park, WY

Dunraven Lodge – Canyon Village
North Rim Drive, Yellowstone National Park, WY

Lake Yellowstone Hotel and Cabins (on Lake Yellowstone)
(307) 344-7311
Yellowstone National Park, WY

Nearby Restaurants

Canyon Village is a very small community with a dinning room, deli and cafeteria. None of the eating establishments are special; it is just national park food.

Nearby Restaurants - click on the restaurant below for yelp review

Canyon Lodge Dining Room
(866) 439-7375
Canyon Village Area, Yellowstone National Park

Canyon Lodge Deli
Canyon Village Area, Yellowstone National Park

Canyon Lodge Cafeteria
Canyon Village Area, Yellowstone National Park

Laundry Mat

The only laundry mat in this area is in the Yellowstone Canyon Campground. There is also a shower at this facility. 

Other Photography Opportunities Around

Click on an image below to move to that location

Airport Options

Jackson Hole (JAC) is usually the nearest airport for this area. It is a very nice, small, clean airport just 11 miles north of the city of Jackson.

Other major airports in the vicinity of Yellowstone Park are Denver, Salt Lake City, and Billings. Of those three, Billings would be the closest. Billings to the northeast entrance is 120 miles (over Beartooth Pass).

Area Guides and Workshops


Other Resources

The Photographer's Ephemeris is a very valuable tool for landscape photographers to determine the direction of the sunrise/sunset & moonrise/moonset from any place on earth on any day (past and future). Click here to take you to The Photographer's Ephemeris for this location. 

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone - Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park (U.S. National Park Service)