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Page 9

At Tower Junction, we crossed to the north side of the Yellowstone River, where we took a little used trail that followed the rim of the lower canyon.
After a steep climb from the Yellowstone River Picnic Area parking lot, we crested a ridge and gained our first view of the river, which we then followed upstream. The trail runs right along the edge of the canyon.

The walls of the canyon show evidence of thermal activity where hot springs have left white deposits behind. Steam erupts from a riverside source.

Note the interesting rock formations making up the near side of the canyon. The upper layer is basalt which cracked into columns as its lava flow cooled. Similar basaltic columns may be seen on both sides of the canyon. As we approach The Narrows the canyon walls change to black rhyolite which has eroded into steep vertical ridges and spires, similar to the scenery seen in Hawaii and many other volcanic areas.

This portion of the canyon is known as the Black Canyon of the Yellowstone. Before it enters the Black Canyon, the Yellowstone meanders through a broad valley.

On the return trip, we watched an eagle soaring through the canyon. A closer view reveals the fish in its talons.

The other side of the canyon is accessible from the Canyon-Tower road. From here we can look across to see hikers on the trail we had just taken, walking above the basalt columns. From this side, a viewing platform provides an excellent view of The Narrows.

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Text and images Copyright © 2003, F D Wilson

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