Uncle Tom’s Trail, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA

Uncle Tom’s Trail is a steep stairway descent from the south rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone to a viewpoint near the base of the Lower Yellowstone Falls in Yellowstone National Park. The trail was constructed in 1898 by park concessionaire, “Uncle Tom” H. F. Richardson when the Department of the Interior granted Richardson a permit to operate a ferry across the Yellowstone River. He ferried park visitors across the Yellowstone River above the current site of the Chittenden Memorial Bridge then escorted them to the trail and they traveled down to the base of the Lower Falls via ladders and ropes. Upon their return, visitors were provided a picnic lunch on the south rim of the canyon before returning via the ferry. In 1903 when the original Chittenden Bridge was built, Richardson’s ferry business began to decline. In 1905, when the government built a wooden stairway, visitors were increasingly unwilling to pay Richardson the $1 fee for the tour to the base of the falls. 1906 was the last year he operated tours in the canyon.

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