The Yellowstone River Overlook trail, beginning at the Yellowstone Picnic Area, as written here is a 1.8-mile out-and-back hike to the observation overlook of the Yellowstone River deep in the canyon below. Note: If you continue past the observation overlook .2 miles you will connect with the Specimen Ridge trail and could make it a round trip back to the Specimen Ridge Trailhead (3.2 miles total) if desired, or continue on the Specimen Ridge Trail to its terminal end in Lamar Valley about 17 miles in total.
The trail begins with a relatively short upward climb to the top of the ridge where the trail levels out and then is mostly a very slight upward trek that parallels the Yellowstone River seen far below in the canyon and many different views of the unique geology of the canyon walls. A little over a mile into the hike you can look across the canyon and see the wood fencing of the Calcite Springs Overlook area and shortly thereafter the Grand Loop Road of Tower to Canyon and Tower Fall/General Store area.
When you finally arrive at the Yellowstone River Overlook, down below you see the beautiful Yellowstone River flowing gently through the valley before it enters the narrowed part of the canyon where it picks up steam and rapidly becomes white water rapids as it disappears round a corner. You can also see Tower Creek flowing into the river.