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Obsidian Cliff: Yellowstone What to See

If it’s your first trip to Yellowstone National Park, make sure you take time to see the magnificent, natural attraction Obsidian Cliff. Of the best sights to see in Yellowstone this amazing sight will only take a small chunk of time out of your busy sightseeing day.

The natural wonder played a big role in the history of the park, however.

Obsidian Cliff today just looks like a towering hill that’s mostly covered with pine trees. But the Native American tribes that once called Yellowstone home, and the prehistoric people before them, relied upon its hard, obsidian rock to make arrowheads, spearheads, and knife blades. Now mere artifacts to us, these useful tools aided in the survival of Yellowstone’s first residents.

Obsidian Cliff is about 180,000 years old, formed from a rhyolite lava flow, and stretches upward for an impressive 200 feet above Obsidian Creek. It’s noted for its abundance of obsidian rock, or dark-colored, volcanic glass. On a bright, sunny day, the light reflects off Obsidian Cliff like a mirror.

Obsidian Cliff stands approximately 13 miles south of Yellowstone’s famous Mammoth Hot Springs. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places and there’s a kiosk located just north of the natural wonder to fill you in on its historical significance. It should be noted, however, that while Obsidian Cliff is an intriguing site to behold on a sunny day, hiking on the cliff or carrying pieces of obsidian away from it are prohibited. Obsidian Cliff is an observable attraction only, but it’s one you should take time to see the next time you’re visiting Yellowstone National Park.

Remember to book your next Yellowstone tour with Scenic Safaris if you want to see some of the more interesting attractions of the area. Our tours are always led by experienced and knowledgeable guides who offer the best commentary on sites such as Obsidian Cliff.