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The Canyon Area
    The Yellowstone River flows more or less north through the park A section of it's flowage produces the awesome Canyon area. This area begins roughly at the lower falls, and continues on for some miles until the Tower Falls. For years, most people, and many guide books, credited the yellow rock of the canyon area for giving the river, and the park their names. However, this can not be true. The park was certainly named after the river that flows through it, but what was the river named after? The Yellowstone River was discovered, and named, many years before the park area was ever visited. There are references to at, as a tributary of the missouri, as far back as the late 1700's.
    Though the origin of the name of the Yellowstone River is a matter of some dispute, there are two main explanations. The first is simply that the bluffs along the river near modern Billings Montana are composed of yellow stone, and that this is where Europeans first discovered and named the river. The other explanation is that the Indian name for the Yellowstone River (the Elk River) was mistranslated by French trappers yellow rock rather than the similar sounding Indian word for elk. Whatever the reason, both names turned out to be quite appropriate, as there is no shortage of either yellow stone, or elk in the park.
    The river starts way back at Yellowstone Lake, and eventually flows into the Missouri. At just over 540 miles in length, it is the longest undammed river in the United States. In the middle to late part of the 19th century, riverboat captains used to come up the Yellowstone, though they never made it up this far.

A notch in the sharp edged formations which line the canyon. many people, and many guide books credit these formations with giving name to the Yellowstone Park, and to the Yellowstone River. In point of fact, the Park was named after the River, and the river was discovered much earlier, and was named after another group of rock formations

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