Visiting Yellowstone National Park, day 3

Today we will focus solely on geysers and hot springs while visiting Yellowstone National Park. We are going to visit Lower Geyser Basin, Midway Geyser Basin, Biscuit Basin, Black Basin and Upper Geyser Basin.

You can find the first two days of visiting Yellowstone here:

Visiting Yellowstone National Park – day 1

Visiting Yellowstone National Park – day 2

We are now heading south through the western part of the Grand Loop Road. The Fountain Paint Pots Trail will be our first stop of the day.

Lower Geyser Basin

 

Fountain Paint Pots Trail

 

To go through the entire loop around Paint Pots we will have to walk 0.6 miles (1 km). First on our list is the Celestine Pool Geyser. It has an exceptionally intensive color, which is a result of high temperatures inside the geyser. The water temperatures in the Celestine Pool exceeds boiling. Unfortunately in 1981 a tourist boiled to death here, as he was trying to save a dog that had fallen into the water.

Further down the walkway the Silex Spring awaits. This is a beautiful pastel-blue spring, with water constantly flowing out of it, and the bacteria inhabiting it create amazing long yellow-orange stripes.

The Leather Pool also deserves your attention. Once sapphire-blue, today it is colorful, as the water had cooled down, and thus made it possible for the bacteria to live there. Before the earthquake of 1956 the pool was also colorful, but the water warmed up later, killing the bacteria and changing the color of the lake. Today the pool is colorful once again, what is a testimony to the fact, that Yellowstone is an ever-changing and evolving landscape.

Fountain Geyser, not to be confused with the Great Fountain Geyser, is another one along our way. It is hard to predict its eruptions, as it goes off every 4 to 15 hours, but when it finally does erupt, the water spills literally in all directions, which is incredibly spectacular. The water can reach up to 79 feet (24 m) high.

Right next to it the Clepsydra Geyser is located. It is a picturesque colorful geyser, and what is more it is really tourist-friendly, as it is basically active all the time and constantly erupts. It calms down only when his neighbor – the Fountain Geyser – is about to erupt.

Fountain Paint Pots is a highly active area, you can be basically sure that you will witness an eruption during you visit. There is a plethora of larger and smaller geysers, hot springs and fumaroles, something constantly erupts, boils and hisses here. If you do not stop and wait for an eruption of a specific geyser, then the entire walk should take you approximately 30 minutes.

yellowstone
source: NPS

Firehole Lake Drive

Now we drive further down the Grand Loop Road and after 1,1 miles we turn left onto the Firehole Lake Drive. This is a one way road which is 3 miles long and will take you to amazing springs and geysers.

The first spring that we will visit is the Firehole Spring.  There are both a parking and a viewing point there. Firehole Spring is very colorful, and the bacteria in the water flowing out create amazing colorful patterns around it. This place is definitely worth a stop.

Literally a dozen feet further we have the Surprise Pool, a pool with exceptionally dark shade of blue.

Just around the corner the Great Fountain Geyser awaits. It is one of the most beautiful and spectacularly erupting geysers in entire Yellowstone. There are terraces similar to those in Mommoth Hot Springs around. They entwine our geyser, which erupts to the height of 220 feet (68 m). Unfortunately it goes off very rarely, and you have to wait 9 to 15 hours. But when it does erupt it throws water cascades into the air for over an hour, and sometimes even up to 2 hours. The eruption usually consists of several eruptions, with a couple minutes long intervals between them.

Now we reach the White Dome Geyser. It is a massive geyser that can be seen from afar, its cone is over 13 feet (4 m) tall and it is one of the largest geysers in the park. It is also very tourist-friendly, erupting every 20-30 minutes. The water thrown into the air reaches 30 feet (9 m) high.

The Pink Cone Geyser is our next stop. Just as the name suggests its cone is pink, which is caused by magnesium and iron oxides. Its shape is also very interesting and eruptions are exceptionally pretty, but sadly also very rare. Pink Cone Geyser goes off every 18 to 25 hours, but the eruption lasts from 1,5 to 2 hours.

The Firehole Lake itself with the neighboring Hot Lake are our final stops along the Firehole Lake Drive.  Both have a rusty color, as a result of thermophilic bacteria activity.

Midway Geyser Basin

After leaving the Firehole Lake Drive we have only 2 more miles to drive to the Midway Basin, and to the one of the most amazing natural wonders in the world – the Grand Prismatic Spring.

The parking at the Midway Geyser Basin is fairly large, but it is not easy to find a parking spot. If you do not find one, just make another pass around the parking lot, the rotation of cars is big here, and at some point you will find a place.

After a successful parking spot hunt, we go to the other side of the Firehole River and begin our walk on wooden walkways. To the right just behind the entrance you will see the Excelsior Geyser, or rather what’s left of it after the eruption of 1880. It used to be the largest geyser in the world with eruptions reaching 310 feet (94 m) high. The powerful eruptions finally blew the geyser and its underground system into pieces and left a colorful spring in its place, from which water constantly pours.

Slightly further to the right we have the Turquoise Pool. Its name comes from the beautiful oval shape resembling a gem, and its blue water with a milky tint. The mineral particles in the water are responsible for that. They also cause opalization of the pool. Those visiting at the beginning of summer can see blooming purple flowers growing around.

Right next there is the Opal Pool, similar to the Turquoise Pool, but a lot smaller.

Grand Prismatic Spring

And finally it is time for the famous Grand Prismatic Spring. This is the third largest thermal spring in the world, and certainly one of the most amazing places on our globe. Unfortunately you are most likely to be disappointed. Please believe me, you won’t see much from the walkways around the spring. When we arrived here for the first time we struggled to see anything, as the vapor obstructed the view. The case with the Grand Prismatic is kind of similar to the one with the Nasca petroglyphs – they are visible from above. Disappointed by the view I started looking around for a hill or something. An there it is! It is not too close to the lake and at the other side, but still, it exists!

A quick order to get to the cars and both of our vehicles headed for the hill, searching for a spot to park. We recalled that at the other side of the lake there is a trail leading to Fairy Falls with a small parking. To get there you have to drive 1.6 miles from the Grand Prismatic parking, but we managed to get there and find a place to park. We set off in search for a way up the hill. Taking the Fairy Falls trail we moved towards it. After about 1.2 miles (2 km) we realized that we are about in line with the spring and started going uphill.

We swiftly discovered a net of paths and footprints on the hillslope, indicating that we were not the only ones to try this hill out. The climb was hard, we kept sliding back on a steep sandy slope, and downed trees kept blocking our way. Some of them were so big that we barely managed to go over them. By this time we were all covered in black volcanic dirt, and my husband ripped his pants on some tree branch,  which were ironically advertised by the producer as indestructible.

But it was worth it! Halfway up the hill we already had an amazing view, slightly obstructed by trees, but we didn’t really care. We could finally see the spring, its crazy colors and orange stripes crawling out of it. If you want to see a million dollar view – this is it!

My son climbed to the top of the hill (we were satisfied by ¾ way up) and brought us fantastic pictures of the spring, which from this perspective looks like a monster from outer space, crawling through a grey wasteland.

When we made our way down we were in the center of attention among other tourists, as we were all dirty and my husband with his ripped pants, looked as if he had been fighting with a bear. The 7 of us looked clearly different from the other clean hikers of various nationalities.

From that day onwards we always climbed this hill, avoiding the wooden walkways around the spring.

 

yellowstone
Prismatics Spring from above
yellowstone
Our crew on the hillslope
yellowstone
Prismatic Spring from the hilltop

 

The situation changed drastically in 2017. The park decided to build a dedicated viewing platform, so that tourists could  finally see the spring. We were very excited to see how it turned out  and what the view would be. The trail to the platform leads through the same way that we took to climb the hill. The a large parking was added, where we immediately found a parking spot. So far so good. After around 0.8 miles (1 km) we noticed a paved path leading uphill. This can’t be! They paved the whole way up? But after a couple hundred feet it turned up not to be true. The viewing platform had been built on a fairly low elevation, which does give you some view of the spring, but not as good as it could have been, if the platform had been built higher. All the trees blocking the view have been removed, but it is still not it! We started looking for a way to go higher, but  our search was futile. The slope is now surrounded by wooden barriers and ditches dug in the ground. Too bad, we took some more pictures of the spring from the platform, all agreeing that the colors aren’t that spectacular from this height.

This platform may not be the best solution ever, but you definitely have to climb up there. What you will see is still overwhelmingly beautiful and it is a mandatory stop during a trip to Yellowstone.

 

yellowstone
Grand Prismatic Spring from the viewing platform

 

How come is the Grand Prismatic Spring so colorful?

Similarly to the smaller springs it is all due to bacterial activity. In the center the lake is blue, because it is incredibly hot 189oF (87oC), close to boiling, which makes it impossible for microorganisms to  reside there. Further away from the center the water gets cooler, and thus friendlier for the bacteria.

Cyanobacteria are responsible for the yellow ring around the spring. They usually create greenish-blue tint, because they contain chlorophyll, but those clever little guys produce a different dye – carotene, well known for residing inside carrots, which protects them from the very intensive solar radiation reflecting from the spring surface. The temperature in the yellow ring is around 165oF (74oC)

The next ring around the Grand Prismatic Spring is orange.  This is the ring which produces the orange stripes around the blue spring. Water here is around 149oF (65oC).

Further away from the spring we can find other types of bacteria that prefer lower temperatures. There are microorganisms producing carotenoids generating the red-brown and burgundy colors in the 131oF (55oC) water. The environment is a lot less harmful here, so there is more bacteria, and the colors become darker.

The colors of Yellowstone are defined by various life forms that have settled here. The colors are constantly changing. If for example the water becomes to hot, the bacteria die out and the colors vanish. When it cools back down, life returns to the water and so do the colors. The Grand Prismatic Spring itself is a little bit less colorful in winter, as there is less solar radiation, so the bacteria produce less carotenoids.

Fairy Falls

After finishing  gazing at the amazing Grand Prismatic Spring we can walk further along this trail to the Fairy Falls. This is a very tall waterfall, the water falls from 200 feet (61 m) above. From  the viewing platform you will have to walk around 4.7 miles (7,5 km) both ways. The trail is very easy. Despite its height the waterfall is not that spectacular, as larger amounts of water flow through it only in spring. If you want you can go additional 1.2 miles (2 km) and reach the Sprey Geyser and the Imperial Geyser. The first one goes off almost all the time with a couple minute pauses between eruptions. However, they are not too gorgeous with water reaching not higher than 6 feet (2 m). Imperial Geyser is currently only a hot spring which occasionally bubbles. Recently a new outlet appeared next to it and it was christened the New Imperial Geyser. This one also erupts almost all the time with water reaching 50 feet (15 m) up. Important: you should not go to the Fairy Falls if you have only 3 days or less for sightseeing Yellowstone. These falls will not fit in a 3 day visit plan.

Upper Geyser Basin

Upper Geyser Basin – the kingdom of geysers, is going to be our next stop. Here you will find more than 300 geysers, as this area is the largest geyser concentration in the world. We first head to the Old Faithful Village, from where we will begin our sightseeing.

You will always find a parking spot at the huge parking lot, but usually the spot will be quite a walk away. Driving around in hope of finding a closer parking place is useless. Many people come up with this idea and they often block the road. It will always be quicker to go by foot.

How to watch the geysers in Yellowstone?

The geysers themselves, unless they erupt, are nothing interesting – just a hole in the ground decorated by a cone. But this is not what we are after, we want to see them erupt. This is why geyser gazing is time-consuming, and requires cleverness, predicting skills, the ability to count and lastly – running skills.

There are two kinds of geysers – the predictable and the unpredictable ones. The first ones have a fairly precisely set times of eruptions. The other ones go off whenever they please. What is surprising, there is more of the predictable ones. But watching a geyser erupting every 1, 2 or 3 hours is a piece of cake. The ones that erupt every 15 hours require some luck.

How to be there in the right time for the eruption? The estimated hours of eruptions of some of the 300 geysers are given by the Old Faithful Visitor Center. It is worth to come in here after successfully parking. On a special board you will find predicted eruption times for the following geysers: Old Faithful, Daisy, Grand, Castle, Riverside and Great Fountain. Now all that we have left to do is prepare a sightseeing plan. Sometimes two geysers erupt at the same time. In that case you will have to choose the one which goes off less frequently and estimate the next eruption of the second one.

What will foreshadow a coming eruption? If you can see from afar, that steam starts rising from a geyser, it is worth checking out. Such vaporing can last for about 15-30 minutes, but after that there is usually an eruption. There is also a chance that nothing will happen, even though we stood there foolishly for 30 minutes. This is a risk that you will have to accept, so it is good to have at least half a day reserved for the Upper Geyser Basin.

Geyser eruptions usually last a couple minutes, sometimes more. Having some sprinting skills and mastering the phrase “get out of my way” in multiple languages will increase your chances of witnessing and eruption. Naturally, the geysers next to which we stood a second ago tend to erupt just as we walk away. Apparently the area is run by a malicious algorithm, which takes our current GPS location into consideration. 😉

The walk through the Upper Geyser Basin with all the important stops included is around 3.7 miles (6 km) long (without the Observation point 2.4 miles). The walk leads mostly on wooden walkways looping around the key attractions.

Old Faithful

As I mentioned earlier, you should first head to the Visitor Center, to get to know the predicted eruption times. Almost certainly the Old Faithful is going to be the first one to go off, as it erupts the most frequently. The park states on its website, that it erupts every 60-100 minutes, but I witnessed eruptions every 60 minutes, give or take additional 10 minutes. But if the eruption lasts longer than the usual 2.5 minutes, the geyser can then be late even half an hour.

You can sit on a bench in front of the geyser as if it was a showroom. If you have children or if you are not too tall, I recommend to secure places in the first row. In order to find such a spot you will have to arrive there 30 minutes prior to the eruption. This time will not be lost, as you can use it to consume your lunch. You can be absolutely certain that there will be some people that will seat just in front of you on the grass. There would be nothing wrong with that if they didn’t stand up to take pictures of the eruption and block the view for others. After a couple of such experiences we developed some countermeasures. We placed all of our belongings in front of us: backpacks, coats and bags. You can even bring something from your car which is standing nearby on the parking lot. This will make those people sit next to, and not in front of you, at least not block the view for you.

As I mentioned, the eruption usually lasts around 2.5 minutes, but it sometimes stretches to 5 minutes. The geyser shoots water up to 131 feet (40 m) but there were 183 feet (56 m) eruptions. The water has 204oF (96oC).

 

yellowstone
Old Faithful druing eruption
yellowstone
Old Faithful
yellowstone
Old Faithful

 

Observation Point

The  Observation Point is an excellent spot for watching the Old Faithful erupt. The trail to the point is 1.5 miles (2,4 km) long both ways. Next to the Old Faithful there is a metal bridge over the Firehole River. Right behind the bridge you have to turn left and go up.  You will have to go up beating 262 feet (80 m) of elevation change. From the top of the hill you will have an amazing view with no one blocking it. But you have to remember to set out early enough so that you get there in time for the eruption.

Going further down this path you will reach the Solitary Geyser. The path slowly goes down. After 2000 feet (600 m) of walking through a pine forest  we arrive at our geyser. It is incredibly colorful. The blue lake is surrounded by orange stripes reaching the end of the hill. It does not go off magnificently, at most a few meters up, but very frequently, every 4-8 minutes, and what is more in an amazing leafy scenery.

The whole trip to the hill, without waiting for the Old Faithful to erupt, will take you approximately 45 minutes. If you are running short on time you should focus on the lower part of the Upper Geyser Basin, but the view from here is breathtaking.

Geyser Hill

Now we will begin sightseeing the Geyser Hill (if you have been to the Observation Point you will descend from the hill right here).

The Giantes Geyser is the first one along our way. It is one of the mightiest geysers, as its eruptions reach up to 200 feet (61 m) high. Unfortunately it goes off very rarely and irregularly. Sometimes 6 times a year, sometimes 4 or 2 or not at all for 2 years in a row. But when it does go off the eruption lasts 4 hours, sometimes stretching out to 2 days without a pause. The water thrown into the air is 194oF (90oC). There is a slight shake to the ground that resembles an earthquake foreshadowing an eruption. Naturally this shaking can also foreshadow a real earthquake.

Going further we pass the Teakettle Spring, a spring with boiling water, hence the tea lover friendly name.

 

yellowstone
Teakettle Spring

 

The Sponge Geyser is going to be the next stop. It bubbles more than it erupts. However, it is very active with water boiling every couple minutes and small eruptions that are a dozen inches high. This is one of the oldest geysers in Yellowstone and its cone is slowly becoming a subject to erosion.

 

yellowstone
Sponge Geyser

 

Further we pass the Doublet Pool, a hot spring consisting of two connected pools. It is one of the most popular subjects to photograph in Yellowstone. The pool is light-blue with deep blue center and travertine terrace encircling it.

 

yellowstone
Doublet Pool

 

Now it is time for the Aurum Geyser, which erupts 23 feet (7 m) high. Unfortunately it is incredibly hard to predict an eruption. But there is a certain correlation that has been noticed. If the meadow around the geyser is wet, the geyser erupts every 3-4 hours.  When it dries out in summer the eruptions are unpredictable, but usually 4-7 hours apart.

 

yellowstone
Aurum Geyser

 

Doing a loop we reach the Lion Group. This is a group of 4 geysers that are connected underground. Those are the Lion Geyser, Lioness Geyser, Big Cub and Little Cub Geysers. Lion is the largest one. Its name comes from the  roaring sound that precedes its eruption. It erupts 88 feet (27 m) high and an eruption can last up to 7 minutes. However, usually they are 1-4 minutes long. It is very scenic, but also unpredictable, going off every 6 to 50 hours. The Little Cup is also active, erupting every 30-90 minutes with water reaching 10 feet (3 m) high.

 

yellowstone
Lion Geyser

 

Right after Lion Group we reach the Heart Pool. It is a small, but very picturesque pool in the shape of a heart.

 

Heart Pool

 

Now we are approaching the beautiful Beehive Geyser with an exceptionally spectacular eruption. The water reaches up to 180 feet (55 m). Beehive erupts 2 times a day and you can get estimated eruption times in the Visitor Center.

 

Beehive Geyser

 

At the end of the loop we reach the Plume Geyser, which erupts every 20 minutes. But it has phases during which it remains totally inactive. Those phases can last up to a few weeks. When it erupts it throws water 26 feet (8 m) high.

Castle-Grand Area

Further down the river we reach the Sawmill Geyser. This unpredictable geyser goes off every 1-3 hours and the eruptions last approx. 4 minutes. But there have been eruptions lasting over 4 hours. We have visited the Upper Basin 3 times alread. Every time we witnessed and eruption that kept on going the whole time we were there.

 

yellowstone
Sawmill Geyser, Castle Geyser erupting in the background

 

We continue straight forward avoiding a left turn. We will come here through a different path on our way back. We reach the Spasmodic Geyser, which erupts simultaneously from two outlets every 1-3 hours. The geyser shoots water 13 feet (4 m) high.

 

yellowstone
Spasmodic Geyser

 

Going further we pass the Belgian Pool – one of the pretties ones int the Upper Basin. I honestly thought that the name comes from some Belgian chocolates. It is candy-cute and beautiful.  Unfortunately it comes from a Belgian tourist who fell into it and died as a result of the burns.

 

yellowstone
Belgian Pool

The Grand Geyser is next along our way. This is one of the highest erupting geysers in the US, with water reaching 200 feet (61 m) high. It erupts every 6-15 hours, but usually the breaks between eruptions are 7-8 hours long. You can receive the estimated eruption time in the Visitor Center. The geysers usually has a couple of eruptions and after a 5 minute pause the largest one happens. It is worth staying and waiting a little bit afterwards to make sure that that is really it. Grand Geyser is really a crater filled with water. When the water starts to pour out, it is a sign that an eruption is imminent.

Next to the Grand Geyser there are the Vent and Turban Geysers. They are connected to the Grand Geyser and usually go off just before or right after it. Sometimes all 3 of them erupt at the same time.

 

yellowstone
Vent i Turban Geyser, Grand Geyser in the foreground

 

The Crested Pool and the Castle Geyser are also assigned to this area, but we will visit them on our way back without beating unnecessary distances. Now we go straight forward.

 

yellowstone
source: NPS

 

Giant-Grotto Group

There are two beautiful pools ahead of us – Beauty and Chromatic Pool, both in the colors of a rainbow.

 

yellowstone
Chromatic Pool
yellowstone
Beauty Pool

 

After crossing the river you will reach the Giant Geyser. This massive geyser erupts 180-246 feet (55-75 m) high and is the second highest erupting geyser in the world. The eruption unfortunately cannot be foreseen, they sometimes  occur a couple times a month or even a year, and sometimes not at  all for a few years. But when it does go off the eruption lasts an hour throwing almost 4 million liters of water into the air. For comparison – Old Faithful throws only 40 thousand liters.

 

yellowstone
Giant Geyser

 

Now we reach the Grotto Geyser. Its amazing shape is a result of tree trunks that crystalized and were covered in travertine inside the geyser. Grotto Geyser erupts every 8 hours, usually together with the neighboring Rocket Geyser. The eruptions are not too high, but very spectacular and long lasting –  they can go on for an hour. We stood in front of it for half an hour and it kept on erupting. It still kept going off as we left it alone.

 

yellowstone
Grotto Geyser during eruption

 

Morning  Glory-Riverside Area

Going further we turn right and reach the Riverside Geyser. It is an amazingly located geyser, right at the river bank. It usually erupts every 5.5-6.5 hours with water reaching 75 feet (23 m) high. The eruption usually lasts 20 minutes.

Right behind the bridge, at the other side of the river, the Fan and Mortar Geysers are located.  They usually erupt at the same time, but they are also both very unpredictable, as eruptions sometimes happen a few weeks or months apart. Mortar erupts 82 feet (25 m), and Fan 131 feet (40 m) high.

At the end of the trail the Morning Glory awaits, one of the biggest attractions in Yellowstone. At the end of the XIX century it used to have a dark blue color and that is why it was named Morning Glory. Now the sapphire blue color disappeared. The water temperature decreased and the pool got colonized by various bacteria. Why did the temperature go down? Because tourists kept throwing coins into the pool, some even threw litter. Finally the water outlet got blocked and the hot water stopped pouring intensively into the pool, thus leaving the pool cooler.

 

yellowstone
Morning Glory

 

There is a trail to the Biscuit Basin leading from the Morning Glory. In my opinion it is faster to get there by car, and time is precious in Yellowstone. That is why we will go there later.

There is a paved trail from the Morning Glory which will take you back to the Old Faithful and the parking where you left your car.

Daisy Group

On our way back we reach a group of 3 geysers.  Daisy Geyser was the friendliest one, as it goes off frequently, and the eruptions are easy to predict. They happen every 2-4 hours, and the Visitor Center will inform you about the closest one.  Daisy throws water into the air at an angle and it reaches 75 feet (23 m) high. The eruption lasts about 4-5 minutes.

The Splendid Geyser is located right next to Daisy. It is one of the highest erupting geysers in Yellowstone, with water reaching 196 feet (60 m) high. It erupts very rarely, a few times a year, and sometimes even less frequently. It erupts most frequently when the pressure goes down during a storm. Sometimes Daisy and Splendid go off at the same time, giving an amazing spectacle.

There is also the Comet Geyser located nearby. It is active almost non-stop, it keeps bubbling and throwing water a couple dozen inches high.

You can reach the Black Sand Basin by foot from Daisy Group, but I suggest getting there by car.

Going further we take a left towards the Crested Pool. This is a beautiful blue pool surrounded by orange stripes. There is water constantly pouring out of the pool, building a light travertine envelope. Please remember not to step off from  the walkways and not to approach the pools! This beauty is tempting and encourages to come closer to take a photo, but the ground is very slippery and it is easy for an accident to happen. A 9 year old girl fell into the Crested Pool. She slipped and then died, all in front of her parents’ eyes.

 

yellowstone
Crested Pool

 

We head back to the main trail and reach the Castle Geyser. It is one of the oldest geysers in Yellowstone, it can be over 15 000 years  old. It erupts every 10-12 hours, and the eruption lasts 20 minutes. Water shoots over 65 feet (20 m) high.

 

yellowstone
Castle Geyser

 

This is almost the end, we are now back at the parking. You can now also head towards the river to see the Blue Star Spring, one of the prettiest springs in Yellowstone. There is no boiling water in it, but it still managed to kill a little buffalo, which fell inside of it. Up to this day if you look closely, you can spot the skull and bones at the bottom.

 

yellowstone
Blue Star Spring

 

yellowstone
source: NPS

 

Tu znajdziecie przewidywaną godzinę erupcji najważniejszych gejzerów w Yellowstone wraz z gejzerami, o których nie ma informacji w visitor center:

Here you can find  the predicted eruption times of the most important geysers not listed in the visitor center:

http://www.rcn.montana.edu/resources/Predictions.aspx

Black Sand Basin

We now enter the car and head towards the Black Sand Basin, one of my favorite spots in Yellowstone.

Straight from the parking lot on the left you will see the Opalescent Pool. The ground around it is covered in travertine, which trapped the dead trees inside, which creates a fantastic contrast with the blue of the pool.

 

yellowstone
Opalescent Pool

 

Further on the same trail there is the Spouter Geyser, boiling and erupting almost all the time. It thrown water 6 feet (2 m) high.

 

yellowstone
Spouter Geyser

 

Cliff Geyser is located next to the same river, with its eruptions reaching 40 feet (12 m) high. They look incredibly with the dark sapphire river in the background Unfortunately they are irregular, every 30 minutes to 18 hours.

 

yellowstone
Cliff Geyser

 

Now we turn right and reach two amazingly colorful lakes Rainbow and Sunset Lakes.

 

yellowstone
Sunset Lake

 

On our way back we turn left to the Emerald Pool. This spectacular pool has deep green color and is surrounded by a golden ring, giving it a look of a star.

 

yellowstone
Emerald Lake

 

Biscuit Basin

Our next and the last stop for the day is going to be the Biscuit Basin. We are now slowly heading towards West Yellowstone, where we will finish our sightseeing.

Biscuit Basin is a 15 minute walk. The Sapphire Pool, a deep and blue pool deservers the most attention here.

 

yellowstone
Black Opal Pool
yellowstone
Sapphire Pool

 

You will also see the Shell Geyser along your way, and it does really look like a shell, together with the Mustard Spring. It does not look like mustard, but at least it has a similar color.

Between those two there is a little gem – the Avoca Spring.

 

yellowstone
Shell Geyser
yellowstone
Mustard Spring
yellowstone
Avoca Spring
yellowstone
Jewel Geyser

 

From Biscuit  Basin you can set off on a 3.5 mile (5,5 km) both ways trail to the Mystic Falls. It is a beautiful walk along the river to a waterfall flowing though a number of cascades from the Firehole River Canyon walls. This trail is possible to take only for those with more than 3 days predicted for sightseeing.

What should I see, if I have only 2 days for Yellowstone?

Day 1:

  • Mommoth Hot Springs
  • Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Artist View, Brink of Upper Falls, Grand View, Inspiration Point
  • way back along the southern loop to take a peak at the Yellowstone Lake

Day 2:

  • Lower Geyser Basin
  • Midway Geyser Basin
  • Upper Geyser Basin

If you plan on staying more than 3 day, you should definately go and visit the Union Falls, the second tallest waterfall in the park. The walk there is long, but you will not meeet a single person there. Doesn’t that sound like a beginning of an amazing adventure? 🙂

Detailed information about the Union Falls Trail can be found here (currently only in polish):

Szlak do Union Falls, Yellowstone




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *