Visiting Yellowstone National Park, day 3

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.


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.


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.


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.


Blue Star Spring


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:

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.


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.


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.


Cliff Geyser


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


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.


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.


Black Opal Pool
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.


Shell Geyser
Mustard Spring
Avoca Spring
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

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