Exploring Yellowstone – More Geysers and Mudpots

Gardiner, MT

This morning we left early to try to beat some of the crowds and visit the Norris Geyser Basin.   The Norris Geyser Basin is one of the hottest and most dynamic of Yellowstone’s hydrothermal areas.  It is a very popular site in the park and parking is at a premium, so we wanted to get there early.

The Norris area is divided into two distinct sections, Porcelain Basin and Back Basin.  We toured Porcelain Basin first.

Porcelain Basin

Silica causes a milky blue color

Ledge Geyser

Constant Geyser

An interesting site is Porkchop Geyser.  It was a quiet pool shaped like a porkchop until 1971, when it began to erupt constantly.

Porkchop in the 1970s

In 1989 Porkchop suddenly blew up, throwing large rocks into the sky.

Rockpile that is Porkchop Geyser

Below is Blue Mud Steam Vent.  It’s kind of eerie as there is no water in it.  There is just steam that is venting accompanied by loud strange noises.

Blue Mud Steam Vent

One of many clear steam pools

After touring the Norris Basin we moved south about twenty miles to Midway Geyser Basin to see one of the most beautiful sites in the park, Grand Prismatic Spring.

The Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest hot spring in the United States, and the third largest in the world.  Grand Prismatic Spring was noted by geologists working in the Hayden Geological Survey of 1871, and named by them for its striking coloration. Its colors include blue, green, yellow, orange, red and brown are stunning.

We later moved south about a mile to hike the Fairy Falls Trail.  Along the trail we could see the Grand Prismatic Spring on our right as we passed a hillside on our left.  So we climbed the hillside (in the background in the picture above) and were treated to a great view of the spring.

Grand Prismatic Spring

Along the walkway to the Grand prismatic Spring you pass Excelsior Geyser Crater.  The crater was created by a massive geyser explosion and contains beautiful clear blue water.  It is constantly covered with steam and has mild eruptions in it’s center.

Excelsior Geyser Crater

As you go from the parking lot to Excelsior Geyser and Prismatic Spring you cross the Firehole River.  As the water from the geyser and spring flow to the river you see some fantastic colors.

After the geysers, we took a 52 mile hike up to the Fairy Falls.  The hike was relatively easy, passing through rolling forest.  Oh, just noticed a missing decimal point.  Make that a 5.2 mile hike, sorry.

Fairy Falls

Young explorers seen at Fairy Falls

We cut our hike a bit shorter than planned, as thunderstorms were all around us.  As we hiked back we could see rain on the hillside nearby.

Across the road we could see a hill where the sun was shining on one side and rain was falling on the other.

After a long day of exploring, we returned to the motorhome two tired hikers.  One of us has a large blister on her foot (oops, now you know who) so hiking may be limited tomorrow, our last day near Yellowstone.  More on that later . . .


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5 Responses to Exploring Yellowstone – More Geysers and Mudpots

  1. Marsha says:

    Totally forgot about Porkchop Geyser. What a amazing story.
    Grand Prismatic Spring ….. GORGEOUS! Look at that photo with the reflection of the clouds…WOW!!!
    Isn’t Excelsior Geyser Crater amazing. Carrie and I just stood there in amazement. We couldn’t get over how clear and how many shades of blue we saw.
    We actually missed Fairy Falls. Glad you made the 52 mile walk…I mean 5.2. Thanks for sharing that one. How we missed it is beyond me!
    Lovely young couple you met up with. Isn’t it nice to be with young people?
    EGADS…so glad you got out of there. The photos are awesome but don’t get caught in that rain!
    More great photos…love them!

    Blisters…not the young couple…surely!

  2. Deb says:

    The colors are wonderful, and the geysers… are fascinating. But, what I like most is the sky in the pictures. I am completely enthralled by the western sky. The blue is so blue and those massive clouds look like they are hanging so much lower than here in the east. And totally missing is the haze. It always reminds me of the skies in childhood westerns.

    I’m glad you found that missing decimal point. Otherwise there would be much more than blisters!

  3. WOW! that’s all I can say.

  4. Riozz says:

    Hello from Indonesia, John & Pam!
    Thanks for the information about hydrothermal eruption. It helps my assignments on geothermal energy’s hazards. Hope someday I’ll be visiting the Yellowstone to see the evidences of geothermal activities.

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