The Essential Guide to Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone


Grand Prismatic Spring is Yellowstone’s star attraction. It attracts crowds from all over the world to marvel on the vibrant colours of the most important sizzling spring within the United States. It’s a straightforward place to go to when driving across the Grand Loop Road of Yellowstone National Park however there are some tricks to make your expertise at Grand Prismatic extra spectacular than merely pulling off and strolling across the boardwalk.

How to Visit Grand Prismatic

Are you prepared to go to Yellowstone’s most colourful sizzling spring? Let’s go!

If you wish to have one of the best go to to Grand Prismatic Spring, learn on to search out out all of our suggestions and data to get one of the best views, be taught when essentially the most optimum time to go to is, and reply some other questions you’ve gotten about visiting Grand Prismatic Spring.

Where is Grand Prismatic Spring

How to visit Grand Prismatic Spring Location midway geyser basin map

Grand Prismatic Spring is situated in Midway Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park. It sits south of Madison Junction and north of Old Faithful alongside the Firehole River. It was named in 1871 by the Hayden Expedition after seeing it kaleidoscopic colours pop from the earth’s floor.

Midway Geyser Basin consists of exceptional prismatic springs together with additionally Excelsior Geyser, and Opal Pool. When you go to Yellowstone, you need to not miss seeing the pure wonders of Midway Geyser Basin. It’s essentially the most photographed thermal function within the park.

How to visit Grand Prismatic Spring Firehole River

There is a big parking zone for Midway Geyser Basin, however it’s typically full and many individuals park on the facet of the highway. When we parked right here we joined the queue of automobiles making their strategy to the parking zone. At first, we thought we made the mistaken resolution, however we had been solely in line for about 20 minutes.

It in all probability would have taken us 10 – 20 minutes to stroll from the highway, so It wasn’t too dangerous. Plus it was good to be near the new spring once we completed so we might transfer on to Old Faithful and the Upper Geyser Basin earlier than later.

From the parking zone, you’ll comply with the boardwalk that leads throughout Firehole River and takes you throughout Midway Geyser Basin. It is forbidden to stray from the trail. These geothermal options are very harmful and fragile.

When to Visit the Grand Prismatic Spring

When to visit Grand Prismatic Spring

The greatest time to go to Grand Prismatic Spring is between May and September. Narrowing it down additional, June to August can have much less steam and allow you to see the colours much more vividly. When the temperature is cooler, the fog actually builds up as the new steam mixes with the cool air. So heat days will naturally give higher views.

How to visit Grand Prismatic Spring for best colours

The greatest time of day to go to Grand Prismatic is between late morning and early afternoon when the solar is excessive. While crowds shall be fewer within the early morning or late afternoon, you need to go to Grand Prismatic when the solar is shining brilliant as a result of its rays actually deliver out the colours. Plus, the cooler temperatures of morning and afternoon create extra steam and also you gained’t have as away from a view.

You can go to it as early as April to November when the loop highway is open. Check the National Park’s web site for openings and highway circumstances.

We visited in September and felt that it will have been higher on a hotter day. The steam was thick because it blended with the cool autumn air. In the summer season months, when the air is sizzling, the steam is much less.

If you might be spending greater than at some point in Yellowstone National Park, select a day when the climate forecast is sunny and clear. We began our go to to Grand Prismatic on a sunny day, however when the clouds got here in and it began raining, we noticed the colours fade earlier than our eyes.

How to visit Grand Prismatic Spring in September

Luckily, it was a windy day and the climate handed shortly. We waited it out till the solar got here out from behind the clouds and noticed that lovely colourful view with our personal eyes.

Can you go to Grand Prismatic Spring in Winter?

During the winter months, the one entrance that is still open in Yellowstone is the North Entrance. The solely strategy to get round is through a snow coach or snowmobile. You can cross-country ski or snowshoe as nicely.

I’ve seen folks declare that they went to Grand Prismatic throughout winter, but it surely appears a bit difficult to have the ability to go to Grand Prismatic in winter. I did discover personal multi-day excursions that go to Grand Prismatic. It looks as if the common day excursions largely go to locations like Mammoth and Upper Geyser Basin.

However, it may be executed. In the winter, I might count on thick fog as the new water clashes with the freezing temperatures. This tour takes you on an 8-day winter journey by means of Yellowstone and from what I might see is among the few that goes to Grand Prismatic in winter.

What Causes the Colors of Grand Prismatic

How to visit Grand Prismatic Spring Cause of Colour

Grand Prismatic could also be stunning and tempting to the touch, however it is vitally fragile and harmful. This large sizzling spring is the most important within the United States and the third-largest sizzling spring on the earth. The different two are in New Zealand and Dominica in case you had been questioning. Frying Pan Lake in New Zealand and Boiling Lake in Dominica is bigger than Grand Prismatic Spring however they don’t maintain a candle to the great thing about Grand Prismatic.

In the middle of the spring, the water is 160 levels Fahrenheit (70C), and due to this excessive temperature not many issues (Even micro organism) can survive. That explains why the water is so clear. The gentle then scatters the blue wavelengths making it look a deep blue to the bare eye.

The colours of Grand Prismatic are comprised of micro organism microscopic organisms referred to as thermophiles (I discovered at Yellowstone that the title comes from the phrase, “thermo” that means warmth, and “phile” that means lover.) In essence, these tiny micro organism are warmth loving micro organism.

When tens of millions of those thermophiles huddle collectively they create a colourful spring of various hues of yellow, inexperienced and oragne. The shade of the bands depends upon the kind of thermophile and their tolerance for warmth. The completely different shade rings symbolize a distinct temperature, which attracts completely different organisms.

How to visit Grand Prismatic Spring Best Views

The inside band and most vivid blue waters of Grand Prismatic is the most well liked. Not many issues can survive in extraordinarily sizzling water explaining why its core is crystal clear. As it spreads to the outer bands the temperatures cool and completely different species of microorganisms dwell in numerous excessive temperatures of water creating completely different colours of yellow, and orange areas.

The yellow band consists of micro organism that thrive in temperatures at round 149 levels. The reds and rust colours are made up of a extra numerous micro organism thus creating completely different hues of orange and reds. It’s all way more scientific than my clarification, so as an alternative head over to the Smithsonian for a greater understanding.

What It’s Like to Visit Grand Prismatic Spring

midway geyser basin boardwalk
The orange and yellow rings actually stand out from the deep blue shade within the middle

We grabbed a parking spot near the doorway to Grand Prismatic. It was only a few steps from the parking zone till we had been on the boardwalk and strolling towards the well-known sizzling spring.

The boardwalk is even and straightforward to navigate and is lower than a mile lengthy. To be actual, it’s .8 of a mile (1.2 km) lengthy and also you stroll it in a clockwise route a technique. The boardwalk of Grand Prismatic is accessible for wheelchairs and strollers.

What we love about lots of Yellowstone’s sights is that they’re accessible. The boardwalk at Midway Geyser Basin is wheelchair accessible. There are not any railings on the trail although, so ensure that to maintain a maintain of your stroller or walker when strolling round Grand Prismatic.

midway geyser basin people on boardwalk

Even although it’s busy on the entrance, we didn’t really feel crowded throughout our go to. You can’t stroll off the designated path, so actually, we had unobstructed views of the world. If there was a cluster of individuals, we merely waited for them to maneuver on. Plus, when trying over from the opposite facet, it the folks actually helped to present scale to simply how large the mid-geyser basin is.

Other Hot Springs to See at Midway Geyser Basin

We spent about an hour strolling across the boardwalk of Midway Geyser Basin. It might simply be executed in half-hour, however this view is a once-in-a-lifetime expertise, so we took our time not solely finding out the jaw-dropping views of Grand Prismatic however the different geysers and sizzling springs as nicely.

Excelsior Geyser Crater

How to visit Grand Prismatic Spring Excelsior Geyser

The First Stop you’ll come to when strolling round Midway Geyser Basin is Excelsior Geyser. As we walked as much as the Excelsior Geyser a rush of steam hit our faces. The air was cool, however the steam was sizzling and we might really feel the waves of cold and hot air cross by means of. At occasions it was fairly thick and we might barely see, which made sense since Excelsior Geyser Crater discharges 4000 gallons (18,000 liters) of water per minute.

Combine the cool air with the warmth from Excelsior Geyser and you’ve got a wall of steam. Excelsior Geysers’ water temperature is a sizzling 99 levels Fahrenheit (93 Celcius)

Watch our video as we stroll by means of Midway Geyser Basin

things to do in Yellowstone National Park video
Click right here to see our stroll by means of Grand Prismatic

The teal blue water runs into the close by Firehole River creating blankets of steam alongside the riverbanks. Excelsior Geyser was an much more spectacular geyser than Old Faithful, but it surely had its final eruption within the 1800s the place it blew aside and left this large pool of water. It is now merely an enormous crater of effervescent sizzling water.

Grand Prismatic

How to visit midway geyser basin views from boardwalk

The subsequent cease alongside the boardwalk is to Grand Prismatic Spring itself. The stroll alongside the trail is attention-grabbing in its personal proper because it feels as whether it is floating above a white sea. The path then veers to snake alongside beside the huge sizzling spring. It is tough to essentially take within the scope of this large sizzling spring from right here.

It’s so large that it’s tough from this vantage level to take all of it in. It’s 200 ft (61 meters) throughout and you might be principally eye degree with it. We raised our palms and Gorilla pods as excessive as we might to get an outline shot of it. This is the busiest a part of the stroll and there are benches which we stood on (when no person was sitting on them after all) to get the next view. It nonetheless wasn’t excessive sufficient, however we’re going to point out you how you can see Grand Prismatic from above a bit farther down.

Opal Pool

How to visit midway geyser basin Opal Pool

From Grand Prismatic you’ll proceed on to Opal Pool. This is a small pool however it’s colourful. As one lady mentioned beside us, “Couldn’t I just take a photo of this and pretend it’s Grand Prismatic?” It does have the identical traits certainly. It is a really fairly pool that’s truly a geyser that erupts a few occasions a yr.

Turquoise Pool

How to visit midway geyser basin Turquoise Pool

And lastly, you’ll cross by Turquoise Pool. This spring is strictly what the title says. It’s a spring of clear turquoise water. If this had been in one other space of the park, it will appeal to a crowd however as a result of it’s proper beside these colourful springs, barely anybody stopped to take a look at it. But have a look at it up there, it’s beautiful!

Grand Prismatic Overlook

I do know that we advised you that we’d share how you can see Grand Prismatic from above, and a hike to the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook is the best way to see your complete Grand Prismatic Spring and Midway Geyser Basin. This viewing platform is a 20 minute stroll from the parking zone and allows you to view the whole thing of the most important spring within the US.

How to visit Midway Geyser Basin overlook

If you need to see an overhead view of the Grand Prismatic, we extremely suggest the Grand Prismatic Overlook. This is the proper view of Grand Prismatic Spring and the encircling colourful sizzling springs from above (Without taking a helicopter tour).

If the solar is out and also you see climate could be coming in whenever you arrive at Mid Geyser Basin, we recommend going on to the Grand Prismatic Overlook earlier than taking the stroll concerning the Grand Prismatic Hot Spring beneath.

To get to Grand Prismatic Overlook path, flip proper out of The Grand Prismatic parking zone and drive 1.6 miles (2.5 km) to the Fairy Falls Parking lot. From the parking zone, stroll over the bridge and comply with the trail.

How to visit Grand Prismatic spring Overlook Trail

The Walk out to Grand Prismatic Overlook takes about 20 minutes and it’s uphill. The path is well-marked and straightforward to comply with. When you come to a fork, you can even veer off to the correct to see Fairy Falls. For the Grand Prismatic Overlook, take the trail to the left and hike uphill.

This gravel path isn’t appropriate for wheelchairs or strollers. It is taken into account a straightforward hike although and anybody in first rate form can have no issues reaching the overlook. The path is just one.2 miles (1.9km) lengthy with an elevation acquire of 105 ft (32 meters).

How to visit Grand Prismatic spring Overlook Trail sign

Once you attain the highest, you’ll come to a platform. The overlook is small and there’s actually just one place with unobstructed views. Trees body and block a variety of the view, however there’s one spot the place it’s good.

So make a beeline to the middle of the platform to take photographs of the rainbow colours of the Grand Prismatic Spring. You can seize your complete sizzling spring with a wide-angle digicam lens, or together with your iPhone. Plus, you will get that good selfie.

People shall be ready in line, so don’t spend too lengthy. We simply saved going out and in as folks left. Surprisingly, lots of people got here up for one fast snap and moved on.

Fairy Falls

Firy Falls Hiking trail in Yellowstone National Park

If you’ve gotten time, you might need to hike out to Fairy Falls, it’s the tallest entrance nation waterfall in Yellowstone at 220 ft excessive (67 meters). From the overlook, you’ll be able to proceed alongside the path to the correct to rejoin the Fairy Falls Trail.

The out-and-back path is a 5-mile journey that takes 3 hours so in case you have a number of days in Yellowstone I say go for it! And if you’re actually eager proceed on for one more quarter-hour or so and are available up on the Imperial Geyser and Spray Geyser. Read extra about hikes in Yellowstone: 12 Best Hikes in Yellowstone National Park

Staying Safe at Grand Prismatic Spring

Note: If you might be climbing in Yellowstone, stroll in pairs and make loads of noise to let wildlife know you might be approaching. The park recommends carrying bear spray and there are locations across the park that hire it.

Never go off the trail, boardwalk, or trails at Grand Prismatic Spring. Not solely is it harmful, however it is usually unlawful and the atmosphere is fragile. The boardwalks are there for a purpose, to guard you and the atmosphere. So follow the paths.

It will be very windy at Grand Prismatic Spring, so maintain on to your unfastened articles reminiscent of hats. We noticed a hat floating within the waters of Mammoth sizzling springs. Foreign objects that fall into the swimming pools have actually harm the geothermal options across the park. When the vents turn out to be clogged, the heated water cools killing the organisms.

Can you Swim in Grand Prismatic Spring?

The sizzling springs of Yellowstone are usually not for swimming, together with Grand Prismatic Spring. You can’t swim in Grand Prismatic. There are solely two designated swimming areas within the nationwide park, Boiling River, and Firehole River Swim Areas. It will be harmful to swim in Yellowstone Lake and its rivers as a result of chilly temperatures. However, with boiling water and sizzling springs scattered all through the park, you can even run the danger of scalding. It is forbidden to swim in geothermal areas.

How to Get to Grand Prismatic Spring

We flew into Cody Wyoming and really feel that it’s a improbable place to begin your highway journey. Cody, Wyoming is situated 50 miles from the East Entrance and is a spot that it’s best to spend not less than two days exploring. And the closest entrance to Grand Prismatic Spring is thru West Yellowstone is barely a 30-minute drive.

There are 5 entrances to Yellowstone Park and you’ll fly into airports close to all of them and Grand Prismatic will be reached from all of them.

  • Cody Yellowstone Regional Airport is situated in Cody, Wyoming
  • Yellowstone Airport is the closest airport to Yellowstone situated simply exterior the West Entrance
  • Jackson Hole is 1 hour from the South Entrance.
  • Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport is 1.5 hours from the North Entrance.

Upper Geyser Basin

Once you might be completed at Grand Prismatic, make your strategy to Upper Geyser Basin to see Old Faithful. It’s only a brief distance from Midway Geyser Basin (quarter-hour up the highway) and the 2 Yellowstone sights are good to go to collectively.

Plus, I might wait to make use of the bathrooms within the Old Faithful space. There are bathrooms at Midway Geyser Basin, however the resorts and ammenities round Old Faithful are higher and see fewer folks.

In Conclusion

Oh Yellowstone, you actually need weeks to discover its magnificence. Grand Prismatic alone can take a few hours to see. Add within the hike to Fairy Falls and you’ve got a whole half-day booked in Yellowstone National Park. With Grand Prismatic Spring you’ve gotten seen essentially the most spectacular spring of rainbow colours within the park, however there’s nonetheless a lot extra to see and do.

And there you’ve gotten it, now that a few of the information, you might be prepared to go to Grand Prismatic Spring? This actually was an incredible website to see. We had seen footage on-line however actually couldn’t comprehend the great thing about Grand Prismatic and all of Yellowstone’s sizzling springs till we noticed them with our personal eyes. If you might be searching for wonderful locations on the earth so as to add to your bucket listing, Grand Prismatic Spring is a must-visit vacation spot.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here