grand prismatic spring midway geyser basin in yellowstone

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.

Grand Prismatic Spring … a hot spot to discover at least once in a lifetime…

On our second day at Yellowstone National Park, we ride in the direction of Grand Prismatic Spring and Old Faithful, two of the world’s best-known natural gems.

We are so excited! This destination has been on our bucket list for such a long time. And now, here we are.

This is a dream that comes true.

Midway Geyser Basin, home of Grand Prismatic Spring and Excelsior Geyser

1. On the way to Midway Geyser Basin
2. Grand Prismatic Spring, the immoderation …
3. Grand Prismatic Spring: Nature’s Wonder
4. Excelsior Geyser, it’s hot …
5. Opal Pool

Consult the Yellowstone official map to locate Midway Geyser Basin.

Go directly to the Grand Prismatic area map.

1. On the way to Midway Geyser Basin

Midway Geyser Basin is located halfway between Madison Junction and Old Faithful, along the Firehole River. This geological depression is not the widest of the park but it shelters two striking attractions, Excelsior Geyser and the famous Grand Prismatic Spring.

From the car park, boardwalks allow visitors to loiter around Midway Geyser Basin safely. In fact, this is one of the most dangerous area in the Yellowstone National Park.

2. Grand Prismatic Spring, the immoderation …

At the approach of Grand Prismatic Spring, the path crosses a zone of brown terraced sediments that seem to shine in the sun. A thin film of water covers them and gives a gilded appearance to the gleaming ground.
A few feet further, the gaze is set on a line of turquoise blue vapor, which contrasts with the dark green background covered with firs. The steamy cloud indicates the location of Grand Prismatic Spring.

It is a huge volcanic bowl, the size of a football stadium from which we cannot yet distinguish the outline.

Grand Prismatic Spring yellowstone park

Grand Prismatic Spring

The view is so unreal that it leaves us stunned and speechless, observing the largest hot spring in the USA and the 3rd largest in the world!

3. Grand Prismatic Spring: Nature’s Wonder

The boardwalks lead visitors over red, orange and brown runoffs produced by the gigantic basin. These lively tints are due to the presence of millions of micro-organisms, thermophiles that proliferate into waters at extreme temperatures. We contemplate the yellow and green circles around the center of the spring whose deep blue waters rise to 160 ° F. The thin layer of liquid deposited on the warm ground enhances the liveliness of the colors.
Now, we understand why this giant source is called Grand Prismatic Spring.

Grand Prismatic Spring yellowstone park

Red, orange and brown runoffs produced by Grand Prismatic Spring

We are so dazzled by this incredible natural show ! We wish to observe Grand Prismatic Spring from above. There is a path that leads to a promontory overlooking the huge crater. But regretfully, a ranger informs us that it was closed this week because of renovations works.
If we had taken it, here is what we could have seen:

grand prismatic spring from above in midway geyser basin

Grand Prismatic Spring from above – Wikimedia Commons – Brocken Inaglory

4. Excelsior Geyser, it’s hot …

The path crosses the Firehole River, into which Excelsior Geyser’s waters dump two large ocher runoffs. We can’t see it yet but its presence is proved by the ultra-hot vapors rising up in the air. No doubt, we are getting close to it!

Run off Excelsior Geyser

Run off Excelsior Geyser

A hundred feet further, we approach the huge crater filled with boiling turquoise liquid. Indeed, this water rising from the bowels of the Earth reaches 194 ° F. The steam is so dense that we cannot make out the other bank of the geyser. In addition, Excelsior Geyser’s rim is covered with a whitish substance, deposited by the overflowing waters.

Midway Geyser basin - Excelsior Geyser

Midway Geyser basin – Excelsior Geyser

Although impressive, Excelsior Geyser’s activity is quite calm compared to what it was in the past. Indeed, extremely violent eruptions have created a crater from which water springs under pressure. The last eruption was recorded in 1985. Today, this giant pot still pours 17,000 liters of water per minute into the Firehole River. Fascinating!

5. Opal Pool

Then, from Excelsior Geyser, we head to Turquoise Pool and Opal Pool. These two sources are of great beauty. Opal Pool is a volcanic basin with blue waters, apparently quiet. It is rimmed with reddish deposits that reflect the presence of bacteria and other microorganisms present in its hot waters.

Midway Basin - Opal Spring

Midway Basin – Opal Spring

Is not our Planet magnificent!?

Well now, let us discover Old Faithful …

Useful Informations to visit Midway Geyser Basin

Grand Prismatic area map

Grand Prismatic area map

Wikimedia Commons

Duration of the visit

It needs about half a day to visit the area.

When to go?

Check out the dates of your visit on the Park site.

Where to sleep in the park?

Mammoth Lodge : book several months in advance.
Mammoth Campground: no reservations required but application of the principle: “First come, first served”. The campsite is open all year round.

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