“I think anyone who goes to Yellowstone and misses Grand Prismatic Springs is stupid.” When you are given advice like that, how can you skip it?
Grand Prismatic Spring is part of the Midway Geyser Basin section of the park. A popular sight, we decided to hit it up early in the day, and we’re glad we did (parking was tough, and even worst when we left). A boardwalk is erected to allow people to walk around 3 magnificent hot pools. The biggest is Excelsior Geyser Carter, but the most brilliant is the Grand Prismatic Spring, toward the bend of the walk. Each pool is really a hot spring, each at different temperatures, causing different species of algae to live in it. The algae and microbes that grow are different colors, which makes the appear to have a brilliant turquoise blue in the center, and striking oranges and browns around the edge.
Warning: the boardwalks are there for a reason. The ground and water are very hot and it’s extremely dangerous to step off the boardwalk. We drilled this into our son who not only followed the rule, but felt the need to tell everyone he met the rule as well. My daughter we did not trust, so she was regulated to the Ergo for most of the walk, until she refused kicking and screaming.
Afterward leaving the Midway Geyser Parking lot, we noticed a small road called Firehole Lake Drive. We decided to go down it because we had heard there had been some recent geological activity. We didn’t see any evidence of it, but we did stop to see two interesting sights. The first was a small pool called Firehole Spring, which had the same brilliant colors as Grand Prismatic springs, but this one was bubbling and shooting up a little bit of water. It also had the characteristic sulfur smell, which my son decided was “stinky”. The second was a geyser that was forming a dome around it called White Dome Geyser. This, my husband explained, was how the geysers form mountains (eventually).
Afterward, we continued on our way, glad to have seen the brilliant colors and sights we were promised. And I agree, if you go to Yellowstone and skip the Grand Prismatic Spring, you are stupid.
Midway Geyser Basin: There is one small parking lot, no visitors center, and two toilets. Be sure to come in the morning for easier parking, shorter restroom lines, and most importantly, the best vibrancy of the colors.
*Stared photos taken by Atma Photography