I went to Yellowstone National Park, in part, to see and photograph the Grand Prismatic Spring. When I followed the signs and hiked to the spring, what I found was an up close and personal view of the hot spring, however, I couldn’t see all of the amazing colors and textures. Looking up at the mountain side, I saw a small group of people perched on the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook. But how did I get there?
After hiking the entire perimeter of the Grand Prismatic Spring trail, I went back to my car and pulled out my map to do some investigation. After searching for a bit, I discovered where I needed to go.
In order to get to the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook, start at the Fairy Falls Trailhead
Don’t get me wrong, it was definitely worth hiking to the Grand Prismatic Spring to get an up close and personal view of this giant hot spring. Afterwards, however, we wanted to see it from an aerial view. So, we drove to the Fairy Falls Trailhead. This parking lot fills up quickly. Fortunately, we pulled in just as someone else was pulling out.
The Fairy Falls Trailhead is located further south on Hwy 191 around the bend of the Firehole River. The parking lot entrance is located on the right of the road. It has a nice turn around at the end. My best advice is to get there early so you can hopefully ensure a spot.
Follow the Fairy Falls Trail and then veer left at the fork
On the way up to the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook, we encountered some stunning hot springs. It seems like all over Yellowstone National Park, new hot springs and geysers formed. The trail forks at one point to the left.
I went ahead with my son and daughter and took the fork. My other kids and husband, however, initially missed the turn off. If you stay straight, the trail will take you to another up close view of the Grand Prismatic Spring, however, to get to the overlook, remember to veer left.
You can see the Grand Prismatic Spring through some trees, however, keep going for a more unobstructed view
I stopped initially when I spotted the Grand Prismatic Spring through a bunch of trees. Some people stopped here, took photos, and then headed back down the hiking trail.
While this is a lovely view, keep going if you want to make it to the overlook.
Once you’ve hit this guard rail, you’ve arrived at the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook
The Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook was obvious when we finally reached it. The hike was fairly easy and well worth it.
From this vista, you can see the entirety of Yellowstone’s largest hot spring.
Unfortunately, some of the most famous photographs of the Grand Prismatic Spring were taken from an airplane, making it impossible to photograph a straight down aerial shot from this vantage point.
That said, I was still pleased with the photographs I was able to take. If you are feeling up to a longer hike, you can continue down the Fairy Falls Trail, veer left across Fairy Meadows, and then end at the Fairy Falls Waterfall. This 4.9 mile hike is less crowded and, from what I hear, beautiful. Sadly, my kids were cranky and wanted to turn back.
So we hiked back down, crossed over the Firehole River, and drove further south on Hwy 191 to watch Old Faithful erupt! Overall it was a fairly easy and satisfying hike to see the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook.
I hope you get the opportunity to see this for yourself. If not, at least you can live it through my photos! Thanks for reading and sharing my adventures with me!
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