After seeing National Geographic’s aerial photograph of the Grand Prismatic Spring, I knew I had to hike Yellowstone National Park to see it for myself. As I began my hike, I had no idea that it would take me to an up close and personal view of this natural wonder!
Finding the Grand Prismatic Spring
In order to hike to the Grand Prismatic Spring, you need to head south on 191 towards Old Faithful. The entrance will be past Firehole Lake Drive a little ways down on the right.
We camped in Madison Campground, and so we were able to beat a lot of the crowds by leaving early. In spite of that, as we approached the turn off for the Grand Prismatic Spring, we saw a lot of cars parked along the side of 191. In order to find a spot, we followed suit and parked just before the parking lot along 191. Thankfully, it wasn’t a long walk to the hiking trail.
From ordinary to extraordinary
One thing that amazed me about Yellowstone National Park is how quickly the landscape changed. What started as an ordinary meadow vista quickly turned into an unearthly scene that looked like it came from an alien planet. Hot steam dotted the horizon as we approached the Firehole River.
Our journey to the Grand Prismatic Spring began by crossing the Firehole River
First of all, from the parking lot, we followed a path that took us to a bridge across the Firehole River. Since it was early morning, the cool air met the hot water, creating copious amounts of steam from the nearby hot springs.
Gallons of burning hot liquid flowed freely into the Firehole River. I sat, awestruck, at the sight, wondering what it would be like to swim in that swirling furnace of hot and cold.
After crossing the bridge, we saw the source of the hot liquid.
Next we passed the Excelsior Geyser Crater
After crossing the Firehole River, we came upon the Excelsior Geyser Crater. Hot liquid bubbled and gushed down the edge of the landscape, creating a magical ambiance.
Because of the intense steam, we couldn’t see the full magnitude of the crater.
Still, the sight was beautiful.
In spite of the steam, we did, however, get small glimpses as we stared into the depths of the crater.
A park ranger told us that different colors indicated the temperature of the hot springs, allowing various bacteria to thrive, blue being the hottest.
Following the wooden walkway, we approached the Grand Prismatic Spring
After admiring the Excelsior Geyser Crater, we began the approach to the Grand Prismatic Spring. Vegetative earth transformed into a cracked molten pool.
Colors slowly shifted from a neutral brown into a vibrant orange.
Visibility of the Grand Prismatic Spring proved difficult, but we could see blue and green colored steam rise up from the earth.
Since the Grand Prismatic Spring is Yellowstone’s largest hot spring, we couldn’t see all of it at once from this vista.
What we could see, however, was a shifting landscape of molten glass.
Surprisingly, the walkways took us right past this point. I have no idea how they didn’t melt.
While this up close and personal view of the Grand Prismatic Spring was amazing, we couldn’t see all the colors inside.
Initially, I felt a little bit disappointed with this view. I so wanted to take a photograph like the one I had seen and couldn’t figure out how to accomplish it.
Even the sign showed an aerial view of the Grand Prismatic Spring. Apparently it was taken from an airplane. Drones weren’t allowed in Yellowstone National Park, but I felt there had to be another way to see the spring.
After passing the Grand Prismatic Spring, we saw the Opal Pool and Turquoise Pool
The landscape slowly shifted back into a neutral brown as we passed the Opal pool.
Then we got to see the turquoise pool.
The path to the Grand Prismatic Spring went in a giant circle and we ended where we began.
We said our goodbyes and then headed back over the bridge crossing the Firehole River, grateful for the experience.
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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