Paintpots or mudpots are some of Yellowstone National Park’s most unusual features. Created when the water of a hot spring is very acidic, mudpots are “muddy” because of the dissolved rock that builds up in them. Minerals in the rocks add color to the mud and create fascinating burbling pools.
Honestly speaking, the best feature of the Artist Paintpots hike is not the mudpots, though they are interesting. The views are the highlight here, with both close-up overlooks of beautiful thermal features and distant views of the meadows and hills on the Yellowstone Plateau. After a flat, wheelchair-accessible walk to the base of the thermal area, the trail forms a loop that can be taken either direction. Going to the right, there is a stretch of boardwallk that winds among the lower pools. The bubbling Artists Paintpots are at the top of the bluff, as are the most inspiring views.