Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook

Yellowstone, Wyoming

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Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook


  • Bridge over the Firehole River.- Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook
  • Evidence of thermal features are all along the river.- Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook
  • Healthy forest growth in the North Fork Fire burn area after Yellowstone's famous 1988 fire season.- Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook
  • Almost to the viewing platform.- Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook
  • Large viewing platorm for Grand Prismatic Spring and Excelsior Geyser Crater.- Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook
  • View the full spectrum of colors in Grand Prismatic Spring.- Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook
  • Gentle slopes make this an easy hike for families.- Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook
Overview + Weather
Unique perspective of Grand Prismatic. Easy hike. Fascinating geology.
Crowded. Limited parking.
Yellowstone, WY
Pets allowed: 
Net Elevation Gain: 
105.00 ft (32.00 m)
Parking Pass: 
National Park Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
1.20 mi (1.93 km)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
7,250.00 ft (2,209.80 m)
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

Yellowstone National Park’s newest trail offers a unique vantage point of the colorful Grand Prismatic Spring. The trail was constructed to protect resources and visitors while alleviating traffic around the Midway Geyser Basin.

The trail begins from the Fairy Falls Trailhead. Hikers cross a bridge over the Firehole River and walk along a wide crushed-gravel trail. At the first junction, the trail swings left and gently climbs up through new lodgepole growth. Arrive at a large viewing platform. The platform is surrounded by a rail, making this a great hike for the young ones.

Take in the clear view over Grand Prismatic Spring and Excelsior Geyser. The temperature of Grand Prismatic ranges from 145 degrees to 188 degrees, with the highest temperature at the center in the clear blue waters. Just off center, at a temperature of 165 degrees, the synechococcus bacterium becomes predominant as noted by the greenish color. Calothrix and Phormidium are cyanobacteria that form the respective dark brown and orange bacterial mats around the outer rim of the spring. Blue steam rises from Excelsior Geyser Crater just past Grand Prismatic. Excelsior was once one of the world’s largest geysers, but its last major eruptions were in the 1880s.

Members of Montana Conservation Corps and Youth Conservation Corps designed and built the overlook trail. They also rehabilitated numerous unofficial social trails formed by visitors who went off-trail and scrambled up the slope.

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(9 within a 30 mile radius)

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