Norris Geyser Basin

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone, Wyoming

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Norris Geyser Basin


  • Overlooking Porcelain Basin from the museum.- Norris Geyser Basin
  • Boardwalks access Porcelain Basin.- Norris Geyser Basin
  • Ledge Geyser.- Norris Geyser Basin
  • Porcelain Basin in the background with Steamboat Geyser steaming.- Norris Geyser Basin
  • Pork Chop Geyeser.- Norris Geyser Basin
  • Tantalus Creek.- Norris Geyser Basin
  • The Back Basin area.- Norris Geyser Basin
  • Porcelain Basin.- Norris Geyser Basin
  • The Whale's Mouth.- Norris Geyser Basin
  • The boardwalk crossing Back Basin.- Norris Geyser Basin
  • Steamboar Geyser, the world's tallest active geyser.- Norris Geyser Basin
  • Echinus Geyser.- Norris Geyser Basin
  • The Blue Mud Steam Vent.- Norris Geyser Basin
  • Back Basin.- Norris Geyser Basin
  • Emerald Spring.- Norris Geyser Basin
  • Emerald Spring.- Norris Geyser Basin
  • Tantalus Creek in Back Basin.- Norris Geyser Basin
  • Little life can survive in geyser basins.- Norris Geyser Basin
  • The different colors are produced by thermophiles (heat-loving organisms).- Norris Geyser Basin
  • This pool looks inviting, but the water is boiling hot.- Norris Geyser Basin
  • This spot of vegetation has survived so far, but it is in danger as the soil acidifies.- Norris Geyser Basin
  • Green Mouth Dragon.- Norris Geyser Basin
  • Porcelain Basin has beautiful color contrasts.- Norris Geyser Basin
  • An erupting geyser.- Norris Geyser Basin
  • Porcelain Basin is definitely worth a visit.- Norris Geyser Basin
  • Porcelain Basin with the mountains of Montana in the background.- Norris Geyser Basin
  • There are several pools of beautiful blue water in Porcelain Basin.- Norris Geyser Basin
  • The color patterns on the ground are as much of an attraction as the geysers themselves.- Norris Geyser Basin
  • Nice walkways make visiting this area easy.- Norris Geyser Basin
  • Geysers are beautiful, but dead vegetation surrounds most of them.- Norris Geyser Basin
Overview + Weather
Active geysers. Easy hike.
Crowded. Mosquitos.
Yellowstone, WY
Pets allowed: 
Net Elevation Gain: 
143.00 ft (43.59 m)
Parking Pass: 
National Park Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
3.00 mi (4.83 km)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
7,500.00 ft (2,286.00 m)
Typically multi-day: 
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description


Norris Geyser Basin is the hottest and fastest changing geyser basin In Yellowstone National Park. A short walk around a series of loops makes this a great place to spend some time taking in this unique geologic feature. If it is open, be sure to check out the Norris Geyser Basin Museum at the beginning of the hike. Rangers are on staff to answer questions and give educational talks about the geology and history of the area. Two basins make up the Norris Geyser area: Porcelain Basin and Back Basin.

Porcelain basin's creamy white color is the result of siliceous sinter mineral deposits carried to the surface by the basin's vast network of subsurface hot water. As the minerals spread, they clog existing vents. New vents form elsewhere where weaker layers in the crust give way. This phenomenon makes Porcelain Basin the fastest changing area in the park.

Back Basin's thermal features are more spread out amongst the thick lodgepole pine forests and the Tantalus Creek Basin. Back Basin hosts a large variety of thermal features. If you're lucky, you may get to witness the eruption of the world's largest geyser, Steamboat. Eruptions are rare, but a strong rumble hours beforehand will allude to an impending eruption, which sometimes reach heights of up to 400 feet. As the runoff from the geyser seeps across the basin you will notice hues of green and orange. This phenomenon is uniquely concentrated in the Norris Geyser Basin. Thermophiles, or microscopic algae, are present at different temperatures and serve as a natural thermometer. The orange thermophiles use iron deposits for their energy, allowing them to multiply by the trillions in water temperatures ranging from 122 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, while the green channels filled with thermophilic algae indicate temperatures ranging from 100 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The two loops can be walked in any direction, and both end up back at the museum. Even though the hike is short, its a good idea to allow a little extra time to take in abundant amount of features in Norris Geyser Basin.



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(10 within a 30 mile radius)

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(65 within a 30 mile radius)

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