Exploring Yellowstone: Hot, Smelly Geysers and Springs

To really experience Yellowstone, one must visit the Geysers and Springs. Scalding water, emerald pools and the most potent rotten egg smell ever. How could we pass up that?

West Thumb Geyser Basin

This was one of the most unique Geyser areas that we visited in Yellowstone. The basin is located directly on the western shore of Yellowstone Lake. It dumps an average of 31,000 gallons of hot water into the lake every day, keeping it at a much warmer temperature than what it should be at it’s elevation.

Fishing Cone

My favorite Geyser in the basin is the Fishing Cone. Unlike most Geysers in Yellowstone, this one is located in Yellowstone Lake.

Supposedly, a member of the 1870 Weshburn Expedition described a Geyser on the shore of an alpine lake where you could catch a trout and cook it without every having to take it off the line, thus the name Fishing Cone.

Great Fountain Geyser

Great Fountain Geyser

This was one of the prettiest formations in Yellowstone that we visited. The Great Fountain Geyser erupts between 9 and 15 hours and shoots water up between 75 and 220 feet.

Old Faithful Geyser

Old Faithful was the first Geyser in the park to receive a name. It is also one of the most predictable geographical features on earth, erupting almost every 91 minutes.

This geyser can shoot 3,700 to 8,4000 gallons of boiling water up to a height of 185 feet.

Dragon’s Mouth Spring

Dragon's Mouth Spring

It smells terrible.

The water sloshes in and out of a cavern along with hot stream and strange noises. It’s pretty obvious why it’s named “Dragon’s Mouth”.

Did I mention is smells terrible?

Fountain Paint Pots

These mud pots are located in the Lower Geyser Basin and are named for the reds, yellows, and browns in the mud.

The colors are from oxidation states of the iron in the mud. When we were there, the mud was pretty thick but the consistency of the paint pots depends on how much it has rained.

Grand Prismatic Spring

Prismatic spring

One of the most famous springs in Yellowstone, the Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest hot spring in the United States and third largest in the world.

It is located in the Midway Geyser Basin and is named for it’s color. This color is caused by bacteria. When planning to visit the Grand Prismatic Spring, we recommend going on a warm day. We were there when it was cool. This created a fog around the spring making it difficult to see.

White Dome Geyser

White Dome

Fittingly located on Firehole Lake drive, the White Dome Geyser looks like a mini volcano. Surrounding the geyser is a 12 foot tall geyserite cone. This is one of the largest ones in the park.

While the geyser does erupt, they are very unpredictable.

Steamboat Geyser

Steamboat Geyser is the world’s tallest active geyser. Major eruptions may be more than 300 feet in height!

But don’t get too excited. These eruptions are unpredictable. Records show it could be between four days to fifty years before it erupts again.


For a full listing of Yellowstone’s Geothermal features, visit Wikipedia. Also available is a virtual tour of the West Thumb Geyser Basin

While these amazing features look harmless, they are all very dangerous, ranging in hot temperatures and are unpredictable.

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