Midway Geyser Basin Trail
The Midway Geyser Basin Trail is a fantastic hike in Yellowstone National Park. This trail is family-friendly and appropriate for hikers of all ages and abilities.
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Route Description for Midway Geyser Basin Trail
The Midway Geyser Basin Trail is one of the most popular trails in Yellowstone National Park. This trail is very busy, especially in the summertime, so it's best to start your hike early in the morning to beat the crowds. In the late season, the boardwalk gets icy. If you are hiking in late October, we suggest bringing along a set of traction devices such as microspikes for some extra grip.
On the Midway Geyser Basin Trail, you will pass by a series of spectacular thermal features, including the Grand Prismatic Spring, The Excelsior Geyser, Turquoise Pool, and Opal Pool. With so much to see in less than a mile of trail, the Midway Geyser Trail is a great bang for your buck.
Beginning at the Midway Geyser Trailhead, follow the boardwalk clockwise past the Excelsior Geyser, the Grand Prismatic Spring, the Opal Spring and the Turquoise Spring. Just after the Turquoise Spring, you will find yourself back at the trailhead where you began.
If you are looking for more to explore in the area, check out the Fairy Falls Trail just down the road.
The Excelsior Geyser is a dormant fountain-type geyser. Though now inactive, this geyser used to erupt dramatically, shooting water between 30 m-91 m in the air. This dramatic eruption was captured in 1886 by F. Jay Haynes whose photograph of the Excelsior Geyser now lives at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
The Opal Pool is an active hotspring and a fountain-type geyser. The Opal Pool rarely erupts and the eruptions are unpredictable but when they go, this geyser shoots hot water 6 m-21 m in the air.
The Turquoise Pool is a hot spring that was named by the Hayden Expedition in 1878. The temperature of this pool sits between 142-160 degrees Fahrenheit (61-71 degrees Celsius).
The Grand Prismatic Spring
The Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest natural hot spring in the United States of America and the third largest hot spring in the World. With a diameter of approximately 113 m and a depth of approximately 49 m, this spring is well known for its vivid, prismatic colors. The spectacular rainbow of color that gives this spring its name is caused by microbial mats: multi-layered sheets of microorganisms, largely bacteria, on the edges of the water.
These microorganisms make the shoreline of the spring bright red, orange, yellow, and green. In the summertime, these mats are usually shades of red and orange, and in the winter, they shift to the cooler greens and blues. With an average temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit (70 C), you cannot enter or go near the spring; the high acidity of the water combined with the scalding temperature would be instantly fatal to anyone who tried. The Grand Prismatic Spring is truly an otherworldly sight and well worth a stop on your visit to Yellowstone National Park.
Frequently Asked Questions
What entrance is the Midway Geyser Basin?
The Midway Geyser Basin is best accessed through Yellowstone National Park’s West Entrance.
Insider Hints for Midway Geyser Basin Trail
- Don’t forget the camera! This trail is otherworldly.
Getting to the Midway Geyser Basin Trail Trailhead
This hike begins at the Midway Geyser Basin Trailhead on the west side of Grand Loop Road, approximately 9.2 km northwest of the Old Faithful Visitors Center
Midway Geyser Basin Trail Elevation Graph
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Midway Geyser Basin Trail Reviews
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