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Grand Prismatic Spring Yellowstone

The Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park captivates with its bright and vivid colors.

It’s like an oasis of warmth amidst the cold winter.

Surrounded by vibrant bands of red, orange, yellow, and green, the deep blue waters of the hot spring shine out.

The enchanting beauty of the hot spring looks best through the naked eye, not through a camera lens.

To assist you, we have compiled a list of everything you need to know before visiting Wyoming’s world-famous Grand Prismatic Spring.

What is the Grand Prismatic Spring

The Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest hot spring in the United States and the third largest worldwide.

Described as a “boiling lake” by early discoverers in 1839, it is 160 feet (50 meters) deep and 370 feet (112 meters) wide.

Grand Prismatic Spring is in the Midway Geyser basin.

And with its rainbow-colored waters and bright natural features, the Grand Prismatic Spring mesmerizes its visitors.

How hot is the Grand Prismatic Spring

Grand Prismatic Spring temperature ranges from 145 degrees Fahrenheit to 189 degrees Fahrenheit, at which point it becomes too hot to support life.

On the other hand, bacteria and algae occupy the hot spring’s outer layers.

They thrive in harsh conditions and produce spectacular color rings.

The color of the layers in the Grand Prismatic Springs depends on the various types of thermophiles and their tolerance to various temperatures.

The water’s depth also creates a color gradient from the center to the edges, adding to the beauty of this natural spectacle.

Grand Prismatic Spring Boardwalk

The Grand Prismatic Spring Boardwalk is a pleasant destination for tourists at Yellowstone National Park.

It is around 0.8 miles (1.2 km) long and offers a safe and convenient approach to observing the breathtaking scenery from above.

The boardwalk has wooden planks elevated above the ground to protect the area’s delicate ecosystem.

A large spectrum of tourists can access the Grand Prismatic Spring Broadwalk because of its wheelchair accessibility.

Signs and displays inform visitors at the Grand Prismatic Spring Boardwalk of the park’s geothermal activity and regional ecosystem.

Grand Prismatic Spring Tours and Activities

Visitors can partake in various tours and activities involving Grand Prismatic Spring during their visit.

You can book the following best-selling combo tours in Yellowstone:

Types of ToursToursPrice Range
PrivateVIP Private Tour of Yellowstone$2250
(for a group of seven people)
PrivatePrivate Yellowstone Tours from West Yellowstone $300 to $350
Multi-Day 7-Day Yellowstone Tour $1598
(Shared or Private)
LuxuryYellowstone Luxury Tour$1199 to $1299
(based on group size) 
GuidedYellowstone Guided Tours from West Yellowstone by Van$292
GuidedFull-day Guided Tour of Yellowstone National Park$212 to $270
GuidedYellowstone Lower Loop Guided Tour from Cody, Wyoming $230 to $269

Grand Prismatic Spring Facts

Here are quick and exciting facts about the breathtaking Grand Prismatic hot springs:

  • The name “Grand Prismatic” was given by early explorers because of its vivid colors and substantial size.
  • Every minute, the hot spring discharges approximately 2,100 liters of water heated to 70°C.
  • Despite its lovely appearance, the Grand Prismatic Spring’s water is unsafe for swimming. Its high temperature and chemical makeup make the Grand Prismatic Spring unfit for swimming.
  • Grand Prismatic Spring’s temperature ranges from 145 to 189°F, too hot for life, except for bacteria and algae, which create its spectacular color rings.

Best time to see Grand Prismatic Spring

When visiting Grand Prismatic Spring in Wyoming, keeping track of weather conditions is essential.

It is one of the factors ensuring a successful trip; hence you should know when to visit.

The best time to view Grand Prismatic Spring is during the summer when the weather is mostly pleasant and sunny.

Another factor to consider is the time of day; the best times to go are early morning and late evening.

The Lower sun angles produce lovely hues as light radiates through the Grand Prismatic Spring.

Best view of Grand Prismatic Spring

Image: NPS.gov

The most popular viewing area is the Grand Prismatic Spring boardwalk, which runs alongside the spring and provides guests with a close-up view of the deep water.

The Grand Prismatic Spring and its surroundings can be seen in all its glory if visitors hike to the Fairy Falls overlook

Grand Prismatic Spring in Winter

During winter, the Grand Prismatic Spring becomes even more captivating, providing visitors with a thrilling view. 

The area known for its remarkable beauty and its vibrantly colored waters transforms into a snow-clad winter wonderland.  

The spring’s vibrant hues contrast sharply with the white snow, and the rising vapor from the hot water creates a mesmerizing scene.

The Grand Prismatic Spring winter experience is a must-visit for nature lovers and photographers alike.

Where is Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone

The Grand Prismatic hot spring is more than seven miles north in the Upper Geyser basin, also known as the Midway Geyser basin.

It is marked on various maps near the Geyser basin, making it easy to locate.

Grand Prismatic Spring Map

How to get to Grand Prismatic Spring

To get to Grand Prismatic Spring, enter Yellowstone National Park from West Entrance, go south on Grand Loop Road 14 miles, then turn onto Firehole Lake Drive.

You must travel another 1.3 miles (2 km) after turning onto Firehole Lake Drive to reach the Fairy Falls Trailhead parking lot.

Since the parking sees many crowds, visitors must arrive early or use the park’s shuttle service.

From there, guests can hike 0.6 miles (0.9 km) along a boardwalk to the Great Prismatic Spring to take in its visual delights.

Grand Prismatic Springs to Old Faithful

Old Faithful Geyser is an iconic geyser famous for its predictable eruptions and geothermal activity.

The Grand Loop Road connects the Grand Prismatic Spring location to Old Faithful Geyser.

Visitors must drive 9 miles (14 km) north of Grand Loop Road to reach the Fire Hole lake drive intersection.

After that, they will continue traveling north for approximately 15 miles (24 km) until they reach Old Faithful.

Grand Prismatic Spring Parking Lot

The Grand Prismatic Spring Parking lot is spacious and well-kept, accommodating many vehicles.

There are dedicated spaces for buses, motorcyclists and recreational vehicles to ensure all vehicles have a place to park.

However, there can be extreme congestion in the Parking Lot, especially during the tourist season.

You should be aware that the Grand Prismatic Spring Parking Lot is in a geothermal zone where the earth might be unstable in some places.

Therefore visitors must adhere to all posted signs and rules to avoid disrupting the delicate thermal features that surround the ecosystem.

Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook

The Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook trail is an easy hike around this geothermal feature.

To get to the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook, take the Fairy Falls Trailhead for 1.6 miles (2.5 km) after parking at the Fairy Falls Parking Lot.

The Trail will split after the first mile of hiking.

Tourists should take the branch that leads to the Grand Prismatic Spring Viewpoint.

Visitors must wear suitable footwear and proceed with caution as the ascent that follows is uneven, rocky, and muddy.

The Grand Prismatic Spring hike provides visitors with the most amazing views of The Grand Prismatic Spring.

Featured Image: Sites.psu.edu

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