Yellowstone’s Must-See Hydrothermal Features

Yellowstone is known for its must-see hydrothermal features. Old Faithful and Grand Prismatic are some of the most viewed National Park sights in the whole country. Luckily, they aren’t the only sights worth seeing inside the park! There are so many other-worldly hydrothermal features to experience during your visit.

10 Must-See Hydrothermal Features in Yellowstone

Lone Star Geyser

Location: Lone Star Geyser Basin (backcountry)

Do you want to experience a backcountry geyser that spews water over 40 feet high every couple of hours? Look no further than Lone Star Geyser. This backcountry geyser is a true sight to see. The trailhead is located 3.5 miles south of Old Faithful. The best part of it is that you can choose to hike or bike the 4.2 miles to this cone-shaped geyser; biking certainly cuts the time it would take you to hike it. The Lone Star Geyser erupts over 45 feet nearly every 3 hours. Check the visitor’s center near Old Faithful for predicated eruption times!

Lone Star Geyser is a short hike or bike away!

Grand Prismatic

Location: Midway Geyser Basin

Do you want to visit Yellowstone National Park’s second most popular hydrothermal feature? At 121 feet deep, this hot spring is one of Yellowstone’s most visited hydrothermal features. Take a walk along the boardwalk at dawn to feel like you stepped foot on mars. If you want a good look at the rainbow colors Grand Prismatic is known for, definitely hike the overlook trail. This was one of Yellowstone’s best hydrothermal features by far and it did not disappoint.

A Must-See Hydrothermal Feature in Yellowstone National Park

Steamboat Geyser

Location: Norris Geyser Basin

Do you want to witness the tallest active geyser in the world? Head to Norris Geyser Basin and hike the back basin to see the world’s tallest active geyser. Steamboat Geyser has two vents approximately 20 feet apart, a northern and a southern. The north vent is responsible for the tallest water columns while the south vent’s water columns are shorter. The Steamboat Geyser recorded over 40 eruptions recorded annually, however, it isn’t as predictable as other Yellowstone favorites.

Steamboat Geyser, Yellowstone National Park

Old Faithful


Location: Upper Geyser Basin

She’s called Old Faithful for a reason! Since the year 2000, Old Faithful has erupted every 45 minutes to two hours. You can expect 100+ feet of water to erupt every 82 minutes from the first names geyser in Yellowstone National Park. This is a hot spot in the park – meaning it experiences thousands of visitors a day. If you want to experience it up close and personal without too many guests, get there in the early morning hours or around sunset. 

Travertine Terraces


Location: Mammoth Hot Springs

Honestly, the travertine terraces are otherworldly. Walking the boardwalk around Mammoth Hot Springs is such a beautiful, albeit busy, sight to see. This trail is mostly accessible, as it consists of boardwalks and ramps. These ramps, however, have some steep grades! This spot is a must-see as it changes rapidly and drastically. From year to year, you might not recognize the terraces. 

Travertine Terraces, Mammoth Hot Springs

Solitary Geyser

Location: Upper Geyser Basin

When you visit Old Faithful leave the boardwalks and head up the overlook trail. Complete the full loop to not only avoid hundreds of visitors but also see Solitary Geyser. Solitary geyser erupts every 4 to 8 minutes. The geyser only reaches about 6 feet in height, but it’s in a beautiful spot that offers a whole lot of solitude only 20 minutes from the parking lot. 

Solitary Geyser, Yellowstone National Park

Abyss Pool

Location: West Thumb Geyser Basin

When you think of the most picturesque hot spring, this is what comes to mind. See it in real life. The most crystal clear, blue water you will ever see lives in the abyss pool. This 53-foot deep pool holds 1.5 million cubic feet of 181-degree water. The West Thumb Geyser Basin provides really unique views of Yellowstone Lake. 

Canary Hot Spring


Location: Mammoth Hot Springs

You may come to Yellowstone while this fickle Spring is dormant. And if so, that’s alright! It’s located quite close to Travertine Terraces so you won’t have wasted a trip when another of Yellowstone’s must-see hydrothermal features is so near. Canary spring was named for its bright yellow coloring. The yellow coloring comes from sulfur-dependent bacteria; like all of the hot springs, their coloring depends largely on their temperature. Certain colored bacteria thrive in different temperatures which make the pools the colors you see.  

Fishing Cone


Location: West Thumb Geyser Basin

Fishing Cone is a hot spring in West Thumb Geyser Basin. This geyser received its name in the 1900s from fishermen boiling their catch the cone. Earlier in the 20th century, this cone had 40 foot high eruptions, however, it’s a lot more mellow these days. When you pass by on the boardwalk, you’ll notice a lot of little fish enjoying their warm lake water in this area. It’s so neat to see geysers under the surface of Yellowstone Lake. There are such unique hydrothermal features at West Thumb!

Dragon’s Mouth Spring


Location: Mud Volcano

You can find this spring on a heavily trafficked boardwalk loop. Dragon’s Mouth Spring boils out of a deep cave where gasses and steam are released deep in the cave which creates a gurgling noise that is echoed through the cave and can be heard from the boardwalk. The high temperature of the water causes large amounts of steam to rise from the mouth of the cave, like the mouth of a dragon. Dragon mouth Spring has captured the attention of travelers since the early days of the park and continues to do so. 

Dragon’s Mouth Spring, Yellowstone National Park

Exploring Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone’s hydrothermal features aren’t the only amazing aspects of the park. When visiting Yellowstone there are a number of ways you can enjoy the beautiful landscape.

Published by expeditioneducation

Hi there, I'm Kati! I'm an outdoor recreation loving public school teacher who plans epic adventures on her school breaks. If you like to explore and experience beautiful new places on a budget, then let me help you plan your next trip!

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