GRANITE PEAK PUBLICATIONS: Accompanying travelers to the national park since 2002

Hot Springs and Pools of Many Colors

Morning Glory Pool (above left, on an early twentieth-century postcard) was surely the most famous of Yellowstone’s thousands of hot springs for the park’s first one hundred years. After that, the Grand Loop Road was rerouted, so that it no longer goes right past this pool. Having the road moved was a plus for the pool, which had suffered for years from being vandalized by thoughtless tourists. Now, seeing Morning Glory Pool requires a three-mile (5 km) round trip walk or bicycle ride through Upper Geyser Basin at Old Faithful Village.

Diadem Spring (above middle) is a crown jewel of Pocket Basin. Located in Lower Geyser Basin, Pocket Basin is an area that can only be visited on foot, but it contains fascinating mud pots, hot springs, and several geysers. In August 2000, three young people were severely burned walking here at night, and one of them died. If you want to go there, ask a ranger’s advice or go with a knowledgeable person.

Silex Spring

Silex Spring

Silex Spring in the Fountain Paint Pot area usually looks about like this picture (at left), but in summer 2000 it surprised lots of people by erupting spectacularly for a few weeks before settling back to its more usual calm. Visitors have seen further eruptive periods in subsequent years.

Above right you see Mushroom Pool and Dr. Thomas Brock. He and his coworkers found a heat-loving bacterium in this spring in 1965, and, as a result, the whole science of DNA fingerprinting began not long after. Research is continuing on the amazing variety of microorganisms found in Yellowstone. Mushroom Pool is near the wonderful and regularly erupting Great Fountain Geyser in Lower Geyser Basin.

Surprise Pool

Surprise Pool

Surprise Pool’s depth and great heat contribute to its beautiful shade of blue (at right). In addition, this pool is located in an area where the water contains manganese oxide, a mineral that stains surfaces black. The pool’s name came from the sudden bubbling that arises when anything (like the end of a stick) disturbs the superheated water. It’s one of the features along Firehole Lake Drive in the Lower Geyser Basin.

CREDITS: Morning Glory Pool postcard by Detroit Publishing Co.; Silex Spring photo by Bruno Giletti; Diadem Spring and Mushroom Pool photos by Janet Chapple; Surprise Pool photo by Leslie Kilduff.

IN THE GUIDEBOOK: Beauty Pool’s amazing exchange of function with neighboring Chromatic Pool is explained on page 87 of Yellowstone Treasures, sixth edition. See pages 54–59 for the Firehole Lake Drive.

Updated September 8, 2023. Copyright Janet Chapple. All Rights Reserved.