Midway Geyser Basin

The Grand Prismatic Spring at Yellowstone National Park is an otherworldly sight of vivid colors and has been featured in nearly every TV program mentioning Yellowstone that I’ve ever seen.  This was the place that I wanted to see above all others, not Old Faithful with its hordes of tourists or the bubbling paint pots or the stepped Mammoth Hot Springs. I wanted to see the amazing splash of colors that is the Midway Geyser Basin and it did not disappoint.

The Excelsior Geyser had some of the deepest blue waters I’ve ever seen.  It also put out huge amounts of steam that reflected the blues and oranges from below, very ethereal and dreamlike.   The full scope of the Grand Prismatic Spring below is hard to see from ground level, you can just make out the rainbow of colors stretching away from you when the wind is blowing just right,  this one you really need to see from the air to fully appreciate but its still worth checking out on foot.

The Midway Geyser Basin was crowded with the narrowish walkways but not too bad compared to Old Faithful.  The parking-lot is relatively small and was filled to overcapacity, times like this is when its really an advantage to be on a motorcycle where you can park anywhere.  Because of the small parking lot I don’t think it could ever get much busier than when we saw it.

We had been seeing these awesome tour buses all day and we finally got some good pictures of one.  The front end reminds me of an old Packard, I love the split windshield.  Every row of seats has its own doors and it has a roll top roof, awesome!  They are only styled to look old, they are modern buses.

See the difference in the above shot vs the below?   The colors are so unnatural and intense that my camera was not picking them up!   It was not until we had gotten mostly through the entire path that I looked at them on the big LCD screen and realized that my photos just weren’t capturing what we were seeing.    Playing with the settings I found a Vivid Color setting on the Canon for better capturing of intense colors and voila, much better and closer to what we were looking at in person.  Unfortunately Cece’s feet were hurting and we didn’t feel like rewalking the entire thing to reshoot pictures.

So all of the deep blues and intense oranges in the other pictures on this page were in reality much deeper and much more vivid, the pictures truly don’t do the springs justice.

I like this old picture of Excelsior Geyser, below and the video is how it normally looks today.   I can only imagine being one of the tourists coming here to see the colors in the nice calm waters when instead… KABOOM!

Hot spring?  Where? I cant see anything in this fog bank.

The wind shifts around a lot, you have to be patient for it to change direction any good pictures or to see much of anything.   I kept worrying about fogging up the camera filters in the clouds of steam but thankfully the pictures came out ok.

Below you can see some of the deeper reds and oranges.  These colors are caused by living microbial mats surviving in the boiling acidic waters that would kill most living things instantly.  Scientists have studied microbes like these that live in extremely harsh environments like the geysers of Yellowstone or the volcanic black smokers under the ocean for clues to how life originated on Earth back when the climate was more like this.  In the below picture you can see the white from the precipitated dissolved minerals left behind where the microbes have died off in the hoof prints of elk that have walked through the shallow pool.

Heres how the famous spring looks from the air where you can see all of it in its glorious beauty,  the walkway in the lower corner is where we were standing.  Much more impressive from the air.

Turquoise Pool, another calm blue gem in the Midway Geyser Basin.

Some cool wildflowers blooming just inches from steaming acidic waters.

1 comment to Midway Geyser Basin

  • Cece E.

    It was so amazing, great fun walking around. The colors of the water was so pretty. But don’t touch it. It will burn your hands. YIKES!
    I enjoyed it very much. If you ever want to go explore. Here’s the place to go. Check it out for yourself.

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