Active earthquake area leading to thermal imbalance; Combination of rare acidic and alkaline geysers; One of Yellowstone’s hottest geothermal areas; Ever-changing geysers and hot springs; Intersection of three major faults – That’s Norris Geyser Basin in a nutshell.
The Norris Geyser Basin is easily accessible within a short 30-min drive either from Canyon Area or from Mammoth Hot Springs Area. The trail gets super-hot during summer with no shade at all. Bring your caps (hold on to them on windy days) and water bottles before you begin this short hike to explore the Norris Geyser Basin.
Start your hike from the Porcelain Basin Overlook just a little past the museum; the overlook provides an excellent view of the Basin, full of life with geysers, hot springs, fumaroles and mud pots. To me, the blue pools were the most attractive of all. You’ll see how nature had played around with the different colors, formed by different chemicals and micro-organisms that thrive in the heat.
My personal favorites in the Porcelain Basin are the Porcelain Springs, Constant Geyser and Crackling Lake. I love how the salts containing sulfur, arsenic and boron play, creating patches of brilliant blue color amidst the white basin in Porcelain Springs. Unlike how the name sounds, the Constant Geyser is not constantly erupting. However it can surprise you by its sudden, short eruptions. Crackling Lake looks quiet and peaceful from the boardwalk, but look a little far behind to see the spring water bubbling.
After completing the Porcelain Basin loop, walk through the Back Basin to see other geothermal features. The lovely green Emerald Spring is not to be missed. Steamboat Geyser, whose last major eruption was in 2014, still sends out minor eruptions. Echinus Geyser, which once erupted regularly is also a popular feature in the basin. Porkchop Geyser, although not very clearly seen from the boardwalk emanates a brilliant blue color. We were fortunate to see the tall and narrow eruption of Vixen Geyser.
What did YOU think of Norris Geyser Basin? Will you come here when you visit Yellowstone?