Access Special Features, Register Now!

Yellowstone National Park: Fountain Paint Pot

With its hissing fumaroles, bubbling mudpots, and propellant geysers, this short boardwalk loop at Fountain Paint Pot serves as a greatest-hits collection of Yellowstone’s geothermal wonders.

Trip Tools

If it’s true that the great outdoors brings you worlds away from everyday life, then Yellowstone’s Fountain Paint Pot—with its noisy fumaroles, bubbling mudpots, and erupting geysers—may as well be in a different universe. This short hike starts with a visit to Celestine Pool and Silex Spring. Stop and gaze into the striking, turquoise waters that characterize these thermal features, but don’t get too close: these hotties flirt with the boiling point on a daily basis.
From here, follow the boardwalk north to the hike’s namesake: Fountain Paint Pot. A living lesson in geology, the Paint Pot owes much of its gurgling charisma to tiny, heat-loving organisms that convert solid rock into bubbling clay. Past the Paint Pot, the boardwalk swings by the ever-changing Red Spouter (a muddy pool in spring and early summer and a hissing fumarole in late summer and fall).
Next, stroll past Jet Geyser, a spring that propels 20-foot-high blasts of water and steam into the air every few minutes. Finish off the tour at a vantage point offering views of the rainbow-like runoff surrounding the Jelly, Clepsydra and Spasm Geysers. Return to the trailhead by following the boardwalk south back to Waypoint 2 and the parking lot.

MORE PARK INFO: Yellowstone National Park, (307) 344-7381;
-Mapped by Jeff Chow

To Trailhead

From West Yellowstone, MT, head east on US 191/West Entrance Rd. In 14 miles, turn right at Grand Loop Rd. Follow 8 miles to the Fountain Paint Pots parking lot on the right.

Leave a Reply