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Yellowstone National Park: Norris Geyser Basin (Back Basin)

String together an impressive collection of thermal features on this cruisy, 1.7-mile loop in Yellowstone National Park’s Norris Geyser Basin.

Rating

This 1.7-mile lasso loop in Norris Geyser Basin visits the ever-changing thermal features of Back Basin. Boasting the hottest thermal landscape in Yellowstone National Park, Norris Geyser Basin is a memorable stop on your park tour. From the parking area, head west to the Norris Geyser Basin Museum. At the museum, take the left-most path downhill, then veer left at the next junction to enter the stark expanses of Back Basin.
After 0.3 mile, the route passes Steamboat Geyser, the tallest active geyser in the world. If you’re lucky enough to catch the spectacular show, you’ll see steaming, mineral-rich water shoot up to 300 feet in the air. Roughly 200 feet later, make a stop at Cistern Spring, a pool linked to Steamboat Geyser through underground channels. At mile 0.4, the path passes, the largest known acid-water geyser: Echinus Geyser. Once a major attraction and show of force, Echinus’ past eruptions lasted up to 118 minutes.
From here, the route cruises past Arch Steam Vent, Black Hermit Caldron, Blue Mud Steam Vent, Yellow Funnel Spring, and Porkchop Geyser. At mile 1.1, continue straight at the 3-way and begin the climb back to the museum. Leave the heart of the basin and enter a forested area where geysers steam left and right. Four geysers—and 0.4 mile later—turn right at a 4-way junction and head south to reconnect with Norris Geyser Basin Museum. Stop to check out the museum’s exhibits before to returning to the trailhead.

MORE PARK INFO: Yellowstone National Park, (307) 344-7381; nps.gov/yell/.
-Mapped by Jeff Chow

To Trailhead

From Gardiner, MT, head south on US 89. In roughly 26 miles, turn right at Norris Canyon Rd. Follow 0.3 mile to parking area.

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