Last updated on September 21st, 2019
The usual photos of the Grand Prismatic Spring are aerial shots that show this highly colorful hot spring from above. The reality is that the highest you can get to see and photograph this spring is about 100 feet from an overlook on an official new trail that the Park District established in 2017. Still, that does not make this iconic hot spring any less impressive.
The largest hot spring in the US and the third largest hot spring in the world is slightly larger than a football field and deeper than a ten story building. It is ringed by a rainbow of colors which are due to heat loving bacteria that act like living thermometers. The hotter orange is due to higher levels of carotenoids preset in the bacteria, while the (somewhat) cooler edges become more reddish green as higher levels of chlorophyll take over.
For the best views, go late in the afternoon so the setting sun is behind you and so that the air temperature is warmer which reduces the amount of steam.
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