One of the most spectacular features at Yellowstone is the Grand Prismatic Spring.
The spectacular colors in the spring are the result of pigmented bacteria that grow around the edges of the mineral-rich water. The bacteria produce colors ranging from green to red. The deep blue color of the water in the center of the pool results from the intrinsic blue color of water and the high purity and depth of the water in the middle of the spring.
You can view the Grand Prismatic Spring when you visit the Midway Geyser Basin. There is a wonderful boardwalk that takes you along the north edge. The colours are amazing. Unfortunately it is hard to see the entire feature unless you do so from above.
Hike to a Viewpoint – Fairy Falls Trail
There is a popular hiking trail that many people take to view the spring. When I took the hike it was 2.8 km round trip. (Based on GPS iPhone APP)
If you want to try the hike you should park at the Fairy Falls Trail parking lot, which is just south of the Midway Geyser Basin turnoff. The parking lot is always small and it can be very busy. You should try to go in the morning when there is a chance of less hikers.
At the trailhead there is a beautiful green pool. Don’t miss taking a picture!
The trail is fairly flat, but the grade is slight uphill. Look for ospreys in the treetops who are trying to spot their next meal in the nearby creek.
You will walk about 1.2km up the trail when you should notice well worn paths leading off the main trail and up the hill to the left.
The first trail you see leads up to the top of a very high hill. If you walk another 40-60 meters you will see more trails leading up to another hill. This hill is not quite as tall. You can decide which path you take, depending on your fitness and adventurous spirit. I chose the second path.
The path up the hill is strewn with logs. Be careful as you go up. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not very fit, but I made it. I equate the climb to the lower viewpoint to be about 6-8 flights of stairs.
At the top the view is excellent, especially on a sunny day. Your efforts will be rewarded. Make sure you point the camera at yourself and pose with the Grand Prismatic Spring!
The descent is the hard part. My advice is to take it slow and go parallel to the slope as much as you can. If you are wearing hiking boots, or shoes with lugs the descent will be much easier.
Enjoy the hike!