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Norris Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park
Fast Facts




Norris Junction
Yellowstone Nat'l Park
Wyoming 82190
Natural Wonder
Points of Interest Nearby

Child at Steamboat Geyser


Photo by Alfredo De Simone

Norris Geyser Basin may not boast Old Faithful yet it is one of the best places in Yellowstone to see hydrothermal features. Here are six reasons why: 1) Situated at the intersection of Hebgen Lake Fault, Norris-Mammoth Corridor and Yellowstone Caldera, Norris Basin is the hottest and most dynamic thermal area in Yellowstone National Park. 2) The water chemistry at Norris is more diverse than elsewhere and includes acidic geysers, a rare phenomenon. 3) The colors created by thermophiles and minerals are a true rainbow of red, brown, yellow and green. 4) Silicon salts deposited over a multitude of millennium, 115 to be precise, have bleached the basin ash-white. 5) Steamboat Geyser, the tallest, active geyser in the world, erupts regularly to 40 ft (12m) in between its unpredictable spouts 300 ft (91m) high. 6) The wooden boardwalks at Norris Geyser Basin have none of the crowds found at Old Faithful.
Getting There
Norris Geyser Basin is located at Norris Junction and is situated 21 miles (34 km) south of Mammoth Hot Springs, 28 miles (45 km) east of the West Entrance and 30 miles (48 km) northeast of Old Faithful. All routes to Norris are open to wheeled vehicles from mid-April through October. West side roads are open to oversnow vehicles from mid-December to early March.
Getting Around
Norris Geyser Basin is divided into 2 distinct areas: Porcelain Basin and Back Basin. Porcelain Basin Loop is 0.5-miles (0.8 km). While the walk is easy, there is a steep set of stairs at the beginning (down) and end (up). Back Basin Trail is an easy 1.5-mile (2.4 km) loop. If you hike to Green Spring the trail is an additional 0.5 miles (0.8 km) long. Porcelain Basin and Back Basin trails are mixed track: wooden boardwalk and improved path. Steep stairs and uneven ground limit accessibility for both strollers and wheelchairs. The flat, 1-mile (1.6 km) trail from Norris Geyser Basin to Norris Campground is dirt track. Ranger-led walks and talks - offered late May through September - are great way to engage curious kids. NB: Check the ranger station for trail closings before you set out. Be bear aware. Maintain a safe distance from wildlife no matter how cute the critters.
Things to Keep in Mind
The water in the hydrothermal area is scalding. Keep to boardwalks and trails. Swimming and bathing is prohibited in all hot spring pools. Do not throw objects into geothermal features. There is no shade on Norris Geyser Basin boardwalks and there are no concessions in the area. Pack water and snacks. Wear sunscreen and hats. Bison and elk frequent Norris Geyser Basin in winter, spring and fall. Look for killdeer, swallows and dragonflies in summer.
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