Norris Geyser Basin, the hottest and oldest basin in Yellowstone (VIDEO)

Ever wondered how hot are the geysers in Yellowstone? Norris Geyser Basin, which is the hottest basin in Yellowstone, has recorded temperatures of up to 459 degrees Fahrenheit (237 degree Celsius) just over 1000 feet below the surface! Most geysers in Yellowstone are just below boiling point at 96 degrees Celsius.

It may not be as popular as Upper and Midway Geyser Basins in Yellowstone, but the diversity of springs, geysers and other thermal features in Norris Geyser Basin is definitely unique and worth the trip. We highly recommend spending at least half a day exploring this area.

Along Highway 89 on the way to Norris Geyser Basin, there are three attractions you will not want to miss:

  1. Gibbon Falls is a quick pit stop on the way to Norris, Gibbon Falls Overlook by the parking lot is not to be missed. If you’d like to spend more time here, there is also a 0.5 mile hiking trail.
  2. Beryl Spring is a very active spring that you can see right off the Highway 89 next to the pullout. The sight, sound, and smell of this spring make it hard to miss as you’re driving by!
  3. Artists Paintpots is a small geothermal area consisting of several colorful mudpots with a 1 mile loop trail. On this trail is a viewpoint overlooking the basin, which is a great place for some awesome pictures!
Route from West Yellowstone

Visiting Norris Geyser Basin

The area has two distinct basins – the Porcelain Basin and the Back Basin. Both these areas are easily accessible via a boardwalk that runs through the entire basin. Plan to spend at least 2-3 hours here doing the entire walk around the basin on the boardwalk.

The most popular geyser in the area is Steamboat Geyser, the tallest geyser in the world, with eruptions up to 300 feet high! Even though it attracts many crowds, you have to be extremely lucky for it to erupt when you are near it as it only erupts once in few days and eruptions only last a few minutes. (We missed it by a quarter mile unfortunately).

Make sure to check out the Norris Geyser Museum on the way to the basin. Located right at the entrance of the basin, it’s a great way to familiarize yourself with the geology of the area before heading in to the basin.

Norris Basin And Surrounding Areas In Pictures

View of Norris Basin from the trailhead with a rainbow formed due to the mist formed by the geyser eruption
View of Norris Basin from the trailhead with a rainbow formed due to the mist formed by the geyser eruption
Porcelain Basin Panorama
Porcelain Basin with its amazing colors and acidic waters
Colloidal Pool, Norris Geyser Basin
Colloidal Pool
Hurricane Vent in Norris Geyser Basin
Hurricane Vent
Emerald Spring in Back Basin
Emerald Spring in Back Basin
Back Basin area in Norris Geyser Basin
Back Basin Area
Small geyser erupting in Norris Basin
Vixen Geyser erupting in Norris Basin as we were walking by!
Water erupting from hot springs leaves colorful trails on the ground
Water erupting from hot springs leaves colorful trails on the ground
Water erupting from hot springs leaves colorful trails along the path
Congress Pool – a combination of vibrant red, brown, green and blue!
Turquoise blue waters of geyser in Norris Basin
Turquoise blue waters of Porcelain Spring in Norris Basin
Norris Basin overlook
Norris Basin overlook

Surrounding Areas

Beryl Spring on Hwy 89
Beryl Spring on Hwy 89 is constantly erupting fumes and has that pressure cooker sound and a strong sulphur smell!
Artists Paint Pots
Artists Paint Pots has several of these colorful mud pots scattered all over the area
Artists Paint Pots Loop Trail
Artists Paint Pots Overlook on the Loop Trail
Gibbon Falls, Yellowstone
Gibbon Falls, a quick pit stop along the way to Norris Geyser Basin
View of Gibbon Falls from the viewpoint on Hwy 89
View of Gibbon Falls from the viewpoint on Hwy 89

Share your experience

If you have been to Yellowstone, let us know about your experience in the comments below. We would love to hear from you! If you are planning on visiting Yellowstone, check out our day by day itinerary of our trip.

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Shirish & Olya

Originally from different parts of the world, Shirish & Olya are a married couple based in San Francisco who share a passion for travel, outdoors and landscape photography. In summer of 2019, they hit the road in an RV visiting 19 national parks in US and Canada covering over 10K miles. This trip inspired them to create Outdoorsome, that they built on the road, as a way to help others discover new places around the world.

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