Visitors to America’s First National Park have a new trail to take in the splendor and beauty of one of the world’s most-iconic Hot Springs. Located at the Midway Geyser Basin next to the Firehole River, the Grand Prismatic Hot Spring has been captivating visitors to the park since it was first viewed. Now, thanks to a joint effort between Yellowstone National Park, Montana Conservation Corps and Yellowstone’s Youth Conservation Corps anew viewpoint platform and path lead to a breathtaking view of this gorgeous region. 

Midway Geyser Basin may not seem like much from the road, this area on the Firehole River is nearly as important to see as Old Faithful. While there are numerous pretty sights at Midway, including watching hot water get dumped into the much cooler Firehole River, there are two main attractions. First is Excelsior Geyser, which is a huge crater (200 by 300 feet) that pumps over 4,000 gallons of water each minute into the river. While that is rad, it isn’t as impressive as the size and colors of Grand Prismatic Spring.

Grand Prismatic isn’t just the largest hot spring in Yellowstone; it is also one of the most photographed hot springs in the world. At 370 feet in diameter and over 121 feet deep, the mind has a difficult time comprehending the awesomeness that this place is. While most see the giant hot springs from the boardwalk that rests along its edge, a handful of visitors world always try to trek up the nearby hillside for a unique view and picture opportunity. Because of the damage to the hillside and visitor safety concerns from off-trail travel on the hills south of Grand Prismatic Spring,  Yellowstone National Park constructed the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook Trail.

The Yellowstone Grand Prismatic Overlook Trail. NPS Image.

The new trail gradually climbs 105 feet over 0.6 miles from the Fairy Falls Trailhead to an overlook with views of Midway Geyser Basin. The parking area here is small and crowds will be common for pretty much the entire day during the summer months. To best see this feature, arrive early in the morning and be patient. To alleviate traffic congestion, safety concerns, and resource impacts, the park also made a parking area near the Fairy Falls Trailhead at Midway Geyser Basin. However, as we mentioned, parking is very limited at this popular destination.

The trail and overlook protects a heavily visited part of the park. Superintendent Dan Wenk remarked that the trail and overlook, “provide a different view of Grand Prismatic Spring and minimize the growth of unsightly, unofficial social trails in the process.”
Yellowstone National Park is wanting all visitors to remember a few things before going to this region. They tell The Outdoor Society that they would like visitors to the region and the park to “Please pack your patience. Anticipate traffic, limited parking, and delays at this and other popular park destinations.”

This new overlook needs to be added to your itinerary and Yellowstone needs to be visited often. If you have never visited Yellowstone or want to take an amazing road trip, consider picking up my guidebook, Road Trip: Seattle to Yellowstone. From highlighting ridiculously awesome spots along the drive to detailed information about everything Yellowstone, the guidebook is positively the prettiest resource you will use to plan your Yellowstone adventure. Highlights from inside the park, summaries of the best trails, geysers, campgrounds and more help make Road Trip: Seattle to Yellowstone the perfect road trip accessory. Get inspired to visit Yellowstone today.


After having been to Yellowstone over 30 times in 20 years,  I have put on the miles, stopped at nearly every gas station, rest stop and scenic area from Seattle, Washington to Gardiner, Montana. I have stayed in the campgrounds, eaten at the restaurants and experienced the lodges.

I know Yellowstone, I know the drive and I want to share it with you. The information I give has no hidden agenda. I want to give you the best trip to Yellowstone from Seattle as possible and this guidebook can do that.