West Thumb Geyser Basin

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by slabeaume on July 7, 2002

Driving south from Old Faithful Inn, you'll come to the West Thumb Geyser Basin in about 15 miles. The walkways here are only about 1/2 mile long and on an easy grade. The views all along the pathway here are spectacular---geysers, pools, Yellowstone lake, flora!

West Thumb Geyser Basin consists of a narrow strip of geysers, hot springs and a few mud pots and is located on the west shore of the "West Thumb" portion of Yellowstone Lake. The lake views add to this very beautiful area. West Thumb is actually a caldera within a larger caldera. If you look closely, you'll even be able to see evidence of hot springs coming up along the lakes edge here. One geyser near the edge use to even be used by fisherman to cook their catch right on the line.

The impressive colors of the pools in Yellowstone are dependant on what grows in them. Thermophiles (heat-loving microorganisms) have different colors and grow in different temperatures. Usually, green and brown organisms grow in cooler water; orange and yellow ones live in hotter water. Not many live in near boiling temperatures, so these springs look clear blue. We didn't see any geysers erupting in this area, but the colors in the pools were beautiful.

THis is also one of the few areas that we saw a lot of flowers. There was a carpet of little yellow flowers surrounding many of the pools while we were there in July.

Another do not miss area!

West Thumb Geyser Basin
by Yellowstone Lake
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming


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