Grand Prismatic Overlook Trail

The colorful waters of Grand Prismatic Spring glowing among the other Midway Geyser Basin features, such as Excelsior Geyser Crater beyond. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Distance: 0.85 miles (one way)

Type: Out and back

Difficulty: Easy

The Grand Prismatic Overlook Trail is a short 0.85 mile hike that brings visitors to a stunning partially aerial view of one of the world’s largest hot springs, Grand Prismatic Spring. The hike is easy going for the bulk of the trail until ascending toward the overlook.

Grand Prismatic Overlook Trail Description

The wide trail begins at the Fairy Falls trailhead and proceeds as it crosses over the Firehole River via a large bridge. The trail is a large gravel road that is also intended for cyclists connecting to the Fountain Flat Drive farther north.

Along the way you’ll walk by various hot springs both large and small as the steam from Grand Prismatic Spring soon comes into view. Shortly after you’ll reach the fork for the overlook on the left that begins ascending up the hill.

Following the trail up yields an occasional glimpse of what’s to come as the trail gains in elevation quick enough to provide a beautiful vantage point, but can easily wear out those who aren’t avid hikers or acclimated to the elevation.

After 0.2 miles of climbing, you’ll reach another small junction with the overlook visibly above and to the right. Follow the trail upward and get treated to what’s become one of the most iconic views in Yellowstone National Park.

Enjoy the view as long as you’d like then either head out the same way you came in, or head right at the junction below the overlook to continue to Fairy Falls.

Getting There

From Old Faithful, head north on the main road for 4.5 miles until you reach the Fairy Falls Trailhead parking area on the left.

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