Yellowstone Fountain Paint Pots Trail

Yellowstone fountain paint pots trail sign

The small sign on the side of the road leading you into the paint pots trail parking area.

This trail can be found near the West entrance to Yellowstone. It is a truly amazing place that has a good representation of the geothermal features you can find within the park. The fountain paint pots trail is well worth the stop. Within this trail you will find several geysers, some bacteria mats, fumeroles and a couple amazing bright blue hot pools.

In the video above you will see many of the geysers and attractions that this trail offers. If you don’t want to watch the video keep reading, because we are going to take a virtual tour through the entire Fountain paint pots trail right here.

Boardwalk going through fountain paint pots trailSilex spring hot spring in Yellowstone

Silex Spring

As you are walking down the first portion of the trail you will come to Silex Spring. This bright blue hot pool has a bottom lined in silica. The latin name for silica is silex, which is how this stunning hot pool got it’s name. The edges and surrounding area of the Silex pool are covered in heat loving bacteria. The various colors of this bacteria prefer different temperatures. The brown bacteria around the perimeter of the pool likes cooler temps than many bacteria in this area.

The Fountain Paint Pot

Yellowstone fountain paint pots - Boiling clay

Acids in the steam and water break down rocks and minerals to form this clay. In the early spring (as shown here and in the above video) the mus is quite thin from large amounts of snow runoff. During the hot summer and fall, the paint pots are more of a dried thick cracked mud with an occasional spurt. To see the mud pots in their glory, I recommend visiting this area in April or May.

Boiling clay, which is actually melted rock in the Yellowstone paint pots

The boiling paint pots in mid April 2016.


A fumerole found in Yellowstone

Gas, steam, hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide rushes out of a fumerole vent with loud hissing noises.

Gases and steam from deep within the earth escape at these fumeroles. You can clearly hear the hissing of the hot gasses escaping. Any water that enters a fumerole will quickly flash into steam.

Jet Geyser

Jet geyser a few mintes before eruptionThis small geyser can burst water up to 20′ in the air. It erupts fairly often in the time leading up to the fountain geysers eruption. You can see it erupt in the video near the top of this page.

Morning Geyser

Yellowstones Morning geyserThis is a truly massive spectacle when it goes off. Of all of Yellowstone’s geysers, the morning is one of the largest. It rarely ever erupts, so if you get to see it you are quite fortunate. You can watch an eruption in a video located at the Yellowstone geysers page.

Clepsydra Geyser

Clepsydra Geyser erupting at the fountain paint pot nature trailThis geyser erupts regularly and puts on a nice show. You can see water spraying in every direction. Watch the Yellowstone Clepsydra Geyser erupt at this video.

This page certainly doesn’t show all of the amazing geologic features you can find at Yellowstone’s Paint Pots Trail, but you have gotten a taste of what it has to offer. This is a remarkable place in the park and I hope you get a chance to see it with your own eyes, you won’t regret it.

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