Grand Prismatic Pool third biggest hot spring in the world Yellowstone vivid colors

Location: Yellowstone National Park. Wyoming. US

This hot spring is called Grand Prismatic Pool and is one of the coolest places in Yellowstone. The incredible vivid colors in the spring are the result of pigmented bacteria in the microbial mats that grow around the edges of the mineral-rich water. The color in the microbial mats depends on the ratio of chlorophyll to carotenoids and on the temperature of the water which favors one bacterium (color) over another. In the summer, the mats tend to be orange and red, while in the winter the mats are usually dark green.

The center of the pool is sterile due to extreme heat. The deep blue color of the water in the center of the pool results from the intrinsic blue color of water. Although this effect is responsible for making all large bodies of water blue, it is particularly intense in Grand Prismatic Pool because of the high purity and depth of the water in the middle of the spring.

The spring is approximately 80 by 90 m (250 by 300 feet) in size and 50 m (160 feet) deep. It is the largest hot spring in the United States and the third largest in the world.

The best spot take the best photos of Grand Prismatic Pool?

When you visit the Grand Prismatic Pool and walk on the boardwalks you can observe the different colors and the texture and details of the surface of the pool (see closeup of the hot spring here).

However, the pool is so big that it is hard to appreciate the mix of colors and forms. To have a panoramic view like the photograph above you need to see the pool from the distance. Instead going to the parking of the Grand Prismatic Pool, park your car in the Fairy Falls trail parking lot, just to south of Grand Prismatic Pool. Take the trail about 1 km / 0.6 miles and when you are just south of Prismatic Pool, climb the hill just to the south of the trail until you get a good view.

I recommend wearing at least some kind of trekking shoes as the hill is quite dusty and slippery, with many fallen trees and branches on the floor.

The late summer is the best time to photograph Grand Prismatic Pool. If you visit Yellowstone when the air is too cool, the spring will be shrouded in fog and you will not see much from the hill.

Here you can see other cool photographs of Yellowstone

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