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Geyser Basins & Thermal Features

Fountain Paint Pot Self-Guiding Trail

Allow approx.
30-40 minutes for this activity

Fountain Paint Pots Boardwalk
Fountain Paint Pots Boardwalk Fountain Paint Pots Geyser Yellowstone Orientation Map

The Fountain Paint Pot area is very active and displays all four types of thermal features that are found in Yellowstone. On your walk around this half-mile boardwalk you can encounter hotsprings, mudpots, geysers, and fumaroles. Only a few short minutes after you begin your walk, you will be at the Fountain Paint Pots (the area's name sake). The paint pots might be one of Yellowstone's weirdest and funniest thermal feautures. Plopping and bubbling as gasses escape the Earth, the Fountain Paint Pots will be like nothing you've ever seen. The dancing bubbles are at their most active state in the spring, when the melting snow provides abundant water. As the summer sun heats up, the mud gets drier and thicker. You may even see mud on the boardwalk or handrails that has been flung up by the Fountain Paint Pots. Naturally, the thermal features in Yellowstone are constantly changing due to hidden forces under ground. The 1959 Hebgen Lake earthquake was one of these forces that changed the geysers and hotsprings in the Fountain Paint Pot area. Now, you are almost gauranteed a show by Clepsydra Geyser as it erupts almost constantly since the earthquake. Red Spouter didn't even exist before the earthquake, but now is a very active thermal feature that has different personalities. In the spring when water levels are high, Red Spouter displays geyser-like qualities, splashing water a few feet into the air. When the water levels are lower in the summer time, the splashing stops and becomes gurgleing bubbles of mud. Heading into the fall, when there is little water left, Red Spouter resembles a fumarole as steam shoots out of its vents. Pick up a Fountain Paint Pot Area Trail Guide at the beginning of the boardwalk or at any visitor center so you can learn more about the different features and stops around the boardwalk.

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