As it goes in Yellowstone National Park, there are many hot springs to see!
And possibly the BEST hot spring to see in Yellowstone National Park is the Grand Prismatic Spring in Midway Geyser Basin!
The Grand Prismatic Spring is Yellowstone’s most famous hot spring. It’s also said to be the largest hot spring in Yellowstone. Seeing this hot spring is among the best things to do in Yellowstone.
And, a GREAT way to see the Grand Prismatic Spring is from above!
Share the Grand Prismatic Spring video with the people you’ll be traveling to Yellowstone with!
Grand Prismatic Spring hike: Hiking along the Midway Geyser Basin to get to the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook from Fairy Falls trailhead
In order to see the Yellowstone’s most famous hot spring from above, you’ll need to hike to it!
You will start the hike to the Grand Prismatic Spring from the Fairy Falls trailhead (map). (This is different from the Grand Prismatic Spring parking lot (map), which is where to go if you want to see the spring from ground level.)
Then from the Fairy Falls trailhead, you will start hiking along the Midway Geyser Basin to get to the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook.
The Grand Prismatic Spring Trail is listed as 1.6 miles round trip.
And, when you see a thermal area near hot springs in Yellowstone… stay on the trail! Thermal areas can be HOT and dangerous.
Best time of day to see Grand Prismatic Spring
Weather in Yellowstone can make a difference in how the Grand Prismatic Spring looks when you see it!
You notice steam in these pictures. In addition to the Grand Prismatic Spring steam, there’s noticeable steam coming off of the Excelsior Geyser Crater behind it.
The air temperature was on the cooler side.
So it’s better to see Grand Prismatic Spring when the temperature has warmed up.
The other thing that can make a big difference in the way Grand Prismatic Spring looks is the lighting of the sun. The more sunlight there is, the more colorful the Grand Prismatic Spring will look.
For these reasons of temperature and sun, the best time of day to see Grand Prismatic Spring can be midday on a sunny day.
For reference, my visit to the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook was in early October around 2pm. It was in the high 50s F at that time, almost in the 60s.
More below about a hike on the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook trail!
Plan more of your trip to Yellowstone and beyond:
- Easy-going one day in Yellowstone National Park
- Best places to visit in Wyoming with VIEWS!
- Driving from Devils Tower to Yellowstone
- Driving from Mount Rushmore to Yellowstone
- Driving from Chicago to Yellowstone
- Best places to visit in South Dakota with VIEWS!
Save the Yellowstone video playlist to watch on youtube later!
You can have a perfect one day in Yellowstone driving from the west entrance and following the road down south... or entering from the south entrance and following the road up north aka driving from Grand Teton to Yellowstone!
👆 Explore the Grand Teton National Park map on google maps!
Also note: If you are using google maps to plan driving directions through Grand Teton National Park and it's showing you no driving directions exist, it is probably because of a closed road in the winter! If you are planning ahead for your spring or summer Wyoming national parks road trip, adjust the departure date (default is "leave now") to a random date in the summer!
Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook Trail: Hiking to see Grand Prismatic Spring
There is a stretch of road along the western side of the Yellowstone Grand Loop Road that has a number of popular thermal basins.
The Grand Prismatic Spring is located in one of these popular thermal basins. It is a part of the Midway Geyser Basin.
When you’re driving, you’re not looking for the sign for the Midway Geyser Basin though if you’re wanting to hike to the overlook!
To start the hike to the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook, you’ll look for the sign for the Fairy Falls Trail. This will be a turn off of the main road.
It is also possible to see the Grand Prismatic Spring from ground level. That is in a separate area just down the road from the Fairy Falls trailhead, and for that, you will look for signs for the Midway Geyser Basin.
You won’t see a sign for the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook Trail as you’re driving along the road, so be sure to remember that it’s Fairy Falls!
Then you’ll drive into the parking lot. There are 2 sections. One is a small loop road with limited parking spots. If that’s full, you can try the other larger parking lot that’s connected.
And then you can head towards the trailhead! You’ll pass by some hot springs on your way to start the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook Trail too.
And then off you go to hike to the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook!
The trail starts by crossing a bridge over the Firehole River.
And then maybe after walking on the trail for around 10 minutes or so, you will come to a trail junction with trail sign posts with the direction to the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook and to Fairy Falls.
So you’ll follow the signs to the overlook!
From here, it’s basically all up hill. It might take you 5-10 minutes to walk the rest of the way to the overlook.
Along the way, you can start to see a glimpse of the bright blue hot spring!
And then the trail will loop back around for the final hike up to the overlook!
And then you’ve made it to the overlook platform that you’ll share with others! 😜
And then you can try to squeeze in for a perfect picture of the Grand Prismatic Spring!
And then after you’ve taken in the views around the of the Grand Prismatic Spring from above, back down you go!
It took me a little over 15 minutes to hike from the Fairy Falls trailhead to the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook.
So in total, it could be good to give yourself at 45 minutes to an hour for the whole Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook hike, including time you’ll spend at the overlook.
And that’s a bit about a hike to see the most popular hot springs in Yellowstone from above!
See more hot springs in Yellowstone:
See more geyser basins in Yellowstone:
- Upper Geyser Basin to see the popular Old Faithful Geyser
- Biscuit Basin to see Jewel Geyser
- Black Sand Basin to see Cliff Geyser
- Lower Geyser Basin to see the Clepsydra Geyser, the Great Fountain Geyser, and the White Dome Geyser
Plan more of your trip to Yellowstone:
- How to spend one day in Yellowstone
- Grand Teton to Yellowstone
- One day in Grand Teton
- Driving through Grand Teton
- Yellowstone to Craters of the Moon
HAPPY SEEING THE GRAND PRISMATIC SPRING!