Hiking near Geothermal Areas in Yellowstone
Yellowstone Thermal Features

Yellowstone Geothermal Features

Yellowstone is a geologic wonderland. It contains nearly half of the worlds geothermal features which are spread out over several major basins throughout the Park's 2.2 million acres. There are over 300 geysers and more than 10,000 unique thermal features that make up this one-of-a-kind ecosystem. The incredibly dynamic and ever changing landscape is powered by unseen volcanic activity located below the earth's mantle. A giant magma chamber or hot spot provides the heating mechanism that powers all of Yellowstone's geothermal activity. Large steam vents know as fumaroles, bubbling mud pots, turbulent geysers and colorful hot springs all contribute to the unusual and often eerie landscapes found within the park.

While traveling in the backcountry you may come across a variety of geothermal activity and you should exercise extreme caution when hiking near these more remote thermal areas. In some instances the ground surrounding many of these locations is very brittle and may weaken and give way under your weight so keep your distance and avoid the temptation to take a closer look. Water temperatures at many hot springs are often well above the boiling point and you could suffer severe burns or worse if you fall in. Many people have died in Yellowstone for this very reason.

Wading or bathing in thermal pools is prohibited except at certain locations within the park and even then you are advised to do so at your own risk.


Norris Geyser Basin, Yellowstone





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