While the wildlife, geysers, and mountainous landscape are reasons enough to visit Yellowstone, it’s the hypnotic coloring of the hot springs and ground that make it exceptionally unique. Here at the Fountain Paint Pot area, pools full of thermophiles—or heat loving bacteria—gather to a form a collection of multi-hued puddles within the earth. Walk past the sky blue, Celestine Pool with its peaceful and tranquil coloring, which is juxtaposed against the Red Spouter that violently splashes red mud. The actual Fountain Paint Pot itself an attraction that varies by season, since the early summer can have mud that’s diluted from rain and melting snow—though by fall the mud has gradually thickened to the point where it bursts and pops. When walking around the Fountain Paint Pot, take a moment to close your eyes and listen to all the sounds, where the fumaroles hiss, the mud gurgles, and the smell of sulfur surrounds you. Also within this half‐mile loop trail is the predictable Fountain Geyser, which will spout water up to 75 feet during a 30‐minute eruption.
The Fountain Paint Pot is located 15 minutes north of Old Faithful on the Lower Loop of Yellowstone’s Grand Loop Road. It’s about 30 minutes from the west entrance gate, and seeing all of the area’s sights will similarly take 30 minutes. Because it’s on the Grand Loop Road, this area is only accessible in summer.