You Haven’t Truly Seen Yellowstone National Park Until You’ve Visited These 9 Stunning Hot Springs (Photos)

Yellowstone National Park is famous for many things, but the many hot springs it hides are some of the most breathtaking you’ll ever see.

From the iconic Grand Prismatic Spring’s rainbow colors to the awesome beauty of the Emerald Spring, you haven’t truly visited Yellowstone until you’ve seen its most stunning natural hot springs.

In this guide, we’ll detail Yellowstone’s nine best natural hot springs including photos, locations and interesting facts about each.

Grand Prismatic Spring

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Located in the Midway Geyser Basin, Grand Prismatic Spring is Yellowstone’s largest hot spring and the third-largest in the world. 

Its vibrant colors, ranging from blue to orange, are due to microbial mats around the edges, changing with the seasons. 

A boardwalk offers up-close views, but for a more panoramic perspective, a hike to the nearby overlook provides a breathtaking vista of this natural wonder.

Emerald Spring

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Emerald Spring, found in the Norris Geyser Basin, is a deep, 27-foot pool with an enchanting emerald hue, created by sunlight filtering through its clear, chlorophyll-rich waters. 

The spring’s temperature, around 154°F, supports less bacterial life than hotter springs, preserving its vivid color. 

Trails around Norris offer views of this serene spring alongside the area’s other geothermal features.

Firehole Swimming Area

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The Firehole Swimming Area, located along the Firehole River, is a unique spot where visitors can swim in naturally warm waters, thanks to the runoff from nearby hot springs and the Excelsior Geyser.

This is one of just two areas in Yellowstone where tourists can legally and safely swim.  Water temps can rise as high as 86 °F (30 °C), depending on conditions.

Open during the summer months, it’s a perfect place to enjoy Yellowstone’s natural warmth in a river setting. 

Safety is paramount, so swimmers are reminded to heed current conditions and regulations during their visit.

Minerva Terrace

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Minerva Terrace, part of the Mammoth Hot Springs area, showcases a stunning array of travertine terraces formed by mineral-rich water cascading over limestone. 

The terraces’ striking colors come from thermophilic bacteria, creating a living, changing landscape. 

Visitors can explore via boardwalks, witnessing the dynamic nature of these formations and the steamy waters that sculpt them year-round.

Morning Glory Pool

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The Morning Glory Pool, in the Upper Geyser Basin, is a beautifully colored hot spring, named after its resemblance to the morning glory flower. 

Over the years, its colors have changed due to foreign objects thrown into the pool, affecting the bacterial makeup. 

A walk on the boardwalk allows visitors to appreciate its beauty and learn about the delicate balance of this thermal feature.

Sapphire Pool

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Sapphire Pool, located in the Biscuit Basin, is named for its striking, sapphire-blue water. 

A powerful eruption in 1959 changed its appearance, but it remains a stunning sight, with its clear, deep blue waters surrounded by white sinter deposits. 

The boardwalk around Biscuit Basin offers a safe way to admire Sapphire Pool and the surrounding geysers and hot springs.

Crested Pool

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Crested Pool, situated near Old Faithful in the Upper Geyser Basin, is a large hot spring known for its dangerously high temperatures and deep, crystal-clear blue water. 

A notable feature is its “crest” of geyserite around the edge, formed by centuries of mineral deposition. 

Viewing platforms allow visitors to safely observe this boiling pool and its occasional eruptions, which can reach heights of several feet.

Black Pool

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Black Pool, also in the West Thumb Geyser Basin, was once cooler, allowing dark algae to thrive and give it its name. 

However, recent temperature increases have cleared the pool, revealing a stunning, deep blue color. 

Walking paths around West Thumb provide up-close views of Black Pool, alongside other geothermal features with the backdrop of Yellowstone Lake enhancing its beauty.

Beryl Spring

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Beryl Spring is located just off the Grand Loop Road, between Madison and Norris. 

Known as one of the park’s hottest springs, with temperatures often exceeding 196°F, its steamy, turquoise waters are a sight to behold. 

Despite its accessibility, Beryl maintains a wild essence, surrounded by the untouched beauty of Yellowstone, making it a quick yet unforgettable stop.