Paint Pots of Bubbling Mud

The boardwalk around Fountain Paint Pots was almost an afterthought; a quick stop on our last day. It isn’t one of the “top sights” in Yellowstone, but what it does have is panoramic views across the plains. So if you’re after a photo of herds of bison in the background, with a geyser in the foreground, this could be a good call.

Silex Spring

One of the main attractions of the Fountain Paint Pots at Yellowstone is the massive bubbling mud pools,but when we went these were pretty dried up. I guess in the spring they would be wetter and therefore bubblier! 🙂 Luckily we had already seen some decent bubbling mud in New Zealand so we weren’t too upset.

Mud Pool

There are lots of crystal blue springs at Fountain Paint Pots. However their beauty should not be mistaken for safety, as they are also boiling hot. In 1981 a man dived into a brilliantly blue pool called Celestine Pool to rescue a dog. The pool is over 200 degrees Farenheit and he sadly died from his burns.

The boardwalk at Fountain Paint Pots is fairly small so it only takes about 10-15 minutes to get round. It is worth a short stop, and as long as you stay on the boardwalks you should be fine!

This was quite a touristy spot (well, I guess no more so than the other geyser Basins in Yellowstone, but because this is a small area, I noticed it more). A coachload arrived just as we did, but this was no bad thing; they were very sweet and many of them offered to take a photo of me and my BF, at several points around the small boardwalk. If I’d known I was going to have so many photos taken I would have made more of an effort to dress nice that day 🙂

Geyser

Geyser and Praire

We drove down the nearby Firehole Drive (view of Firehole Falls – a nice waterfall ) and also stopped at Artists Paint Pot. This is a reasonable walk from the main road and I was somewhat distracted as I knew there was a wildfire on the loose over the hill. Of course, it was miles away, but we could see the plume of smoke as we drove there. This caused me to be a pretty scared, despite the reassurances from the park rangers. I had to explain the saying “spreads like wildfire” to my BF – it means it spreads quickly!!

Wildfire

Nevertheless, we were fine and managed to get around the Artists Paint Pots. The bubbling mud was mostly dried up here as well, but would doubtless be more spectacular in the spring.

Overall, if you’re short on time then you could skip this and just go for the main “big sights” of Old Faithful and the Upper Geyser Basin, but if you have a spare half-hour, the Fountain Paint Pots in the Lower Geyser Basin is well worth a stop. Ditto for Artists Paint Pot, but this requires a bit more fitness due to the half-mile walk to it, so you’d need to allow around an hour for this.

Next blog: Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone, WY, USA

Previous blog:  Morning Glory Pool, Yellowstone, WY, USA

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