Score massive deals on the best outdoor gear   Get on the GEAR DEALS list   sent weekly to your inbox


Norris Geyser Basin

Norris Geyser Basin pano










Gain (ft)


Loss (ft)

Norris Geyser Basin is the hottest, oldest, and most rapidly changing area in Yellowstone National Park. Most of the thermal features found here are above the boiling point, and the hottest recorded spot in Yellowstone was measured at 459 F just a mere 1000 feet below the surface. Add in the facts that Norris is home to the world’s tallest geyser, has a high concentration of rare acidic geysers, and has been active for over 115,000 years, and it’s easy to justify a longer stop.

Norris Geyser Basin Map Norris Geyser Basin Elevation Profile

Norris is broken down into three areas: Porcelain Basin, Back Basin, and the off-trail and off-limits One Hundred Springs Plain. Everything here is unpredictable. The geysers do not operate on a regular schedule. Sometimes hot springs become muddy pools, and sometimes they decide to erupt. You never know what you’re going to get.

Two short boardwalks to the north of the parking lot direct you through the pale blue pools of Porcelain Basin. This area surges with steam and boiling water hidden just below the surface crust. Congress Pool is a fantastic example of the geothermal disturbances unique to this area. Over the vast majority of the year this pool is a brilliant pale blue, but during short periods in late summer the blue waters turn muddy and start rapidly boiling.

The loop through Back Basin is mostly comprised of now-dormant geysers. These geysers are very acidic, which is usually rare but is found in a high concentration here. Some geysers, such as Echinus, are so acidic they have nearly the PH value of vinegar. While it is unlikely that you will see any eruptions, the loop is well worth a jaunt just for the springs and pools found here. And who knows… You might get lucky!


  • Norris Geyser Basin is located on the central western portion of Grand Loop Road, at the intersection with Norris Canyon Road, 14 miles northeast of Madison and 21 mile south of Mammoth Hot Springs.
  • Driving Directions

    Permits & Fees

  • $30 : Yellowstone National Park Entrance Fee


  • 0.3 : Congress Pool
  • 0.7 : Whale's Mouth
  • 1.1 : Minute Geyser
  • 1.6 : Green Dragon Spring
  • 2.0 : Echinus Geyser
  • 2.2 : Steamboat Geyser


  • May - October