Fountain Paint Pots in Yellowstone National Park is a short, accessible, family friendly walk along mats of microbes featuring sapphire blue pools, boiling water, and the mud pots that give this area its name. Depending upon the time of year you come, the mud pots will look different based upon the amount of water in the ground, so it’s always changing. It’s a popular place, so come early in the morning or in the evening!
On an overcast day in Yellowstone National Park, we started down a boardwalk, just off of the Grand Loop Road for Fountain Paint Pots. The boardwalk hovers over mats of bacteria that thrive on the hot, mineral rich water. These minerals were sucked up into the nearby trees, clogging their systems and robbing them of nutrients, thus killing them. This creates a haunting entry to the pools.
These stands of trees are contrasted by a couple of gorgeous sapphire blue pools with orange and green plant and bacteria life surrounding them. Thus is the craziness of Yellowstone. Just past the first couple springs, you encounter entertaining mud pots that give the Fountain Paint Pots its name. These mud pots boil, pop, gurgle, bubble, throw mud into the air.
Beyond the mud pots lies an assortment of clear pools and frothing, angry, red pools of water that shoots and boils. Another erupting spring just beyond the boardwalk entertains. From here, you look out across a flat that is dotted with plumes of steam from countless vents and springs. It’s a short walk, but the variety of great features make it worth the stop.