Here in Yellowstone’s Norris Geyser Basin, there’s a notable stench of fresh sulphur that wafts on the crisp mountain air. That’s because the geysers here are some of the hottest within Yellowstone National Park, as well as the oldest, tallest, most acidic, and prone to frequent change. This section of the park is believed to have hot springs that are 115,000 years old, and is also home to Steamboat Geyser—which is the tallest geyser in the world. Unlike the famous Old Faithful, however, Steamboat Geyser has an eruption schedule that’s variable and tough to predict, though when it explodes it can send water upwards of 380 feet in the air. The Echinus Geyser in the Norris Geyser Basin is the largest acidic geyser in the world, and the core temperature of the earth surrounding it is some of the hottest in the park. Given the elevated levels of heat, this geyser basin is also one of the park’s most likely to change, where hot springs can suddenly turn into fumaroles and geysers can spout without warning. For the best way to experience the basin, enjoy the two miles of boardwalk trails that weave past the geysers and hot springs, stopping to take photos, marvel at the view, and sniff the sulphur on the air.
The Norris Geyser Basin is located 35 minutes south from Mammoth Hot Springs, and about 55 minutes north of Old Faithful and West Yellowstone. It’s on the western side of the upper loop of the Yellowstone’s Grand Loop Road, and for detailed info on the Norris Geyser Basin, visit the Norris Geyser Basin Museum—listed on the National Register of Historic Places.