There’s a new must-do hike in Yellowstone National Park, and it’s easy enough for almost everyone. The Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook trail was added in 2018, and it was exactly what we were looking for. For years we’ve been frustrated with Grand Prismatic Spring because if you walk out there all you see is a lot of mist and steam with a beautifully colored pool hiding underneath. This hike allows you to see those beautiful colors from above, and it isn’t too difficult.
- Distance: 1.2 miles RT
- Difficulty: easy to moderate
- Elevation change: 105 feet (all in one climb)
- Location: Midway Geyser Basin at Fairy Falls Trailhead
- Tips: There is no shade, so be prepared with hats, sunscreen, and water.
The most difficult part will be finding a parking spot because this trail shares the trailhead with Fairy Falls, which is already plenty busy. From the parking area, follow the trail toward Fairy Falls for a little less than a half mile. There is a signed fork to the left which takes you up to the overlook. The climb is short, but quite steep, as it curls up the ridge to allow you to look down into the pool.
It is absolutely stunning to look down at Grand Prismatic Pool from above. The entire pool is a rainbow. This quickly became our favorite hike in Yellowstone, and we’ve done a bunch! (See our Yellowstone Kid Hikes page.)
The trail is always busy, so there are a lot of people taking pictures and crowding the overlook, but most people are pretty patient and willing to snap a family photo for you.
From the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook you can go back the way you came or continue down the trail. If you choose to continue, you’ll return back down the ridge to a spot farther down the Fairy Falls trail, which makes it really easy to pair these two hikes. Beware, though, as Fairy Falls is significantly longer (5.0 miles RT).
We’ve been to Yellowstone so many times, but this new trail is an absolute must for everyone, whether you’re going to Yellowstone for the first time, or making a visit to an old familiar love like we are!