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Sep 05

Artists Paint Pots: Bringing out the Colors in Yellowstone

Milky Blue PoolsArtists Paint Pots is a just short hike to a great collection of dozens of geothermal features including springs, geysers, vents, and the highly entertaining mud pots.  Despite its very colorful features Artists Paint Pots is often overlooked by tourists to Yellowstone National Park and while you will probably not have the entire area to yourself it felt more like I was in nature than some of the more popular areas like Old Faithful and Mammoth Hot Springs.Mudpot CloseupThe trail that takes you from the parking lot to Artists Paint Pots is a little under a mile and a half in length and for the most part flat and on a boardwalk.  There is one steep little section towards the back of the geothermal feature that goes up the hill and, depending on your ability and time, can be bypassed and you will still see much of the area.  I recommend going up the hill to get a chance to see all of the features in the area especially the mud pots, but if you are not able to make it up the steep incline Artists Paint Pots is still worth a visit.Geothermal FeaturesAt Artists Paint Pots you will see a variety of colors from milky blues to a vibrant mix of reds and browns.  The bubbling water and mud will filll even the oldest at heart with a sense of childlike wonder.  Myself and my one year old had the same “ooohh” expression as we looked at natures display.  This area suffered during the devastating 1988 forest fires that swept the area so it is a good place to see how nature bounces back with the many young lodge pole pines that are now growing there.  Of course, this area is geothermal so you are going to have that rotten eggs smell that comes with it.  Though on our visit it did not seem as bad as some of the other areas of the park, remember that toxic gases do exist in Yellowstone so if at any time you start to feel sick leave the area immediately.Mom and M at Artists Paint PotsI remember the first time I took my wife to Yellowstone and several times during the trip she would remark that it was like traveling to another planet.  Yellowstone National Park is a very special place and every time I get to see these unique areas full of mud pots, springs, and geysers those words my wife said on our first trip ring true all over again.Springs Run OffIf you are interested in learning more about the particular different types of geothermal features that can be found at Artists Paint Pots, the Montana State University maintains a database on this area.  You can find out more and see a picture of almost all of the 66 geothermal features by clicking on the link   http://www.rcn.montana.edu/resources/features/gsearch.aspx?nav=11&gsearch=artists%20paint%20potsArtists Paint PotsRemember that you are in wild country and it can be dangerous if you do not use common sense and sound judgment.  Not only are the animals wild but so is the land and getting too close to either can make a great vacation go sour and even be deadly real quick.  Animals will protect themselves, their area, and young while the geothermal areas are fragile and dangerous so stay on assigned paths.  If you use caution and are prepared Yellowstone will be a great life experience and please leave it just as you found it so the next person can enjoy.  Happy Travels!!!

To read our reviews of other things to see or do in Yellowstone National Park click here or you can go to the park’s official website at http://www.nps.gov/yell/index.htmPath UpArtists Paint Pots
Located about 4 Miles South of Norris on Madison Road
A little over a mile round trip trail
Easy Level Trail with an area of short steep elevation
45 to 60 minutes

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