On our last day in Yellowstone we wanted to get to a couple of areas we hadn’t had time to get to earlier in the trip. We had our breakfast at the Yellowstone Grill as usual and then set off towards our first stop of the day.
We had seen Grand Prismatic Spring from ground level as we were driving into the National Park past the highlights of Yellowstone on the first day but the vantage point was not the greatest for being able to appreciate it fully so today we decided to do the Fairy Falls hike. The first part of this goes along a service road from the parking lot and part way along there was an option to fork off to the left up an incline. This led up to a viewing point that allowed you take in the full beauty of the Midway Geyser Basin and was in my view the best way to see it. If you’re short on time and have to pick how you want to view it then I would definitely pick this option.
The trail then went down the far side of the mound and just further along the service track there was another left turn off towards Fairy Falls. The trail is very flat and easy and winds through the trees until the cliff drop of the falls themselves looms ahead of you. The waterfall is 197 feet high and although it doesn’t have the largest amount of water cascading over the top it is still very picturesque standing at the base of it. There is the option to continue onwards for a longer hike although the trail for this wasn’t overly obvious and we weren’t exactly sure how much further it would go so we made the decision to retrace our steps back the way we had come. The whole route was 5.6miles of flat even terrain (all except for the base area of the falls) making it a nice gentle couple of hours of hiking.
Our other destination for the day was the Artist’s Paintpots which is a 1.1 boardwalk loop to an interesting geothermal area in the park. There are some of the bubbling, water springs steaming there like many of the other basins we had visited, however at the higher points of the trail there were many bubbling mud pools. This was mesmerising to sit and watch and although perhaps not as photogenic as the bluer or more colourful features it was almost comically enjoyable. I would recommend a short stop here on any trip through the park and if you had a full day to drive around can easily be linked with Old Faithful, Grand Prismatic and West Thumb geyser basins.
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