Yellowstone National Park ~ Norris Geyser Basin

July 7th ~ Norris Geyser Basin

We spent part of the day exploring Norris Geyser Basin. Not too exciting to be honest, at least compared to my favorites between Madison Junction and Old Faithful. Although it is the most acidic of the basins, the main showpieces are dormant and erupt rarely.

WARNING: Do not allow spray from any of the geysers land on your glasses or camera lens. It is highly acidic and can damage or destroy them if not wiped clean immediately.

Still, there are a few features that are noteworthy, at least for geyser lovers… 

Map of Norris Basin, courtesy of Yellowstone NP

First off, Norris Basin is divided in to two sections. The northern, flatter section is named Porcelain Basin. It is wide open and sits below the entrance/museum area. To complete the loop is about a 1/2 mile walk.

Porcelain Basin

The larger Back Basin is where the stars reside. Or at least they were stars in their heyday. One thing about Yellowstone, it is constantly changing. What is dormant today, may spring back into life at any moment.

There are two loops to take in Back Basin. The shorter 1 mile or slightly longer 1.5 mile paths are partly in the shade which will give some relief during the heat of the day.

Steamboat Geyser

Steamboat Geyser is the world’s tallest active geyser. But active is a key word in this sentence, as the last time it had a major eruption (which can be 300 – 385 feet high), was on September 3, 2014. Steamboat does have frequent minor blasts however of 10-40 feet just to let us know she is still brewing.

Cistern Spring

The cisterns brown, orange and green colors are algae and bacteria, each requiring a different temperature to survive in. What is unique about this is that these tiny organisms can live in an environment too hot for humans to tolerate. But beyond the beautiful colors, their real value is that the bacteria produce an enzyme that is now being used in medical research in testing for the virus that causes aids and for “DNA” fingerprinting.

Echinus Acid Geyser

Echinus is the most acidic of all of the geysers in Yellowstone. It used to erupt regularly in the 1990’s, but now is totally unpredictable with days, weeks, even months between eruptions.

Green Dragon Spring

“Except on warm summer afternoons, steam frequently fills the cavern of this intriguing hot spring. Visitors must wait patiently for a glimpse of the sulfur-lined cave and boiling green water.” ~ US National Park Service

Milky Blue Lake

Although I did not see a name for this small lake, I thought the color was visually pleasing.

Vixen Geyser

Named for it’s temperamental, spitfire activity, this little lady frequently shoots up small bursts, but major events are also rare and unpredictable.

The afternoon was spent catching up with way too much laundry. There is a large laundromat in the Campground section of the park at Canyon Village. It is not cheap, but convenient. A load of wash was $2.75 and dryer $2.00.

We had planned on visiting the falls afterwards, but the heavens opened up and it poured. With skies darkened and threats of more showers, we headed back to our RV instead.

We did see this little guy though sometime along the way.


GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for a wardrobe full of easy “wash and wear” clothing that do not require any special treatment. I did bring a tiny iron as well as a steamer, but have yet to break them out of the drawer. Perhaps I should on occasion, but hopefully the few wrinkles will not be too visible in the pictures, and if they are that we might be forgiven.

This was our last day/night at Norris Campground. Next stop: Mammoth Hot Springs up in the far north-west corner of Yellowstone.


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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our latest adventure. We hope you will join us!
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17 Responses to Yellowstone National Park ~ Norris Geyser Basin

  1. mike alesko says:

    I’ve been looking for starched creases in your clothing…lol. BTW, I’m curious, do you ever find the camper cramped or confining? Besides mobility, what are you finding to be the fun things about it?


    • You may be waiting for a while to see any starched creases 😳 No, the main room of the RV seems fine. The bathroom however is very small and I definitely would look for larger there in a future addition. I also would love more storage and counter space for the kitchen, but we are learning how to work with the space we have. I think what I appreciate the most is the incredible freedom this gives us. We can sleep in our own comfortable bed each night. I can fix meals for us where I can control the ingredients, making sure Tim does not get any allergic reaction. It is also economically friendly. Hotel rooms even for basic accommodations are very pricey – especially in or near the National Parks. With my senior card, most nights are $10 -$15. We chose the Sprinter body for the RV platform which is diesel and very good mileage compared to most of the other RV’s. And our tow vehicle, a Subaru Crosstrek, is light weight, tows well, all wheel drive with high clearance for off-roading, and excellent gas mileage.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I got so comfy in the RV life I began to forget to dress up. I even had a friend remind me that jeans and sandals were not appropriate for a choral recital at his friend’s church. Feels good to not have to dress up.


  3. Terry says:

    It is a shame that laundry gets in the way of a great trip, but the downtime is relaxing and gives one a chance to breathe. Don’t worry about the wrinkles no one will notice, have fun. How are you finding the parking lots at these sites? Are they crowded or OK at this time of year? I would guess very crowded. Have fun, I can not wait to get up there the first week in August.


  4. Wind Kisses says:

    It has been so fun walk through our old stomping grounds WITH you. Do me a favor. Ask about Porcupine the grizzly. Is she still alive? Does she have cubs? She used to frequent north of Madison Junction. If you’re staying at Madison, ask the rangers, they will probably know. Thank you. You will love her story.


  5. Widdershins says:

    Gorgeous pics one and all … but that last one? I don’t think it’s a moose. 😀


  6. Linda says:

    As always, Joanne, your photos and Tim’s too are FANTASTIC!
    Enjoying the journey with you! L&P


  7. tippysmom2 says:

    This day may not have been as spectacular as the others, but I think it is still stunning. I also love how the geysers in a given area are so different from one another. I guess I didn’t realize that the geyser water was acidic. Are they all, or just the ones in the Norris Geyser Basin?


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