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Day Hike to Morning Glory Pool in Yellowstone National Park

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Day hikes in Yellowstone National Park are the best. I love walking the trail to Morning Glory Pool in Yellowstone National Park.

Walking the Morning Glory Trail Loop in the Upper Geyser Basin by Old Faithful Geyser is a top attraction within Yellowstone.

Read along to see what you will see along the Morning Glory Pool Hike and all the beautiful geysers along the way.

Morning glory pool shot from above.
Morning Glory Pool – the best thing at the end of the Morning Glory Pool Hike. For the best photography tips for shadows, do not come after 12 pm.

I’ve been to Yellowstone National Park three years in a row, and if I could manage a way to go every year in every season. – Hint, Hint, Family! I would.

During my first trip to Yellowstone, I jam-packed everything I could into the vacation.

We saw Old Faithful, Green Thumb, Mammoth Hot Springs, and a little bit of everything. Our second trip concentrated on hiking, animal watching, and Star Gazing by the Old Faithful Inn.

One of the trail hikes that we did include walking all the way to see a famous hot spring in the United States – Morning Glory Pool.

Why Hike to Morning Glory Pool

The Morning Glory Pool is an easy 2.8-mile hike loop perfect for the whole family. While on the Hike to see Morning Glory, several thermal pools and active geysers will keep you occupied. The Hike will take about 60-90 minutes, depending on how long you decide to stop and take in the hydrothermal features.

With all of my research, everyone suggested taking the easy Hike to Morning Glory Pool and taking in its beauty. Out of all the thermal areas, Morning Glory is one of the most accessible and prettiest.

Named after the morning glory flower, Morning Glory is a beautiful thermal is shaped like its namesake flower.

Unfortunately, due to its popularity and a rumor that circulated among park visitors that throwing coins into the thermals would fulfill wishes, the colors have changed due to the water temperature dropping.

Upper Geyser Basin of Yellowstone National Park

One of the most popular trails by Old Faithful in the Upper Geyser Basin Trail is the handicap-accessible way to hike a little over a mile to see Morning Glory.

You could take additional walking trails and bike paths to see other hot springs and smaller geysers, but we didn’t attempt this route due to our mobility device.

Suppose you want to get unique views of Old Faithful and a good look at some of the other geothermal features in the area.

Two women walking down a board walk while one is in a wheelchair.
Mom and Sis walking down the boardwalk to see the thermals around the Lower Geyser Basin Trail on the way to see Morning Glory.

Old Faithful Geyser

The most stunning, regular, and famous Geyser is Old Faithful. Having a thermal feature that is so regular draws millions of visitors each year to experience the seismic activity of Old Faithful.

You do not realize the power and beauty of the natural wonder of a geyser until you see it go off at its predicted times.

I am proud to say I saw Old Faithful 6 different times over my two trips, each at other times of the day and with different weather.

Witnessing something like Old Faithful is breathtaking, and I highly recommend budgeting time to see Old Faithful a few times on your trip.

If you want to see the Old Faithful Eruption successfully, check the schedule provided by the park service and be there on time.

Old Faithful is very predictable, but that schedule can be off about 15 minutes. Missing the eruption would be very disappointing.

Old Faithful Erupting
Old Faithful Erupting before our walk to Morning Glory. Like clockwork, we were able to schedule our time to see Old Faithful.

Make sure you check to see when Old Faithful will go off and get there at least 30 minutes before.

Remember, these are just predictions based on a mathematical model, and there is a possibility that it can go off earlier or later than predicted. It would be better to arrive early than miss Old Faithful altogether.

Almost every time I’ve gone to watch Old Faithful, someone comes running up the boardwalk exclaiming, “oh no, we missed it, again.”

One good way to avoid missing Old Faithful is by staying at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Cabins during the fall and winter.

Sign of Old Faithful with a steaming old faithful in the background.
One of my favorite spots in all of Yellowstone is Old Faithful. The only way to get a shot like this is to wake up extremely early.

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Castle Geyser

While walking towards Morning Glory, one of the first stops is Castle Geyser.

Castle Geyser has one of the most massive cones and could be one of the oldest of all the geysers in the Upper Geyser Basin.

Not as frequent or high as Old Faithful, Castle erupts every 10-12 hours for about 20 minutes.

If Castle is planning to erupt while you are walking to Morning Glory, make sure to take advantage of this beauty!

Castle Geyser in yellowstone national park

Castle Geyser with its unique shape is a sight to see when it erupts.

Daisy Geyser

You have to take a slight detour to see Daisy Geyser, but don’t’ worry, it is paved. This walk section is a mixture of boardwalk, incline, and potholes, so be careful!

Daisy Geyser erupts for 3-5 minutes and has a somewhat unpredictable eruption interval between 110-240 minutes, depending on if nearby Splendid Geyser erupts.

Splendid throws a wrench in the whole predictability.

Daisy Geyser erupting in the afternoon
Daisy Geysers is one of the Geysers that we were able to see while touring the thermal areas.

Thermal Areas

There are many thermal areas to see and watch while hiking to Morning Glory. Many of the thermal areas are accessible by the bike path.

Tempting to cross to see additional features. You will see a bridge crossing over Firehole Lake to head towards Turban Geyser and Spasmodic Geyser.

Do not take this bridge unless you are in tip-top shape to assist with the deep incline.

We watched an elderly couple tackle the feat, and they did great making it across the steep bridge. When it was our turn, I’m sure we were a sight to see because Sis pushed mom’s chair while I pushed her behind for more torque.

Thermal feature right by the Firehole River.
There are so many thermal areas to explore in this Basin.

Morning Glory Pool and a Coyote!

After exploring all of the Upper Basin, we finally made it to Morning Glory Pool. We soaked in all of the glory of this thermal with its brilliant yellows and blue water.

The best way I can explain the Morning Glory pool is what you think Grand Prismatic would look if you got high enough to look down on it.

Morning Glory is a thermal spring with a remarkable likeness to a common Morning Glory Flower.

Morning Glory draws visitors from all over to enjoy the distinct color of the pool.

Since we went during shoulder season, we could hang out by the thermal area by ourselves for a while.

We took a little photo shoot trying to get the best shot of Morning Glory (trust me, it was hilarious).

We stayed so long that we saw a small rabbit run across the boardwalk, and an injured coyote limped right past us.

Mom and Sis had gone to the bathroom when I noticed the coyote. If they had finished up just a few seconds before, they would have come face to face with a wild coyote!

After spotting the coyote (which we learned all about during our Wildlife Watching tour), I decided I wanted to track him to see where he would go.

Luckily he was across Firehole River, so I could quickly take photos of him without being threatened with any attack.

Wide angle shot of the bathroom forest area by Morning Glory Pool
Can you spot the Coyote in this photo? If you can’t, zoom in because he is there.
Long lens photo of a coyote looking at the camera
After taking out my long Lens, the Coyote spotted me!

Hiking Back from Morning Glory

Since we took the handicapable (paved bike trail) to Morning Glory, we opted to take the boardwalk back.

We saw some, then dormant, rare Geyser walking on the path. Even though we didn’t get any unusual sightings, we had a lot of fun looking at all the geysers.

One way to know when the geysers will erupt is to download the free Yellowstone Geyser app to see the predictions for Old Faithful, Castle, Great Fountain, Daisy, and Riverside Geysers.

If hiking in National Parks is your thing, you should consider investing in a National Parks Pass.

Frequently Asked Questions About Morning Glory Pool

When traveling to Yellowstone National Park, many visitors have questions about Morning Glory Pool. Check out these frequently asked questions from Yellowstone National Park Guests.

Why is the Morning Glory Pool important?

Morning Glory Pool is important because it was a favorite destination for early visitors. In the 1880s, it was named Morning Glory for its likeness to the morning glory flower. Soon, however, Morning Glory Pool became a victim of vandalism, with people throwing trash, rocks, and logs into the pool.

The debris from the visitors became embedded in the vent of the spring, which reduced water circulation and water temperature.

How long is the Hike to Morning Glory?

Visitors can take a paved bike trail from the Old Faithful Inn to the Morning Glory Pool. This paved Hike is a little over 2 miles round trip, and guests can see different geysers and thermal features.

How Hot is Morning Glory Pool?

Morning Glory Pool has an average temperature of 159.3°F (70.7°C). This hydrothermal feature allows microscopic organisms to survive.

How does the Morning Glory Pool at Yellowstone get its unique colors?

The more excellent areas of Morning Glory allow thermophilic bacteria to grow to cause Morning glory’s colors of orange and yellow rings.

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