Virtual Guidebook to Yellowstone and Northern Wyoming
West Thumb Geyser Basin
Yellowstone National Park Wyoming


Yellowstone tourists arriving from the south usually encounter their first colorful hot pools and steam vents at West Thumb Geyser Basin. If they are very lucky they might even see a geyser eruption here. There is also a bubbling mud pot and an inspiring view over huge Yellowstone Lake.

In the nineteenth century, when the first visitors were reaching Yellowstone, the West Thumb Geyser Basin was much more active than it is today. Since then it has cooled, the few active geysers are more sporadic, and many of the pools have changed color. But it is still an excellent introduction to the park and just about everyone stops and looks around.

The odd name comes from the shape of Yellowstone Lake, fancifully likened to a hand with three fingers and a thumb. This geothermal area is at the end of the thumb.

For more information see the article Geothermal areas of Yellowstone on Wikipedia.



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The small but interesting fumarole area at West Thumb

(June 30, 2000)


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Bluebell Pool and Seismograph Pool.

(June 30, 2000)


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Fishing Cone hot spring, just under the waters of Lake Yellowstone

(June 30, 2000)


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The Black Pool, now deep blue due to a change in temperature

(June 30, 2000)


Next Locality: Firehole Lake Loop