Hiking Project Logo

A nice trail with great views and interesting mudpots and hot springs to see.

Your Rating: Rating Rating Rating Rating Rating      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add To-Do · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key





Point to Point

7,453' 2,272 m


7,352' 2,241 m


101' 31 m


72' 22 m



Avg Grade (3°)


Max Grade (11°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Hot Spring · Views

Family Friendly A short trail with easy access and interesting geologic features to see along the way.

Geyser basin boardwalks protect you and preserve delicate formations. You must stay on boardwalks. Pools may be near or above the boiling temperature and can cause severe, possibly even fatal, burns.


From the parking area, the wide path heads south through a lodgepole pine forest rejuvenating after the 1988 fires. Lodgepoles have an unusual way of coping with fire. Besides their annual seed cones, they produce a special “serotinous cone,” which only opens at temperatures that exceed 113° F. Following the 1988 fires, up to a million seeds per acre were found on the ground. Some seeds survived the appetites of birds and rodents to produce an abundance of lodgepole saplings. In some places they grew so thick they’re called “dog-hair” forest. Paintpot Hill ahead on the horizon is such a place; notice the thick, green blanket of trees that covers it.

As you continue, notice also the dead trees on the left with white bottoms that look as if they are wearing white anklet socks. These “bobby socks” trees were not killed by fire, but rather drowned by thermal runoff water. The trees soaked up the mineral-laden water, and when the water evaporated, the minerals were left behind, turning the lower portion of the trees white.

At the junction, follow the boardwalk to the left. Notice the hot springs near the bottom of the hill. Most of the time, they have a good water supply. As you climb up the hill water is more limited and the pools are filled with mud. In early summer, the mudpots are thin and watery from abundant rain and snow. By late summer they are quite thick. The mud is composed of clay minerals and fine particles of silica. In this area the rock is rhyolite, which is composed primarily of quartz and feldspar. Acids in the steam and water break down the feldspar into a clay mineral called kaolinite. Iron oxide stains the white mud into a colorful array of pastels. This effect reminded early Yellowstone geologists of an artist’s palette, hence the name “Artists’ Paintpots.”

From the top of the hill, one gets a great view of the surrounding area including Mount Holmes, that dominates the skyline to the north.

Soon, the trail loops back to the right and continues down to the parking area.

Thanks to guidebook author, Tom Carter, for sharing this trail description. To learn more about visiting Yellowstone, check out his book, Day Hiking Yellowstone.


Shared By:

Tom Carter

Trail Ratings

  4.1 from 16 votes


in Norris


  4.1 from 16 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Trail Rankings


in Norris


in Wyoming


2 Views Last Month
654 Since Sep 8, 2015
Easy/Intermediate Easy/Intermediate



Artists Paintpots
Sep 19, 2016 near Norris…, WY
Some of the colors of the Artist's Paintpot.
Apr 25, 2016 near Norris…, WY
Though it's better to view the pots from above, the steam signals the presence of geothermal activity.
Apr 25, 2016 near Norris…, WY
Mud Geyser.
Apr 25, 2016 near Norris…, WY
Artists Paintpots.
Sep 4, 2018 near Norris…, WY
Steam raising up on the approach to the Paintpots.
Sep 4, 2018 near Norris…, WY



Current Trail Conditions

All Clear 5 days ago
Add Your Check-In


Jun 10, 2023
Rachel Swain
Jun 6, 2023
Ben Edelman
10h 00m
Oct 2, 2022
Molly M
Oct 1, 2022
Molly M
Sep 6, 2022
Patti Cross
Took turns walking into the Paintpot area.
Aug 14, 2022
Shawna Newsome
Jul 30, 2022
Dan Shemon
Little did we know, this day would be the Meeteetse, WY day lol! 0.7mi — 0h 30m
Jul 11, 2022
Diane Hollins
Fantastic features

Join the Community! It's FREE

Already have an account? Login to close this notice.