I've always enjoyed hiking, nowhere more than in a beautiful natural place with interesting features. The Artists' Paintpots trail certainly fits the bill.
The Paintpots trail is found in the western portion of Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, about 4 miles south of the famous Norris Geyser Basin (home of the world's tallest geyser).
The Paintpots Trail is a one-mile hike that circles a hydrothermal area tucked into a hillside. The trail has a 125-foot elevation gain and includes a burned out lodgepole pine forest (from the park's dramatic 1988 fire), several hot springs, colorful water pools and mud pots. Much of the trail is on a boardwalk and overall, it is an easy hike.
The trail passes steaming water originating from hot springs....
Mist covers streams of near-boiling water....
As you climb uphill you can look down the hydrothermal hillside and over the pine forest toward Mount Holmes. It's a lovely view!
During your ascent you'll note that hydrothermal features have less water in them, with the appearance of mudpots.
The bubbling mud holes are called paintpots. They're derived from underground gases which break down rhyolite stone into grey clay. You can see gas bubbles erupt on the surface, some spraying hot muck for a significant distance (so be careful). The odor is reminiscent of rotten eggs and caused by hydrogen sulfide gas.
You can see the boiling mudpots in action in the following videos:
Overall a nice walk made fascinating by the geothermal features along the trail.