Biscuit Basin is a unique, colorful array of thermal pools along the Firehole River in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA.
It seems like a long time has passed since hiking in Grand Teton National Park out of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
The day begins with packing up to leave accommodation at Yellowstone Park Inn before, heading back to Madison Junction inside Yellowstone National Park. The drive south to parking at a trail-head beside the Firehole River is a short distance away.
Buffalo roam the roads in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, USA
Today's hiking objectives include exploration of the Biscuit Basin, hiking beyond to the overlook on Madison Plateau above the basin before completing a short circuit hike past Mystic Falls. This area is in the Upper Geyser Basin just south of Fairy Falls.
Biscuit Basin is near Old Faithful on the opposite side of the road so the trek begins by crossing the small pedestrian bridge over the Firehole River.
Biscuit Basin boardwalks provide excellent up close and personal views of the geo-thermal activity and colorful bacterial mats. Biscuit Basin is a photographic dream.
Biscuit Basin is named for the large biscuit-shaped silica formations that once lined the edge of Sapphire Pool. In August 1959, the largest known earthquake in the Rocky Mountains struck near the park's western boundary. The magnitude 7.5 quake triggered large eruptions of Sapphire Pool and blew away all the silica biscuit formations around this hot spring turned geyser.
The next objective begins on good trail and a series of switchbacks provide ascent 500' (160 M) up the side of the Madison Plateau to an overlook above the basin. On the ridge there is significant evidence of the devastating 1988 forest fires. There are many dead snags and downed trees intermingled with the new generation of young Lodgepole pines.
The entire Biscuit Basin complex, and beyond, is visible from this vantage point at the top of Madison Plateau. Smoke from huge forest fires outside the park creates a mystic haze in the distance as the hike continues west along the top of the ridge until a second set of switchbacks drop down into the valley alongside the pristine Little Firehole River at the bottom. About halfway down the first views of the stately 70 ft. (23M) cascading Mystic Falls surrounded by rugged wilderness become visible.
Mystic Falls in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA
The circuitous route exits via the other side of Biscuit Basin for new photographs of the very colorful mineral and bacterial mats, then over the bridge crossing the Firehole River to an extremely hot vehicle.
The return to West Yellowstone is sufficiently early to check in at the Brandin' Iron Inn on the main drag. This motel is one of the best throughout the entire trip. We have a great TV and a refrigerator. It's hotter than Hell outside.
Supper happens at the familiar and consistent Outpost Restaurant where friendly staff are known on a first name basis.
The final day at West Yellowstone marks the end of an enjoyable experience in a neat, friendly and comfortable tourist town. Tomorrow, the objective will be to travel east and north through Yellowstone National Park to new accommodation in Gardiner, Montana where exploration of the north end of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, USA shall begin.