Geyser basin boardwalks protect you and preserve delicate formations. You must stay on boardwalks and trails. Scalding water underlies much of the thin, breakable crust. Pools may be near or above the boiling temperature and can cause severe, possibly even fatal, burns.
The trail leaves the Norris Campground entrance, crosses the Gibbon River on the highway bridge, and heads south into the forest. At the 0.7-mile mark the trail begins to break out of the trees and affords intermittent views of the Norris Geyser Basin
to the right. At 0.8 miles the trail passes Nuphar Lake, named for a genus of yellow pond lily growing here in the 1880s.
The trail then affords a nice overlook of Porcelain Basin Hot Springs. The milky color of the mineral deposited here inspired the naming of the Porcelain Basin (which you see before you). The mineral, siliceous sinter, is brought to the surface by hot water and forms a "sheet" over this flat area as the water flows across the ground and the mineral settles out.
The trail then passes Congress Pool. At times this pool turns muddy and boils violently. Most often Congress Pool is docile and appears pale blue in color. It was named for a congress of world geologists meeting in Yellowstone in 1891 when this feature broke out, not (as some have suggested) for a U.S. Congress that sits there and does nothing.
The trail continues through the trees to the Norris Museum.
Thanks to guidebook author, Tom Carter, for sharing this trail description. To learn more about visiting Yellowstone, check out his book, Day Hiking Yellowstone