Springs and Pools of Yellowstone

Crested Pool © 2010 Bo Mackison

Crested Pool is a sinter (or silica) pool; its crest is made of layer upon layer of sinter that has been laid down over the centuries. This is one of Yellowstone’s super-heated pools, and it is surprisingly deep at 42 feet. Crested Pool is in the Upper Geyser Basin, north of Old Faithful Geyser and the Old Faithful complex.

Chromatic Pool Landscape © 2010 Bo Mackison

Walk further north past Crested Pool, and Chromatic Pool comes into view. Chromatic Pool and Beauty Pool seem to exchange brilliance. When one pool cools and its colors lessen because of a decrease of bacteria, the other pool seems to heat and its colors deepen. Chromatic Pool seemed to have the better colors when we were visiting in early October.

Chromatic Pool © 2010 Bo Mackison

The deepest part of the pool actually reflects the color of the sky. The other colors–usually reds, browns, yellows–are the result of bacteria and algae mats.

South Scalloped Spring © 2010 Bo Mackison

There are a pair of scallop-shaped springs near each other. The water level of Scalloped Spring is several feet below surface level. This is thought to be an un-natural occurrence and is presumed to be the result of human interference. The South Scalloped Springs gurgle and slurp, and occasionally spill water into Firehole River.

Shield Pool © 2010 Bo Mackison

Shield Pool, so named because of its shield shape, is across the path from Crested Pool. It’s colors are not remarkable when compared to the more colorful hot pools, but I love the different depths and swirling waters.

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. Beautiful photos and excellent narrative, Bo!

  2. I see you are pooling your resources (just couldn’t let that op pass). Wonderful colors; what a fascinating place – Yellowstone.

  3. Glorious colors. I just love your Yellowstone photos.

  4. I love the color of that aquamarine spot in one of the pools. Such an incredible color. Seems like it would be an awesome place to see first-hand.

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