Midway Bluff in Yellowstone Park offers sweeping views of Grand Prismatic Spring and Excelsior Geyser Crater

Family picture on Midway Bluff

A hike up Midway Bluff in Yellowstone Park yields unforgettable views of the Midway Geyser Basin. (Dennis and Lisa Schappell - click to enlarge)

Parked for a Day is a user-submitted feature that lets readers share favorite activities in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. Parked for a Day activities require parking the car, and can be done in a single day. Share your favorite Parked for a Day activity and we’ll feature it on Yellowstone Gate.

By Dennis and Lisa Schappell

A hike up to Midway Bluff in Yellowstone National Park requires finding this well-hidden gem of a trail, which is strenuous, but well worth the effort, offering a view you’ll never forget!

Midway Bluff Yellowstone

Midway Bluff in Yellowstone (on the right side of the road, below the parking area) affords sweeping views of the Midway Geyser Basin. (Google Maps - click to enlarge)

Across from Midway Geyser Basin, just south of the Midway geyser basin parking lot and on the east side of the Grand Loop Road, is an easy-to-miss pull-off where we parked and headed up the trail to Midway Bluff. (Because this “social trail” is not officially maintained by the National Park Service, it isn’t marked.)

If you take your time, have good hiking footwear and pause frequently, you will be rewarded at the top of this trail with a spectacular view of the entire Midway Geyser Basin. Grand Prismatic Spring and Excelsior Geyser Crater will be visible in all their colorful glory! And you’ll get a view of them that few visitors ever get to see first-hand.

When you are walking along the boardwalk, you lose the colors of these amazing thermal features in the mist and steam. And being so close to them, you can’t fully take in the depth and range of their vibrant colors. But on a clear day, the view from Midway Bluff will take your breath away.

If you’re worried about a tough, uphill hike, just remember to take it slow. The hike is not that long — you can often see your car from the top. My 70-year-old father navigated this climb. But we did not hurry, and we were all blown away by the view. Please don’t miss this experience if you are up to the challenge, and take your camera. It is unforgettable!

Dennis and Lisa are diehard Yellowstone fans from Pennsylvania.

2 thoughts on “Midway Bluff in Yellowstone Park offers sweeping views of Grand Prismatic Spring and Excelsior Geyser Crater

  1. I enjoyed the article re Midway Bluff and I am looking for some info. I have visited YNP each year for the past several and on on of our visits we bring several students with us. Regretfully I and we have never made the hike to Midway Bluff but we would like to include it this year. My question is, how long is the hike and the approximate time to complete it. If someone could help with this it would be great. Thanks in advance. Jim Waldo

  2. Hi Jim. As far as we can recall, the hike itself is probably less than a quarter of a mile long, but the time it takes to navigate will greatly depend on the stamina of your group. We managed it in approx a half hour, but the change in elevation is significant in a short distance. It may be as much as 900 feet. These numbers are all estimates. For more detailed info, you can look up Janet Chappelles book “Yellowstone Treasures” which is where we first heard of this hike.