Mud Volcano Area
Unlike other Yellowstone geysers that involve water, the Mud Volcano area sits on a drier plateau, leading to the unique mud pits that bubble and gurgle constantly from a reaction of carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and steam rising up from under the earth’s surface. An elevated boardwalk provides easy viewing access to the crater surrounded by cracked mud and the steaming Dragon’s Mouth Spring. An easy 0.7-mile loop passes other aptly named features like the Churning Cauldron, Sizzling Basin, and Cooking Hillside. Most Yellowstone guided tours include a stop at this park highlight.
Things to know before you go
- For your safety, do not approach or feed bison, elk, or other wildlife inside the park.
- Check the Yellowstone bulletin for scheduled ranger talks at the Mud Volcano Area to learn more about its geothermal features.
- The mud volcanoes have some of the strongest sulfuric smell of any of the park’s geysers; some visitors find it difficult to tolerate.
- Geothermal features are extremely hot; stay on designated boardwalks at all times.
- Check the National Park Service website for road closures and current park conditions, especially if planning a visit during late fall or winter.
How to get there
The Mud Volcano area is located inside Yellowstone National Park, right off the Great Loop Road. Park at the lot nearby and walk across a wooden boardwalk to reach the mud pits.
When to get there
The parking lot is small and often fills up, so get there early or late in the day for the best chance of snagging a spot. Visit Yellowstone in the spring or fall to avoid peak summertime crowds. Many of the park’s roads and facilities are closed during winter.
Mud Volcano Area
With more than 2.2 million acres (900,000 hectares) to explore, it can be hard to know where to start during a visit to Yellowstone National Park. With frequent eruptions, the Old Faithful Geyser is an essential stop for first-time visitors, as is the colorful Morning Glory Pool nearby in the Upper Geyser Basin. Other favorites are the ghostly white terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs, the Fishing Bridge across Yellowstone Lake, and the thundering Lower Falls inside the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.