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The World’s 15 Best Geysers and Hot Springs

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There’s nothing quite as spectacular as a geyser that shoots high into the air or a hot spring that offers brilliant colors. The world’s best geysers and hot springs are sprinkled worldwide, offering visitors a glimpse of this beauty on every continent – yes, including Antarctica! How many of these locations have you visited so far?

Geysers are some of the world’s most incredible natural wonders. They have been known to shoot water high into the air, presenting a spectacular display for visitors.

Geysers can be found worldwide, with Antarctica being one of their favorite places to show up. Here’s a list of geysers, fumaroles, and hot springs that will take your breath away.

World’s Most Famous Geysers and Hot Springs

1. Old Faithful

Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park in late fall or winter
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Yellowstone National Park offers many hot springs and geysers to explore, but none are as renowned as Old Faithful Geyser. Discovered in 1870 in the Upper Geyser Basin, Old Faithful Geyser is a sight to behold as it erupts with hot water and steam up to 185 feet high for up to 5 minutes.

It’s a must-see destination for anyone visiting Yellowstone National Park, offering a one-of-a-kind experience to see a geyser erupt over and over again. Most Old Faithful eruptions occur about once every hour and a half, although it can be as soon as 45 minutes between them in certain circumstances.

Upper Geyser Basin has some of the world’s most famous geysers, and there’s a beautiful boardwalk where you can gaze at the incredible geysers, hot springs, and wildlife roaming the basin, just like you’re at a museum. Here are our favorite ones from our YouTube channel:

See Related: Copy Our 5-Days in Yellowstone Itinerary

2. Steamboat Geyser

Steamboat Geyser Smoke

Yellowstone’s geysers are one of the main reasons this national park is so popular, so it’s no surprise that we have another geyser on the list, the legendary Steamboat Geyser, the world’s tallest active geyser.

However, Steamboat Geyser eruption isn’t very predictable, and most eruptions only reach a height of about 15 feet. When it goes, however, it can throw hot water and steam over 300 feet into the air.

The last major Steamboat Geyser eruption was in 2013; before that, it was in 2005. There was one point in history when it was dormant for over 50 years.

To get to Steamboat Geyser, you must head to Yellowstone National Park. Once you’re there, it’s located in the Norris Geyser Basin. You can either drive or take a bus tour to get there.

See Related: Things to See and Do in Yellowstone

4. Dallol

Colorful Dallol

Located in Ethiopia, these hot springs sit over 150 feet below sea level. It’s one of the most remote places on the planet, and the only way to access the hot springs is by joining a camel caravan that heads out there to collect salt.

It’s part of a volcano that last erupted in 1926 and features acid ponds that are an incredible green color. How acidic are these ponds? Recently tested pH levels were less than 1, making it as strong as battery acid.

4. The Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is incredibly famous and is a popular destination for anyone visiting Iceland. It was formed in 1976 after a geothermal power plant came online in Svartsengi.

It turned the waters around the area pale blue, and someone decided it might be a good idea to try bathing in the crazy blue water. The Blue Lagoon makes for one of the most relaxing getaways in the world. It’s easily accessible in under an hour’s drive from Reykjavík and about 20 minutes from Keflavík Airport.

5. The Valley of Geysers

This valley has the second-largest concentration of geysers in the world. It is located in a basin about four miles long in Russia. Like most other geyser formations, it’s a caldera, but the water can be as hot as 480F under the ground.

The area is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is very remote—hiring a helicopter is the only feasible way to reach it. However, the effort will be worth it because the geysers pulsate in a way reminiscent of the Bellagio Fountain in Las Vegas, NV.

6. Yellow Dragon Mountain

Blue Huanglong

One of the most visually stunning sets of hot springs is in Huanglong, China, with numerous calcite pools that seem terraced into the hillside. Thousands of different pools make up the region, and the entire area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It’s not just the hot springs that are the attraction here, either. There’s a good chance you’ll also meet up with a Giant Panda.

7. Jigokudani

Monkey on Jigokudani Monkey Park

The monkeys of Japan learned right away that the hot springs of Jigokudani were the place to be on a cold day. The name translates as “Hell’s Valley” because the frozen ground of the region often steams and bubbles.

Heavy snow is commonplace here, making the journey even more difficult because of the very narrow 2km trail required to reach the hot springs. You’ll have to make your way there in winter to catch the monkeys enjoying the hot springs, limiting the exploration one can make.

7. Pamukkale

Pamukkale Waters

The Cotton Castle of Turkey features a series of terraced travertines and hot springs bathed in brilliant white. Water emerges from the spring and then begins cascading down the terraces, leaving depositions of calcium carbonate in its flows.

The ancient city of Hierapolis was built on this site, and even though the heat often reaches boiling, tadpoles can be seen in some of the pools. You can’t access the terraces, but there is the main path that will take you out near the site. You can still bathe in some of the small pools as well.

Read Also: The Fascinating Story Behind Turkey’s Flaming Rocks

9. Haukadalur

Haukadalur Smoke
Haukadalur hot springs” by big-ashb is marked with CC BY 2.0.

This Icelandic valley is one of the most regularly visited locations for tourists on the island. The geyser basins are very dependable in eruptions, with the Strokkur Geyser, one of the biggest fountain geysers in the area, erupting every 10 minutes or so.

Various pathways will help you access Strokkur Geyser and over 40 other hot springs and mud pots within this region that have been documented since the 13th century.

An earthquake in 1294 is thought to have activated the area, and earthquakes have been shown to activate local geysers within the last decade.

Read Also: Travel Guide to Visiting Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

10. Rotorua

Colorful Rotorua Geysers

Located in New Zealand, the entire Rotorua region is a geothermal playground for people to enjoy. Over a dozen lakes in the region are heated by the geothermal zone, providing plenty of fuel for geysers to spray.

The Cauldera is over 14 miles wide and offers the chance to enjoy sailing and even whitewater rafting. Much of the action occurs around the edges of the caldera, but don’t miss Okere Falls, a 23-foot drop routinely rafted over.

See Related: Best Whitewater Rafting in the World

11. El Tatio

El Tatio Geyser

Located in the Andes Mountains, it is one of the highest geyser fields in the world. Over 80 active geysers are present here, making it one of the largest fields in the world.

It’s a major tourist attraction and would generally be ranked much higher. Still, the fact that a mining consortium is exploring the fields and a lot of equipment in the field harnesses geothermal energy spoils the view.

12. Washoe Valley

Lake Tahoe in Washoe Valley

With half a dozen locations in the valley between Reno and Carson City, Nevada, these hot springs offer hiking and exploration in a more rugged atmosphere than other places.

One of the unique stops in this valley is Bowers Mansion, where a swimming pool was dug to take advantage of the hot well in the area. There are miles of paths to explore, a playground, and established picnic areas.

See Related: Things to Do in Henderson

13. California’s Old Faithful

Situated in some tall pampas grass, this geyser is not something you’d expect to see where it is. It’s a shallow pool of water that surrounds the area, and if you didn’t know any better, you’d stumble into the geyser.

Except for the bubbling of the water that comes when there’s about to be an eruption, you can get right up to the edge of this geyser safely as it shoots water up to 100 feet into the air. There’s a petting zoo and picnic area on the grounds, but beware of the guard llamas!

14. Ma’ln Hot Springs

These springs are unusual because the hot water does not come from deep beneath the earth, as with most natural hot springs. Instead, the winter rains that fall on Jordan’s highlands provide it.

The lake formed by the spring floods is 1,000 feet lower than sea level and is located in a unique underground river system that includes waterfalls originating from subterranean springs.

There are Roman baths and an entrance fee to the area, but you can bathe in the hot waters that King Herod, of Biblical fame, routinely utilized for medical treatments.

15. Grand Prismatic Spring

Grand Prismatic Spring
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Grand Prismatic Spring, located in the Midway Geyser Basin, is an incredible site with its massive rainbow-colored hues and consistent steam. It’s arguably the most famous springs in Yellowstone National Park.

Grand Prismatic Spring from the top of the Grand Prismatic Overlook Trail in Yellowstone National Park
Kim Magaraci / ViaTravelers

With its stunning colors and the distinction of being the largest hot spring in the United States (and the third largest globally, trailing only Frying Lake in New Zealand and Boiling Lake in Dominica), Grand Prismatic Spring is one of the most popular attractions in Yellowstone.

How do geysers work?

How a Geysers Work

Water and steam interaction are required to understand geothermal systems. Steam may be generated from water at a specific temperature. When heated water reaches a certain level, it generates steam.

Because steam in a surface environment takes up 1600 times the volume of water, it expands dramatically when it transforms into heat.

A “steam explosion” occurs when a geyser erupts due to heated groundwater exploding into much greater steam. When groundwater is trapped deep and heated, it will be forced to the surface by the pressure of boiling water.

Are geysers volcanoes?

Geysers produce water and steam, rather than rock and ash. Volcanoes erupt more frequently but have a larger physical presence. Although the processes are different, the results may be comparable.

Underground chamber size and the formation of geysers can help explain the relationship between subterranean magmas and volcanic eruptions. Geysers are tiny laboratories that may be used to study volcanic eruption genesis.

Types of Geysers

Grotter Geyser and Sign Description
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Geysers are categorized by their height and the time they take to recharge. The following are the different types of geysers:

  1. Fountain geyser: Fountain geysers erupt regularly and have short intervals between eruptions.
  2. Geyserite: These geysers erupt irregularly, with long intervals between eruptions.
  3. Plume Geyser: These geysers have the longest intervals between eruptions and often do not erupt for years.

A cone geyser is the ratio of eruptions dependent on how much water is stored in the system at any given time. The more water available, the taller and more volumetric the eruption will be. If recharge is slow, then the eruption will last longer. Geysers that erupt frequently have less time to recharge between eruptions.

The geyser’s size, shape, and duration of eruption are all determined by the nature of the underlying magma chamber. Magma chambers can be large or small, but all must have a heat source to drive the eruptions.

The heat source for geysers is usually magmatic, meaning that it comes from molten rock or radioactive decay. Geothermal activity can also be affected by an area’s tectonic setting, such as its location near a plate boundary.

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