Norris is a popular area of Yellowstone with attractions including the Norris Geyser Basin, Artists Paintpots, Gibbon Falls, Norris Campground and the Museum of the National Park Ranger.
Norris Geyser Basin and Museum
There is a museum here housing information about the geothermal features in the Norris Geyser Basin as well as 2.25 miles of trails through the Porcelain Basin and Back Basin.
(Steamboat Geyser during a minor eruption)
Steamboat Geyser, the world’s largest currently-active geyser, is located here. During major eruptions, it launches water as much as 300 to 400 feet in the air for between three and forty minutes. The beautiful blue pool of overflowing water from nearby Cistern Spring drains completely during a major eruption; the last major eruption was in 2014. The timing of the next eruption is unknown; from 1911 to 1961 the geyser was dormant. Minor eruptions of between 10 to 15 feet are more frequent.
A 1.1 mile trail through this hydrothermal area between Norris and Madison provides access to the colorful mudpots, hot springs and geysers of this area. It is named after the vibrant colors that remind most of an artist’s palette.
This is a roadside waterfall in Yellowstone National Park on the Gibbon River on the Grand Loop Road between Madison Junction and the Norris Geyser Basin. It was discovered in 1872 during the second Hayden Survey by William Henry Jackson and John Merle Coulter.
The waterfall has a height of 84 feet. It is a horsetail waterfall, which means that descending water maintains some contact with the bedrock.
Gibbon Falls is located 4.7 miles northeast of Madison Junction. There is a small parking lot area along the road. There is an observation area there as well as a path to provide different a view from different angles.
A centrally located first-come, first-served campground at the intersection of the park’s two loop roads. The campground is open from mid-May to mid-September and is very popular during that time. There are 100 campsites with seven available for larger RVs.
We stayed here for three nights in May 2016 and enjoyed it. We were there for the beginning of Memorial Day weekend so it was a busy time. The campground filled up everyday. We got there Thursday morning and stayed until Saturday. Other than a few unfortunate rain storms while we were trying to cook dinner, we had a blast. We stayed in one of the walk-in sites and found a cute hand drawn map of the area inside the bear locker. There was even a pair of bison that came through the campground when we were cooking breakfast on Friday morning.
Museum of the National Park Ranger
This museum celebrates the history of the national park rangers from their inception to the present. It is located at the entrance to Norris Campground in a soldier station built in 1908.
A small auditorium there shows a 25 minute movie titled An American Legacy, which follows the development of the National Park Service. The park is typically staffed by volunteers from a pool of retired national park rangers. They often answer questions from park visitors about the park and the rangers.
The building is one of three soldier stations remaining in the park. Soldiers on patrol during the park’s military protection occupied this outlying station. The original building on the site was taken down and rebuilt using the original floor plan and the original materials where possible.