2012 Western Road Trip: Sulphur Caldron and Mud Volcano

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After watching bison in the Hayden Valley, we continued a little further south along the Grand Loop Road to check out the Sulphur Caldron and Mud Volcano area.

Sulphur Caldron 2

Sulphur Caldron
Sulphur Caldron

Sulphur Caldron is one of the most acidic features in Yellowstone National Park and it emits hydrogen sulphide gas. The area around Sulphur Caldron smells like rotten eggs. It’s definitely not a place you want to spend a lot of time. Yuck!

Mud Caldron
Mud Volcano Area

The “Cooking Hillside”
Cooking Hillside

A huge portion of the hillside surrounding the Mud Volcano hydrothermal features is basically barren and littered with fallen, dead trees. This is called the “Cooking Hillside” after a series of earthquakes in 1978-79 altered the hydrothermal activity. Soil temperatures increased to nearly 200°F and basically “cooked” everything on the hillside. Comforting thought, no?

Churning Caldron…I think
Churning Caldron

Sour Lake
Sour Lake

Sour Lake is another highly acidic feature in the area. It looks like an innocent little lake, but the water is like battery acid.

As we were checking out Sour Lake, I spotted bear tracks. Jason was pretty sure they were grizzly tracks. The tracks weren’t immediately fresh, but they weren’t old either. I was proud of myself for spotting them – My skills are improving 🙂

All of this goes to show that you never really feel safe in Yellowstone…or at least you probably shouldn’t feel completely safe.

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