Volcanic Springs

Geysers, Hot Springs,
Mud Pots, and Fumaroles

Midway Geyser Basin, Rabbit Creek Hot Springs

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If you follow Rabbit Creek east of the highway approximately one mile uphill to its source, you cross an area, which is home of many colorful hot springs, paint pots, and a few geysers. Since Rabbit Creek drainage is not in focus of public interest, only a few features carry names. Therefore, I designated the others according to the RCN database. Please note: Even if the area is close to the highway, it is a backcountry setting and lacking safeguarding equipment such as designated trails or warning signs. Moreover, it is known to be one of the more dangerous spots due to overhanging rims of hot springs and deceiving crust. You should only enter the area if you are familiar with safety rules and regulations for backcountry thermal areas. And yes, this is also seasonally closed bear management area.

In fact, Rabbit Creek is solely a thermal water runoff and it looks accordingly. Besides White Creek at Lower Geyser Basin it is one of the longest pure hot spring runoffs in Yellowstone. The follwing pictures show typical impressions of Rabbit Creek on the way upstream.

Rabbit Creek (looking east in upstream direction):

Rabbit Creek Yellowstone

Rabbit Creek Yellowstone

Rabbit Creek Yellowstone

Rabbit Creek Yellowstone

Rabbit Creek Yellowstone

Rabbit Creek Yellowstone
Along the northern bank of Rabbit Creek a number of hot springs are to be found. A small collection of the more striking ones is presented on the next pictures in an upstream sequence.

Hot spring MRCHSGNN142:

Rabbit Creek hot spring MRCHSGNN142 Yellowstone

Rabbit Creek Hot Springs Yellowstone

Hot springs MRCHSGNN142 and MRCHSGNN143:

Rabbit Creek hot springs MRCHSGNN142 and MRCHSGNN143 Yellowstone

Rabbit Creek Hot Springs Yellowstone

Hot spring MRCHSGNN146:

Rabbit Creek hot spring MRCHSGNN146 Yellowstone

Rabbit Creek Hot Springs Yellowstone

Hot spring MRCHSGNN148:

Rabbit Creek hot spring MRCHSGNN148 Yellowstone

Rabbit Creek Hot Springs Yellowstone
The northern branch of Rabbit Creek originates from a large, shining blue pool, unsurprisingly called Rabbit Creek Source Pool. In particular the runoff seems to provide unique living conditions for rare pink colored mats of thermophilic bacteria, probably of the genus Thermocrinis. They live in water above 80 °C (180 °F), even if boiling.

Rabbit Creek Source Pool (roll mouse over picture):

Rabbit Creek Source Pool Yellowstone

Rabbit Creek Source Pool Yellowstone
Northwest of Rabbit Creek Source Pool the hot spring MNN016 attracts attention because of frequent superheated boiling. Springs like this are sometimes classified as "bubble-shower springs".

Hot spring MNN016:

Rabbit Creek hot spring MNN016 Yellowstone

Rabbit Creek Hot Springs Yellowstone
MNN016 lies within one of the sections at Rabbit Creek, which are trappy due to fragile crust. This dry vent next to it shows that seemingly solid ground may be only a thin ledge above a reservoir of hot water.

Old hot spring cave at Rabbit Creek:

Rabbit Creek cave Yellowstone

Rabbit Creek Cave Yellowstone
Farther northwest the three differently colored vents of MNN028 present an extraordinary sight, which seems to be special to the Rabbit Creek drainage (see Three Vent Hot Spring in Rabbit Creek Group).

Hot spring MNN028, looking north:

Rabbit Creek hot spring MNN028 Yellowstone

Rabbit Creek Hot Springs Yellowstone

Hot spring MNN028, looking southwest (roll mouse over picture for view in eastern direction):

Rabbit Creek hot spring MNN028 Yellowstone

Rabbit Creek Hot Springs Yellowstone
Adjacent to MNN028 are the hot springs MNN027 and MNN029.

Hot spring MNN027:

Rabbit Creek hot spring MNN027 Yellowstone

Rabbit Creek Hot Springs Yellowstone

Hot spring MNN029:

Rabbit Creek hot spring MNN029 Yellowstone

Rabbit Creek Hot Springs Yellowstone

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