Getting water in Yellowstone thermal areas

Pringles

Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2015
Messages
263
Hi,

If you're hiking in Yellowstone's backcountry, and you need water, if you get water out of a creek that geysers and hot springs flow into, is it ok to use? I would filter or treat it, but do the thermal features add anything to the water that we shouldn't ingest? (Again, I'm not talking about grabbing water out of a hot spring.) Thanks for any information.
 
Joined
Aug 31, 2015
Messages
224
I'm not the most knowledgeable in the thermal features of Yellowstone and thermal features in general, but to my knowledge they can hold archaebacteria and possibly toxic to ingest earth metals/nonmetals like sulphur, some alkali's and very rarely radioactive (probably not in Yellowstone though). Archaebacteria can SERIOUSLY mess you up since they are adapted to live in extreme environments. A filter can in theory clean all of this stuff out, and the concentration would be low considering you are getting water from a creek that a geyser so happens to flow into. I hope this somewhat helps, others who actually regularly backpack in the area can weigh in and give their more valuable two cents.
 

Joey

walking somewhere
Joined
Apr 1, 2014
Messages
878
Nice reply Jeff. Way over my head, but I believe you.

I've drank water out of a large number of streams in the park, and never had problems. There is some funky tasting water, especially in Sour Creek, but if you get it out of the river or creek, and not the thermal spring itself, you will be fine. I've drank plenty of water out of Broad Creek where thermal features are running in, and been fine. I've certainly avoided some spots just because there were better choices. The Coffee Pot Hot Springs drainage is one of those I don't trust.

What area specifically are you thinking about?
 

Joey

walking somewhere
Joined
Apr 1, 2014
Messages
878
I will also add that the water in Yellowstone is very hard on a filter. Probably has to do with what Jeff was talking about. You will clog quickly. I've gone to using a Steripen, and therefore have no problem with clogging anymore. But of course that doesn't take out the taste or filter out debris, so you might not like it. Same with tablets.
 

Pringles

Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2015
Messages
263
At this point, I'm not thinking of anywhere in particular, but I was on a day hike this weekend, in a thermal area. While there was a nice creek flowing by, it struck me that water from the hot springs had emptied into the stream, and I wondered if that would really be good to use. I have a filter, and a steripen, or could use treatments, but I began to wonder if there was something extra in this water, and maybe it shouldn't be consumed. Of course, bison and wolves and bears and all the rest drink it, but they may be avoiding some streams and I sure wouldn't know it. So I thought I'd throw out the question. Thanks for your responses.
 
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