The Grand Canyon’s Pumpkin Spring almost looks like an inviting place for a soak, but in reality, contains the most poisonous water in the canyon.
The unique limestone formation has taken the shape and color of a large, round, festive pumpkin, deposits creating a fibrous “vegetable” appearance, and the gourd’s distinctive downward stripes. Water pours into the top of the pumpkin, turns a caustic, murky green, and then runs over the sides and into the river below.
While the pool may appear to be full of mineral rich, hot springs goodness, and the pumpkin-shaped bowl seems hypnotically inviting, the warm waters are a witch’s brew of lead, zinc, copper, and very high levels of arsenic. While limited exposure is not fatal, it’s clearly not suggested. Recent testing has shown that 1 liter of water from Pumpkin Springs contains 1100 milligrams of the infamous toxin. Bathing in the water is not suggested, and drinking it is strictly prohibited, as well as extremely foolish.
While it’s ill-advised to touch, the Pumpkin Spring is one of the many beautiful stops along the winding Colorado River that should definitely be observed, appreciated and photographed.
Know Before You Go
Pumpkin Spring is at mile 212.9 along the Colorado River at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. You can only access this area by boat along the river.