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Experiencing the Old Faithful Geyser Basin

No visit to Yellowstone National Park is complete without a visit to the Old Faithful Geyser Basin. Here is information about Old Faithful eruption times as well as things to do and see in the immediate area.
Old Faithful Summer

Old Faithful Geyser

Old Faithful is one of nearly 500 geysers in Yellowstone National Park. Seeing it erupt is a park tradition and people from all over the world have journeyed here to watch this famous geyser in action. Old Faithful is approximately a two-hour drive from Jackson Hole.

It’s not always easy to predict geyser eruptions with regularity, but Old Faithful has lived up to its name, only lengthening the time between eruptions by about 30 minutes over the last 30 years.

To help plan your time and day trip in the Old Faithful area visit this link for the next eruption time: geysertimes.org.

You can also watch the Old Faithful Geyser live-streaming webcam: nps.gov/features/yell/webcam/oldFaithfulStreaming.html You never know what you will see: Each eruption is different and wildlife often visits. The average interval between eruptions changes. The usual interval is 94 minutes, plus or minus 10 minutes, with intervals ranging from 51 to 120 minutes. Old Faithful can vary in height from 106 to more than 180 feet, averaging 130 feet. Eruptions normally last between 1½ to 5 minutes and expel from 3,700 to 8,400 gallons of water. At the vent, water is 203ºF (95.6ºC).

The reliability of Old Faithful inspired early developers to build special viewing areas, lodging and concessions for visitors to watch eruptions.

Old Faithful Inn- Yellowstone National Park

Old Faithful Inn

While visiting the Old Faithful Geyser area be sure to check out the 113-year-old Old Faithful Inn, the most famous structure in the national park system and a National Historic Landmark. Robert C. Reamer, who wanted the asymmetry of the building to reflect the “chaos of nature,” designed it. The inn is one of the few remaining log hotels in the United States. It is a building of gigantic proportions: nearly 700 feet in length and seven stories high. The lobby of the hotel features a 65-foot ceiling, a massive rhyolite fireplace and railings made of contorted lodgepole pine. Wings were added to the hotel in 1915 and 1927, and today there are 327 rooms available to guests.

Click on this link for a short video about Old Faithful Inn and the Upper Geyser Basin.

Take a seat in one of the rocking chairs in the lobby or have a drink on the outdoor deck that overlooks Old Faithful. You can also take a free historical tour that happens at 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. An additional treat would be to have breakfast, lunch or dinner in the Old Faithful Inn restaurant.

Old Faithful Visitor Education Center - Yellowstone National Park

Old Faithful Visitor Education Center

The Visitor Education Center features exhibits on Yellowstone’s hydrothermal features (geysers, hot springs, mudpots, and steam vents or fumaroles), life in these extreme environments, the volcano beneath Yellowstone and ongoing scientific research. Children can enjoy the Young Scientist exhibit room, which includes a full-size geyser model and hands-on exhibits. Day and evening ranger-led programs for adults and youth are presented during the summer and the winter seasons. Kids can learn about Yellowstone’s wildlife, geysers, history and much more. This is a great opportunity for kids ages 5 to 12 years old to complete the ranger-led activity required to earn a Junior Ranger patch.

Old Faithful Geyser Basin - Yellowstone

Walk the Upper Geyser Basin

Get out and stretch those legs while touring the world’s largest collection of geysers in the Upper Geyser Basin. Yellowstone, as a whole, possesses close to 60% of the world's geysers and the Upper Geyser Basin is home to the largest numbers of this fragile feature found in the park. Within one square mile there are at least 150 of these hydrothermal wonders. Of this remarkable number, the naturalist staff predicts only five major geysers regularly. They are Castle, Grand, Daisy, Riverside and Old Faithful.

While strolling the boardwalks around the upper basin you may also be able to see bison who tend to enjoy being close to these thermal features.

No trip to Jackson Hole is complete without a visit to the Old Faithful Geyser Basin, so be sure to add it to your agenda! Don't miss our article on, Yellowstone National Park One-Day Lower Loop Sightseeing Itinerary