yellowstone old faithful
Yellowstone National Park
Old Faithful & Around

The Old Faithful Geyser was named in 1870 by the Washburn Expedition, due to its regular eruptions. This one mile area is chock full of geysers, and each geyser or hot spring is different, with unique sounds and different colors. Some are noisy and active, puffing, belching and blurping, others are silent and mysterious; spend time getting to know each one. Kids can collect their favorite names for thermal features; e.g., the Spiteful Geyser really does bubble up in a spiteful way, Morning Glory Pool has deep blue colors like the flower, Anemone Geyser squirts up plumes of water

Old Faithful area -
Visitor Center - First thing, stop into the Visitor Center to find out the predicted time for the next eruption of Old Faithful. The geyser erupts about every 90 minutes. (The predicted time is pretty good, but it's not exact. Old Faithful erupted 10 minutes late when we were there.)
Tip: Old Faithful is one of the most popular areas in the park, so come early in the day to get a parking spot; by noon the parking lots are very crowded.
Old Faithful Geyser - There are benches around the geyser, so you can stake out a spot in advance. With bigger kids, a nice option is to hike up to Observation Point for a panoramic view of Old Faithful. The hike up to Observation Point is about 2 miles round trip from the visitor center; the trail goes across a sparkling stream and through the woods, past lichen-covered rocks up to the overlook.
More geysers - Besides Old Faithful, there's plenty of geysers and hot pools to see, all within walking distance. The loop trails goes around Geyser Hill, and a longer trail to Morning Glory Pool. Our favorites were Grotto Geyser covered with amazing crusty stuff, Castle Geyser that just kept spouting for about half an hour, and the Morning Glory Pool, turquoise blue at the bottom, and ringed around bright orange at the top. The paved trails and boardwalks are largely level (even little kids can walk to Morning Glory Pool), and okay for strollers.
Rent bikes - Rent bikes at the Snow Lodge, and bike along the paved bike path to Morning Glory Pool, or keep going all the way to Biscuit Basin. Kids' bikes and helmets are available.
Old Faithful Inn - Stop into the Old Faithful Inn, a glorious wooden structure from 1904. The log lobby is seven stories high, and built around a huge four-sided stone fireplace (with four fires burning). On the second floor is an outdoor terrace with comfy chairs, and a perfect view of Old Faithful.
Black Sand Basin - You can walk to Black Sand Basin on the trail from Daisy Geyser (a turnoff on the trail to Morning Glory Pool), or drive to the parking lot. Our favorite hydrothermal was the Emerald Pool - the shallow upper rim of the hot spring is bright mustard yellow, deeper depths are brilliant green. Also, water flows into Iron Spring Creek with mineral-colored waters like melted caramel and vanilla ice cream.
Biscuit Basin - The soil around Biscuit Basin is light colored, a beautiful setting for the incomparable Sapphire Pool. Just past the pool, we loved the Jewel Geyser that just kept spiffing and spouting up water. Get out and stretch your legs with a hike to Mystic Falls along the Firehole River.
Midway Geyser Area - Here the pools are big and the colors are striking. Thermal waters flow hither and yon in wavy patterns of chalky orange, mustard yellow, rust red, and pencil black. The biggie is the Grand Prismatic Spring, it's the biggest hot spring in the United States!
Places to picnic - icnic along the river at Black Sand Basin, Biscuit Basin, Midway Geyser (good place to wade also) and the Fountain Lake Drive turnoff.
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