What’s Old and Faithful and full of Hot Air?

If you want to see Geysers, this is The place to come! From being greeted by Old Faithful as you arrive, to the various geysers erupting at various times, this is a thrilling place to visit and can keep you entertained all day!

Castle Geyser

Old Faithful (photo below) is the best-known geyser, as it faithfully erupts roughly every 90 minutes (although the forecast depends on how long the last eruption was – but they publish the forecast at the visitors centre). 

Old Faithful

Old Faithful Geyser was indisputably fun, although I stupidly ran my camera battery down by constantly switching it on to capture the start of the eruption (why, I have no idea, as the eruption lasts about 3-4 minutes, so plenty of time to take photos!). There is a semi-circle of seats around Old Faithful which are FULL of tourists, so it is a little stressful to get there early to get a seat etc.

We actually preferred Castle Geyser (main photo) which erupted for about 30 minutes. Every time you think it’s finished, it starts again! It was much emptier of tourists so we were able to sit on benches swinging our legs around while watching the shadows lengthen and rainbows form in the steam.

The rest of the Upper Geysers a long network of boardwalks around many many geysers. Some erupt every 20 minutes, and other erupt every 8 hours. So you can take one of 2 approaches – either just be relaxed and laissez-faire, and see if you happen to see a geyser. Or you could be a super planner and work out a route that takes into account all the different schedules of geysers so maximise your chances of seeing geysers erupting.  We went for the first approach, but loitered a while around those geysers with a 15 or 20 minute frequency. You will also see groups of super-planners announcing “Tardy Geyser is erupting!” and marching off to see it. So you can always follow them!

The landscape here also has some very strange colours and shapes, due to the minerals and thermophilic bacteria, which is very interesting to look at while waiting for the next geyser to erupt.Minerals and Thermophilic bacteria

Upper Geyser Basin

All the while you can see Old Faithful going off in the distance…

Old faithful from afar

We also saw Chinese Spring, a small brilliantly blue coloured spring which has the fascinating tale of an Asian family used to do laundry here, putting soap and clothes into one side of the spring, which would shoot out clean. (It’s now illegal to put stuff in Geysers!).

Travel Tips:

  • The Upper Geyser Basin and surrounding area is much bigger than it looks. I would defo encourage you to go to the loo and eat lunch etc before you set out. This sounds stupid but we apparently are stupid, so we didn’t do these things. We were intending to go back to Yellowstone Lodge for lunch, but once we got half-way round it didn’t seem worth going all the way back for lunch and setting out again, so we carried on and ended up skipping lunch (and needing a wee!).

Next blog: Morning Glory Pool, Yellowstone, WY, USA

Previous blog: Norris Geyser Basin, Yellowstone, WY, USA

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