31 July, 2021

Old Faithful and Upper Geyser Basin - Yellowstone itinerary Day #2

Read this post to plan the Yellowstone Vacation with kids - How to Plan Vacation to Yellowstone

Our Day #1 itinerary covering Yellowstone Waterfalls - The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

Our Day #2 itinerary covering the mid-way geyser basin - The Grand Prismatic Spring

 On Day #2, we covered the midway geyser basin in the morning and Upper and Lower geyser basins in the evening.

Pin it for later!

Upper Geyser Basin:

The upper geyser basin is composed of multiple paved paths and boardwalks which allows us to see many geysers from nearer. 

This is the place with the highest concentration of geysers. As we all know, Old faithful is the popular geyser in this area.

The Upper geyser basin loop is 3 miles and can be reached from Old faithful inn. 

Upper Geyser basin Trail

The old faithful inn was designed by Robert Reamer in 1903 which is a historic building with lodge pines. The architecture inside is beautiful and the place on the roof with seating to view the Old faithful erupt is well designed.

Old Faithful Inn

We started our trail for the Upper geyser basin from the Old faithful inn parking lot. There are many Bison happily resting near Old faithful inn and rolling in the dust.

The trail starts at the castle geyser. Castle geyser is a big cone and one of the oldest geysers in the basin. As of now, it's erupting every 10 to 12 hrs and the National park service displays the approximate eruption time for all the geysers.

We cross through the crested pool along a bridge and the other side has 3 geysers - Spasmodic, Grand, and Turban geysers. They all erupt at once every 1 to 3 hrs. This is fascinating to watch. The water rises above 10 ft.

The heat in this area comes from Yellowstone Volcano which is inactive. The molten lava or magma is as close as 3 to 8 miles underground in the Upper geyser basin. So, as close as we can get to danger :-)

The beauty pool is colorful to watch. Then we pass through several geysers like Giant geyser, Grotto geyser, and riverside geyser. We saw Grotto geyser erupting venting off a lot of steam and making loud sounds. There is a bench to sit on just before Grotto geyser. We also saw an Elk in this area up close!

Morning Glory Pool:

But, the highlight of this trail is Morning Glory Pool which is one of the not-to-miss locations.

The photos don't do much justice here and you should definitely watch this pool.

Morning Glory Pool

Unfortunately, this pool has become a victim of Vandalism. Since people dropped coins and trash in the pool, steaming vents closed making the temperature drop, blocking the natural spring water.

Orange and Yellow bacteria give the color to the spring that we see now. It would have been magnificent before the steam vents were closed. 

After this trail, we had dinner in Old faithful Inn watching the Old faithful erupt from the roof. This is an amazing view!

Old Faithful Geyser:

What's so special about this geyser that it has become an icon in Yellowstone?

Old Faithful has been faithfully erupting at regular intervals since 1872. The water can rise to 180 ft max when it erupts and it erupts every 60 -110 mins. The eruption might last between 1.5 to 5 mins.

Old Faithful Geyser

The national park service predicts the eruption to the exact hours and mins. Since it erupts almost every 1 hr / 1.5 hrs, it is easy to catch it erupt. We had dinner every day at Old faithful inn and watched the eruption at least 2 to 3 times in those 4 days that we spent in Yellowstone. 

Watch the video of the Old Faithful eruption.

This is the second not-to-miss location in Yellowstone in the Upper geyser basin.

During the eruption, the temperature of water in the Old faithful may reach 204 F. It releases around 3700 to 8400 gallons of water for each eruption!

Old faithful Observation Point:

We were too tired to walk to the observation point, but the trail to the Observation point is around 1.3 miles. From there, you can watch the complete upper geyser basin and the Old faithful.

Lower Geyser Basin:

The lower geyser basin covers all types of hydrothermal features like geysers, hot springs, fumaroles, and mud pots.

We took the trail to the fountain paint pots only as we were tired by that time. The fountain geyser in this area seemed to be most impressive when it erupts. It is the most predictable geyser it seems.

Fountain paint pots are formed by mud pots bubbling and popping mud. They look a little pink and other colors which gave the name Fountain paint pots.

Fountain Paint Pots

Red Spouter is interesting to watch in that area. It is like a hot spring in winter, a muddy reddish pool in spring, and fumarole steam venting out in summer and fall. Isn't it amazing how it changes with seasons?

One more place to watch is Biscuit Basin. We couldn't stop there due to a time crunch. Biscuit Basin loop is a 2/3 of a mile hike that covers some colorful hot springs and geysers. This area is unpredictable and volatile. It recorded an earthquake at 7.5 on the Richter scale in 1959 it seems.

We wrapped up that day and returned to the hotel. The next day we covered Norris geyser basin, Mammoth hot springs, and Roosevelt Arch. Watch out for the next travelogue soon!

Until next time,

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