The Largest concentration of geysers in the world is in the Upper Geyser Basin. Check at the Old Faithful Visitor Center to find out when some of these wonderful Geysers are predicted to erupt, but remember, these are just guesses. Old Faithful is the most famous geyser in the park and is located in the Upper Geyser Basin. This geyser erupts more frequently than the other big geysers, erupting every 40 to 126 minutes. Old Faithful’s eruption lasts from 1 ½ minutes to 5 minutes on average, and reaches heights of about 105 – 184 feet, expelling 3,700 to 8,400 gallons of boiling water.
Click my Video tab to watch my short video, Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone Park, which will give you a view of a partial eruption of Old Faithful.
Beehive Geyser is another favorite geyser in this basin, I know it is my favorite in the park. Unfortunately this geyser can be dormant for long periods, and we have only been lucky enough to watch it once, and I didn’t happen to have my camera along! The eruption usually lasts for about 4 to 5 minutes. The narrow cone of Beehive acts like a nozzle, projecting a powerful column of water to a height of 130 to 180 feet in the air. This geyser is generally higher than Old Faithful and certainly much noisier as it roars while the water is forcefully shot upwards. It is spectacular!!
When you get to Grand Geyser, if the pool looks full, and people seem to be gathering around it, wait awhile and you might be lucky enough to see this one erupt. This is a fountain geyser, which erupts in bursts rather than a column like Old Faithful and Beehive. This is the tallest predictable geyser in the world, sometimes reaching 200 feet.
There are many more geysers to enjoy in the Upper Geyser Basin, so don’t just watch Old Faithful, then jump in your car and head out again.
If you missed the link to the Old Faithful Web Cam that I had placed on my Yellowstone Introduction Page, check the website below.
There are many "one must thing to do" points of interest in Yellowstone National Park but the one that is truly faithful and it is surly old has to be the one and only "Old Faithful Geyser".
This geyser is one of about 300 in the park, but you can be sure of when this one will erupt. After a short eruption under 2.5 minutes, the next steam display is about 60 minutes away, give or take 10 minutes. If the last eruption was for over the 2.5 minutes, up to 5 minutes for the lucky viewers, the next display will take place in about 90 minutes. The average height of an eruption is about 145 feet. There is plenty of room to watch this steam display with a hugh semi-circle seating area around the geyser. Make sure you have the wind to your side or back away from the spray to fully enjoy "Old Faithful".
The website for the Park has a web cam aimed at "Old Faithful", that updates within seconds. This is a great way to see the seasons of Yellowstone through the eyes of the web cam. You may even be able to time your cam visit to seeing the geyser at it's peak steam output, remember roughly every 60 minutes.
Old Faithful Geyser is the most popular geyser by far. Its eruptions aren't the largest or the longest but it is the most accessible and one of the most predictable. The viewing for this Geyser is made easy by a boardwalk with bench seating that encircles it.
Old Faithful erupts about 20 to 23 times per day. Its average in interval between eruptions is 70 minutes. For information on times for the next eruption, check with the visitors center. The next predicted time is posted every day on a bulletin board as well as many other predictable geysers like: Castle, Grand, Riverside, and Great Fountain in the lower geyser basin.
The eruption of Old Faithful shoots water between 106 and 184 feet (30-55m). The eruptions last anywhere from 1.5 to 5 minutes and expels 3,700 - 8,400 gallons (14,000 - 32,000 liters) of water and steam in each eruption. The temperature of the water being shot out of the geyser has been measured at 204 F (95.6 C) and the steam has been measured at above 350 F (176 C).
Like many of the other geysers in the area it was named by the Washburn expedition for the regularity that it exhibited. On any trip to Yellowstone Old Faithful Geyser is a must see activity for sure.
If you have visited Yellowstone National Park, inevitably the question everyone will ask you is "Did you see Old Faithful?". It's the parks most famous feature. You really have to pop over to see it erupt. It goes over fairly regularly, about every 94 (give or take 10) minutes, and lasts from 2-5 minutes. The eruption times are posted in the Old Faithful Vistor Center so it's fairly easy to schedual a visit. You can tour the many other geysers in the upper geyser basin as you wait, or just sit on a bench and relax.
We actually saw it go off twice. The first time we saw it was at about 10pm after we had eaten dinner in the Old Faithful Dining Room at the Inn right near by.( Reservations are necessary to eat here. There are no Old Faithful views unfortunately). While we waited , I picked up some tea and hot cocoa for us, as well as some socks (it was chilly and I had sandals on) in the Old Faithful Snow Lodge gift shop. It was worth the wait, Lou took some great night shots.
The second time was the following day. It was cloudy and rainy at the time. The weather had just changed about an hour before, it had been sunny and what felt like about 90 degrees F.
The geyser is surrounded by a recycled plastic platform with a ton of benches. Old Faithful can shoot into the air up to about 180 feet. The spray does not reach any of the bystanders though.
A webcam is located in the visitor center, so you can take a sneak peak at it erupting before your visit, I certainly did!
In its most glorious eruptions, Old Faithful may reach 180 feet (55 meters) high.
this picture shows and average eruption.
At Old Faithful Village you’ll find it easy to catch an eruption. Predictions are posted during summer and winter daylight hours in the Old Faithful Visitor Center. Lots of benches on Old Faithful’s geyserite mound let you wait in comfort, or you can watch from the second floor balcony of Old Faithful Inn.
How often does Old Faithful erupt? In 2003, the average interval between eruptions was about 93 minutes, but the range is from 55 to 118 minutes. The interval has lengthened from the 60 to 65 minutes recorded by early visitor Nathaniel Langford in 1870.
Old Faithful may not last forever. Earthquakes as far away as central Idaho have influenced its intervals in the past and could change the geyser drastically in the future. Also, it is gradually building up deposits of the mineral silica within its throat, which could one day seal it off completely.
to get into the park (yellowstone) you have to pay a fee. hear are the
1. Private, Non-commercial Vehicle
$20 - 7 Days
$40 - Annual
2. Individual - hike, bicycle, etc.
$10 - 7 Days
$40 - Annual
$15 - 7 Days
$40 - Annual
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Geysers are hot springs with narrow spaces in their "plumbing" through which water erupts. One of the most famous (and visited) is the cone geyser called Old Faithful. Located just south of the Upper Basin Geysers, its eruption length/height and time between eruptions vary from day-to-day and year-to-year.
Since we arrived in W. Yellowstone in the late afternoon, we only had a few hours to get to Old Faithful. As luck would have it, we made it to the area before the next eruption. It was early October; so all of the crowds and traffic were gone...we took a seat up close and waited for Old Faithful to blow. Just when the geyser was about to blow, the camera batteries died!!!
We enjoyed the sight, but we were disappointed that we didn't get a picture...well maybe we could get a postcard and post it on VT. No way Jose!!! We found a camera store in town, purchased the batteries, came back the next day and got the pictures (only had to wait 10 minutes...how lucky was that!!!).
When my dad and mom took us to Yellowstone in 1948, my dad took several really good photos of Old Faithful. So I had to see it again, but really didn't spend much time taking its picture. For one thing, it was hard for me to walk very far and I couldn't walk very fast - I have both respiratory problems and arthritis.
From our room we could see when Old Faithful was erupting. My grandson seemed to have some kind of internal clock (he didn't have a watch) which told him when the next eruption was going to occur and he would run out and take more pictures. I had to be satisfied with pictures from out in front of the Inn (photo 2)
On our Circle of Fire tour, we were picked up and dropped off at the Inn, but some people were picked up at Grant Lodge. Those people got a chance to see Old Faithful when we got back to the Inn after the tour and then were taken back to Grant.
Because you HAVE to see Old Faithful when you go to Yellowstone
By the time we returned to our original position where several rows of seats are set-up on the boardwalk viewing area, it was already packed with spectators as the eruption time moved closer. We simply found a place on the boardwalk itself, where we sat down with our legs dangling over the edge. It was 3 PM when Old Faithful suddenly began spouting skyward – it was anticlimactic in a way because the geyser made practically no sound with each of its eruptions! A large snow white plume of steam and water would suddenly rise up 150 ft (45 m) or so before collapsing and doing it over and over again for about 15 minutes. If you are in Yellowstone NP, seeing Old Faithful in action is a ‘must do’ activity!
This geyser was first recorded by outsiders in September, 1870 as an exploration team passed through the area. Because it erupted nine times while they were observing it, they decided it should be named Old Faithful. In actual fact, the timing of the spouts can vary between a half-hour to two hours depending on the depth of the water levels below, which can be affected by earthquake activity. The regularity of its spouting is believed to be due to the fact that its thermal pool is not connected to any of the others in Yellowstone.
Naturally, it was a mad dash by hundreds of spectators to get back to their cars once the show was over and there was also quite a jam of vehicles trying to exit the area at the same time. However, it seemed to clear itself without too much delay and we were away and still heading south, hoping to finally find a lunch spot in West Thumb (we did) on the shore of Yellowstone Lake.
The Old Faithful area of Yellowstone NP is really set-up for a major influx of tourists – with large hotels, stores and tons of parking spaces for the hordes of visitors coming to view this world-famous attraction. It was almost 1:30 PM by the time we arrived and just finding a parking spot alone was difficult enough, not to mention the dark rain clouds that absolutely poured down on us for the first time on this trip as we tried to find a vacant spot.
We did succeed in the end and, once the short but violent rain shower had stopped, we headed out front of the major hotels onto a wide boardwalk arrangement that circled Old Faithful at a safe distance. We could see that not much was happening yet, so decided to talk a walk around the geyser while we were waiting for the next eruption, even though many of the available seating spots on the boardwalk were already filling up. Blue Star Spring was small (9 x 10-ft and 6-ft deep) but very impressive. According to Wikipedia “It received its name from the star-like sinter formation around the edge of the pool. Extensive ledges have formed three to four feet over the crater, creating an illusion of a small spring. A bison calf fell into the pool in the mid-1980s and the bones can still be seen on the bottom. No known subterranean connection exists with other thermal features.”
The 2nd photo shows that we were not alone wandering the boardwalk while the 3rd shows one of the large hotels surrounding the area, in this case it was the Old Faithful Inn – a national historic landmark. It is one of the few remaining all wood hotels in the USA, with its central core gabled-roof section built in 1903 and the east and west wings added in 1913-14 and 1927. It is so popular that reservations usually have to be made at least 6-months in advance – we had not called ahead!
Since we were staying right at the Old Faithful Inn, the geyser was right outside and easy to run out at the predicted time and photograph. It is perhaps the most studied and predicted geyser in the park if not in the world. Mathematicians, statisticians, and dedicated observers have analyzed it for many years. For example, a direct relationship exists between the duration of Old Faithful's eruption and the length of the following interval. During a short eruption, less water and heat are discharged; thus, they rebuild again in a short time. There were 'clocks' in the Old Faithful Inn which showed when the next eruption was predicted to be.
Interesting facts - it is a cone geyser and was named in 1870 during the Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition. It was the first geyser in the park to receive a name. The reliability of Old Faithful can be attributed to the fact that it is not connected to any other thermal features of the Upper Geyser Basin.
Of course, no visit to Yellowstone National Park would be complete without seeing Old Faithful sprout, right? This is the park's iconic sight and no one can come here without watching it blow its top at least once. While that is true, it is anticlimactic for most and perhaps the only real attraction is its predictability. It puts on its show about every 90 minutes though that can vary and the length between eruptions has slowly but steadily increased over the years. Hey, it is OLD Faithful, remember? He still blows pretty big, averaging over 140 feet and between 4 and 8 thousand gallons of water!
It's the scene that makes it a bit much. Everyone lining up an hour in advance to get the best “seats,” mingling about, telling stories of what it looked like back in yonder day. It seems everyone has seen it before but cannot help but come back to see it again. Hey, I came back and I don't remember being all that blown away by it when I first saw it in 1994 either. It's the lure of Old Faithful and it has not diminished over the years though I guess it must have been one hell of a sight to the explorers who first happened upon it in the late 1800s and saw all that water gushing into the heavens. Now, that would have been cool to see but what is left is a typical tourist attraction depleted by over-hype. You will undoubtedly come to see Old Faithful and its namesake lodge. It's like the inception of the national park concept right before your eyes. Just don't stop there, walk that loop behind the big famous geyser as there are more impressive sights to be seen out in them there hills.
This is the one everybody wants to see, and with reason. Although not the biggest nor the most frequent it is the one reasonably on time.Timing between eruptions is now around 97 minutes and is noted at the Old Faithful Visitor Centre. Some eruptions are better than others. Our first viewing was a bit of a dud, but when we came back after a walk round Geyser Hill, the second one was well worth waiting for. These shots are taken from the opposite side to the Visitor Centre with the sun backlighting Old Faithful. Only thing from this side is having the buildings partly in the shot.
Old Faithful is the biggest tourist attraction in Yellowstone, and therefore also one of the busiest and most crowded sites in the park. After the relative peace and quiet of Grand Teton, the hustle and bustle of the big crowds came as a bit of a shock to the system and took a moment to adjust to again.
Old Faithful is not the biggest geyser in Yellowstone, and probably not the prettiest either, but what it has going for it is its reliability and frequency. Eruptions occur approximately every 90 minutes, so you never have to hang around for too long until the next eruption. Estimated times are announced on a board next to the geyser, and can also be obtained at the visitor centre.
If you have some more time in the area it is worthwhile to do the mile-long hike up to Observation Point for a birds-eye view of an eruption. I had to wait about half an hour for an eruption when I arrived up there, but the time didn’t feel that long, as a few squirrels and chipmunks provided some entertainment and cute photo opportunities.
Eructing every 90 minutes, predictions usually may vary from 10 to 20 minutes. So it's quite easy to catch it. My raccomandation is to stay longer or coming back often and catch it from different locations; by sunset it's quite impressive.
At the end of our day we waited for the geyser to go off. It is a tradition, and the wait with the other visitors only enhanced the anticipation. The visitors centers were closed, but not the restaurants and gift shops. It was a quiet and peaceful evening. With a little sputter first to give us warning the geyser went off. For just a minute or two we watched. What a great way to end our visit.