Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park

4.5 out of 5 stars 48 Reviews

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  • Grandson's photo  in 2010
    Grandson's photo in 2010
    by grandmaR
  • Grandson's photo - he took a lot of them
    Grandson's photo - he took a lot of them
    by grandmaR
  • My picture from in front of the Inn 2010
    My picture from in front of the Inn 2010
    by grandmaR
  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo

    Old Faithful Geyser

    by Ewingjr98 Written Nov 5, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

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    Old Faithful Geyser is probably the most famous and most crowded location in Yellowstone National Park. This geyser was named in 1870 because of its relatively constant interval of about 90 minutes between eruptions. Eruptions can launch 4000 to almost 9000 gallons of boiling water 145 feet in the air with a duration of one and a half to five minutes.

    While the old faithful name implies eruptions occur like clockwork, in fact there is some guesswork and unpredictability involved. Old Faithful will erupt about 65 minutes (+/- 10 minutes) after an eruption lasting less than 2.5 minutes or 92 minutes (+/- 10 minutes) after an eruption lasting more than 2.5 minutes.

    Old Faithful is not the only geyser in the park by any means. Yellowstone is said to be the largest thermal basin in the world with thousands of hot springs and 300 to 500 geysers. Yellowstone's nine geyser basins contain about half of all the geysers on the planet. While Yellowstone is most visitors favorite geyser, Steamboat Geyser in the park is the world's tallest active geyser.

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    Old Faithful

    by PinkFloydActuary Written Jun 16, 2008

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    Old Faithful
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    Without a doubt, this is the most well known site in the park. Old Faithful gets its name from the fact that folks can predict when it will erupt within a slight margin of error. Be ready for a parking lot of amusement park proportions – it was packed on the day I arrived. After parking, head towards the visitor center to find when the next eruption is predicted. At that point, you can decide what to do next. I had enough time to head over to the general store to buy some lunch, then headed back to the seating area around the geyser. There are three rows of benches surrounding Old Faithful, plus a large sidewalk area as well for those who don’t get a seat. Wait for the show to begin! Pictures here include two vantage points - up close at the seating area, then later when I was walking back around the loop trail in the geyser area. Check out the travelogues for more from up close!

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  • Yaqui's Profile Photo

    Old Faithful

    by Yaqui Updated Sep 14, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    There she blows...wow!

    Old Faithful erupts more frequently than any of the other big geyser. It eruptions is about 91 minutes . An eruption may lasts 1 1/2 to 5 minutes and expels at least 3,700 - 8,400 gallons of boiling water and reaches heights of 106 - 184 feet. Named being consistent performance by the 1870 Washburn Expedition. It's average interval has lengthened through the years (due to earthquakes and vandalism), Old Faithful is still as spectacular and predictable as it was a century ago and everyone who comes to see Yellowstone park should seek out Old Faithful:-)

    We were lucky because their weren't a lot of people during this visit. I think it was because we visited not soon have the horrendous 1988 fire season and people thought the park hadn't recovered. Nature is amazing and life did return not soon after that.

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  • 807Wheaton's Profile Photo

    It's not too long a wait

    by 807Wheaton Updated Jul 10, 2007

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Nice area to wait for the show
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    Old Faithful goes off about every 90 minutes. We were fortunate to get there just about on time for the eruption. Boardwalks direct you to the visitors center for information and out to the place where there are benches for waiting. We had our picnic lunch while we waited.
    We usually have some cheese, fruit and bread in our cooler along with water.

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  • Toughluck's Profile Photo

    Faithful as ever

    by Toughluck Updated Mar 23, 2007
    Old Faithful

    My first visit to Old Faithful was a long time ago. Then, the wait seemed for ever. The next time, we visited, we stayed in the Lodge (really cabins in the woods around the geyser basin). The view out our window was of old faithful. It's been a favorite ever since.

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  • toonsarah's Profile Photo

    Top of the must-see list?

    by toonsarah Updated Oct 28, 2006

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    Old Faithful in action

    Is there a tourist who visits Yellowstone and doesn’t go to watch Old Faithful erupt? It’s the most frequent of the predictable geysers and as such can guarantee even the most hurried of visitors a spectacular show.

    But for me this very predictability and the consequent tourist activity meant that this was far from being a highlight of the trip, though of course I’m glad I’ve seen it. The site of the geyser has been “improved” by the placing of a large number of benches angled for the best views, and well before the predicted time of an eruption the tourists gather dutifully in large numbers, complete with snacks and drinks – just as in a cinema, or so it seemed to me. It was almost as if a ranger was waiting somewhere for the right time, and for sufficient numbers to be assembled, before flicking the switch marked “erupt”. Of course I know that isn’t the case, but it all felt so staged it might just have been so! Just the same, of course you must go to see this spectacle and judge for yourself.

    Anyway, some facts:
    - the average time between eruptions of Old Faithful is currently 90 minutes (signs in the Visitor Center tell you when the next eruption is due)
    - Old Faithful can vary in height from 100-180 feet with an average near 130-140 feet
    - eruptions normally last between 1.5 to 5 minutes
    - eruptions can be predicted with a 90 percent confidence rate within a 10 minute variation
    - during an eruption, the water temperature at the vent has been measured at 204°F (95.6°C). The steam temperature has been measured above 350°F
    - the amount of water expelled during an eruption ranges from 3,700 to 8,400 gallons

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  • Chip_Master's Profile Photo

    Old Faithful

    by Chip_Master Written Oct 12, 2006

    No vist to Yellowstone is complete without visiting Old Faithful. While you are waiting for the next eruption use the time to explore the info center, explore the wonderful old lodge. Also don't miss the round about hike to the other geysers and hot spring pools.

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  • jasperdo's Profile Photo

    Old Faithful

    by jasperdo Updated Aug 3, 2006

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    Old Faithful
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    I consider Old Faithful a lot like the Eiffel Tower or Big Ben. If you're going there you have to see it, even though there are much better places to go. So, be a tourist, sit with thousands of other tourists, look at your watch, and watch Old Faithful erupt. Just be sure that this isn't the only thing you do while in Yellowstone National Park. There are so many other things that are far superior to Old Faithful in my opinion.

    To be fair, Old Faithful is an impressive geyser. And the fact that it can be predicted fairly accurately is a plus. Most other geysers in the park are hit and miss. We lucked out and saw one other geyser erupt, just missed a few others and waited and waited for another one that failed to deliver. But Old Faithful does deliver as promised. But I just don't feel that the hype and insane crowds are worth the 3 minute eruption. Many people find Old Faithful the highlight of their vacation, and that's fine. I'm just not into crowds. Old Faithful feels more like going to Disneyland than a National Park. But that's just me.

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  • Florida999's Profile Photo

    Old Faithful and Lodge area

    by Florida999 Updated Aug 3, 2006

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    Old Faithful
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    We had great timing! Just as we walked up , Old Faithful errupted!
    This was really the only area that was very crowded. I think most people don't walk any further than about 200 feet from their cars....
    We walked around the entire loop trail in this geyser basin and saw a few more small geysers , like the Sawmill one at the bottom, but the larger ones were only smoking.
    Lots of pretty pools and springs to look at here too!
    The Yellowstone Inn lodge had some rather strange looking but cool architecture. On the inside, the logs look like tree trunks and branches that had been left in their original state.

    My kids wanted to touch the water after Old Faithfull errupted, and they did. It was cold by the time it got there and they got an electric shock when they touched it. ( try it!)

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  • johngayton's Profile Photo

    A Cliche but a MUST!

    by johngayton Written Mar 15, 2006

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    Normally when I am on holiday I'm not really that interested in doing the "touristy bits", I am much more interested in finding local bars and having a few beers, getting to meet the people and just generally having a good time.

    There are the odd exceptions to my rule and Yellowstone has been one (Though I did catch a couple of bars as well!).

    In addition to getting some superb game photos, the visit to Old Faithful was well worth doing, both for the visual spectacular as well as to listen to the comments of my fellow tourists.

    For more photos and comments see travelogue on this page.

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  • leafmcgowan's Profile Photo

    Old Faithful and the Upper Geyser Basin

    by leafmcgowan Written May 31, 2005

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    Old Faithful

    From Fountain Paint Pot, I headed down Hwy 87 1.2 miles (2 km) to Firehole Lake Drive where I was amazed by more hot lakes, geysers, hot springs, and a hot cascade. Firehole Spring, Surprise Pool, Great Fountain geyser, White Dome geyser, Pink Cone Geyser, and the amazing firehole Lake. Young Hopeful spouting up to 4 ft, while others do 15 ft - past Steady Geyser, Hot Lake, Black Warrior Lake, and the Hot Cascades - right back onto Hwy 87. Hit the Upper Geyser Basin where was amazed by more volcanic beauties. It is here that the majority of the world's most active geysers reside - only three other locations in the world - Iceland, New Zealand, and Kamchatka (Siberia) have large concentrations of hydrothermal features like this - and Yellowstone being the largest - hosts here 5 famous geysers - Old Faithful, Castle, Grand, Daisy, and Riverside.

    Old Faithful I stuck around and waited for Old Faithful to erupt. How could I not. If you go to Yellowstone, it's a must see. Though I've been here several times, and have seen Old Faithful perform - its still spectacular on the 8th visit to the park. Old Faithful erups more frequently than any other geysers - and is why its named such. Its average interval between eruptions is about 94 minutes and it expels 3,700-8,400 gallons (14,000-32,000 liters) of boiling water and reaches a height of 106-184 feet. Its average interval has lengthened through time, but still remains faithful to its viewers. Anemone Geyser, Plume Geyser, Beehive Geyser, Lion Group, Double Pool, Giantess Geyser, Castle Geyser, Crested Pool, Grand Geyser, Beauty Pool, Chromatic Pool, Giant Geyser, Grotto Geyser, Riverside Geyser, Morning Glory Pool, Daisy Geyser, Black Sand Basin, Emerald Pool, Rainbow Pool, Sunset Lake, Cliff Geyser, Biscuit Basin, Mustard Spring, Jewel Geyser, and many more surround Old Faithful ... and will consume your wait time inbetween eruptions.

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  • TimDaoust's Profile Photo

    Old Faithful

    by TimDaoust Updated Apr 16, 2005

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Old Faithful

    Old Faithful, I just learned, is not the most regular nor is it the highest in the park but apparently due to the fact that it is the biggest regular geyser, it has been given the name old faithful. It is easier for the park rangers to predict old faithful's eruptions than it is for some of the more infrequent geyser eruptions that may be larger. So hence, the geyser's popularity. I think everyone who comes here has seen it, and those who have heard anything about yellowstone park, have heard of it. It was quite amazing to see. My father actually took several pictures as it was erupting so that you could look back and see the progression from it's first spurt to its height. For more info on its legends and lore, and for more disheveling of myths, go

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  • annk's Profile Photo

    A National Icon

    by annk Updated Mar 30, 2005

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    Old Faithful

    Old Faithful is the most famous geyser in the world although it's not the most regular or tallest. It erupts every 45 to 80 minutes for 2 to 5 minutes and reaches a height of 100-180 feet. Old Faithful is just the beginning of exploring the geothermal features in the Upper Geyser Basin. There are 100's of geysers and colorful hot springs in a couple mile radius. The Park Service Visitors Center posts approximate times the local geysers will erupt. There are miles of boardwalk around the geothermal area which keeps visitors at a safe distance.

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  • JanPeter74's Profile Photo

    Old Faithful Geyser and Upper Geyser Basin

    by JanPeter74 Written Sep 9, 2004

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    Old Faithful

    Old Faithful lies in the Upper Geyser Basin (also referred to as Old Faithful Area). It is one of the most regular and predictable geysers in the world. On average, it erupts every 90 minutes with a margin of 10 minutes earlier or later. The next eruption is indicated in the adjacent visitors centre. An eruption lasts 1 1/2 to 5 minutes and reaches heights of 30 - 55 metres.

    The Upper Geyser Basin has the largest concentration of geysers in the world. The eruptions of several other geysers in this area are predicted as well. Again, these predictions can be found in the visitors centre.
    Especially Grand Geyser and Castle Geyser are great!

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  • Zanzibargirl's Profile Photo

    That Old Geyser

    by Zanzibargirl Written Jul 22, 2004

    Old Faithful is Yellowstones most well known Geyser. In a park that has the most geysers and concentration of bubbling pools spurting sprays and paint pots, this is the one that everyone goes to see. It erupts like clockwork several times a day, and you cant not see it while you are there.

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