Explore the Old Faithful Area of Yellowstone
About the Upper Geyser Basin
Yellowstone has almost 60 percent of the world’s geysers. The Upper Geyser Basin, home to the most famous geyser in the world, Old Faithful, has the most geysers in the Park. In just one square mile there are over 150 but only five of the large geysers are monitored and their eruptions predicted by the National Park Service naturalists. Other than Old Faithful, which isn’t quite as faithful as it sounds, there are Castle, Grand, Daisy, and Riverside. Of course, there are a huge number of smaller geysers that erupt regularly as well as many hot springs and one mudpot that cropped up recently.
Things To Do In the Old Faithful Area
- Check out the Natural Features such as Old Faithful, Midway Geyser Basin or the Firehole River
- Explore the Geological Points of Interest including evidence of lava flows 600,000 years ago and reminders that 13,000 years ago, the area was buried under ice!
- Visit Historic Locations such as the Old Faithful Lodge
- Stop by the New Old Faithful Visitor Center
- Ranger-Led Programs
- Day Hikes
About Old Faithful
Old Faithful is not as consistent as its name would suggest. Prediction of Old Faithful depends on the length and volume of the previous eruption. While the Visitor Center is open, geyser predictions are posted by the naturalists. The average time between eruptions for Old Faithful is currently about 91 minutes, but this is just an average, and a bit misleading. Really, it’s anywhere between 60-110 minutes.
Old Faithful’s eruptions can be up to 184 feet (56 m) high, averaging about 130 feet (40 m). The eruptions normally last 1.5 to 5 minutes, and happen about 17 times a day. The predictions are 90 percent correct, plus-or-minus 10 minutes. Earthquakes in the area, big and small, have been lengthening the average interval between eruptions for the last several decades. Generally speaking, if an eruption lasts less than 2.5 minutes then there will be about a 60 minute interval. If an eruption lasts more than 2.5 minutes, there will be closer to a 90 minute interval. How many gallons of water are ejected during an eruption depends on how long it goes. The current estimate is that it ranges from 3,700 gallons (for a short eruption of 1.5 minutes) to 8,400 gallons (for a longer eruption of 4.5 minutes).
You really wouldn’t want to be any closer to the eruption than the walkway because 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!
Other Services in the Old Faithful Area
- Nice Bathrooms
- Medical Clinic
- Yellowstone Association Bookstore
- General Stores
- Lodging Food Service
- Gas Station
- Post Office