Upper Geyser Basin Trail

Difficulty
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Easy
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
1-1.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
5.6 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
35 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead

The Upper Geyser Basin Trail is a popular destination in Yellowstone National Park. This short hiking circuit tours geothermal features, including Old Faithful, one of the Park’s most iconic geysers. The Upper Geyser Basin trail is family-friendly and easily accessible for hikers of all ages and skill levels.

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Route Description for Upper Geyser Basin Trail

The Upper Geyser Basin Trail is a must-do on your visit to Yellowstone National Park. This trail is a popular tourist destination and gets very busy, especially in the summer. We recommend heading out on this trail early in the morning to beat the crowds. Alternatively, you can check out this trail after 6 pm when the tourist buses have left for the day. If you are okay with sharing the trail, visiting during peak hours isn’t a bad thing. Ranger-led tours of the area held during the day are a great way to learn about this natural wonder. Check-in at the Old Faithful Visitor Center to join a tour if you are keen to learn more about this incredible area.

With the largest concentration of geysers in the world and some of the largest geysers known to humans, the Upper Geyser Basin is a spectacular display of natural wonder. This trail not only features the iconic Old Faithful geyser but over 200 other geothermal features. The trail around the Upper Geyser Basin is well maintained and easily accessible for hikers of all ages and skill levels. On your trip to Yellowstone National Park, a visit to this area is not to be missed.

To hike the Upper Geyser Basin Trail, begin at the Old Faithful Inn and head east to the boardwalk. Follow the boardwalk as it circles Old Faithful, then take the bridge across the Firehole River. On the far side of the river, stick to the path on your left to pass by a series of geysers and springs along the north bank of the Firehole River. Stay right at the next divide to check out the Grand Geyser, the tallest, predictable geyser in the world. Approximately half a mile past the Grand Geyser, the trail will split; check out the trail on your right to hike out-and-back to see the Morning Glory Pool before following the path southeast along the south shore of the Firehole River back to the Old Faithful Inn, where you began.

Trail Highlights

Grand Geyser

The Grand Geyser is the tallest, predictable geyser known in the World. This geyser erupts every 6-7 hours, and eruptions tend to last between 9 and 12 minutes. The eruptions of the Grand Geyser reach up to 61 m in the air!

Old Faithful

Old Faithful is by far the most iconic geyser in Yellowstone National Park. This cone geyser was originally named in 1870 by the Washburn -Lanford-Doane Expedition, who actually used the hot water and predictable nature of this geyser to wash their laundry! Named Old Faithful due to its relative predictability, the Old Faithful Geyser erupts at somewhat regular intervals of every 44 minutes to 2 hours. The height of these eruptions reach anywhere from 30 m - 55 m and usually last between 1.5 to 5 minutes. Before visiting Old Faithful, visitors can check the day’s predicted eruption schedule posted at the Old Faithful visitor center or online at the Old Faithful Webcam website. The water that shoots out of Old Faithful is boiling, with temperatures around 204 degrees Fahrenheit (95.6 C). When observing the incredible power of this geyser, remain at a safe distance. Never approach any geysers within the park and always respect the NPS safety signage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the Upper Geyser Basin important?

The Upper Geyser Basin is important as it hosts the largest concentration of geysers in the world.

How often does the Old Faithful Geyser erupt?

The Old Faithful Geyser erupts approximately 20 times a day at intervals of 44 minutes to 2 hours.

What is the best time to see the Upper Geyser Basin?

The Upper Geyser Basin Trail is busiest between 12 and 6 pm every day, even more so in the summer. For a less crowded visit and uninterrupted views of the various geysers, head out early in the day or around dusk.

Insider Hints for Upper Geyser Basin Trail

  • There is so much to explore in this area, if you are looking for a more extensive tour, check out the longer version of the Upper Geyser Basin Trail
  • This trail is not long but there is so much to see, give yourself lots of time to hike this route

Getting to the Upper Geyser Basin Trail Trailhead

The hike begins at the Old Faithful Inn on Old Faithful Inn Road.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    No

  • When to do

    May to October

  • Pets allowed

    No

  • Family friendly

    Yes

  • Route Signage

    Good

  • Crowd Levels

    High

  • Route Type

    Circuit

Upper Geyser Basin Trail Elevation Graph

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Upper Geyser Basin Trail Reviews

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