Background InformationUpper Geyser Basin and Geyser Hill
Virtually everyone who visits Yellowstone stops to see Old Faithful steam up to the sky and maybe half of these visitors walk a bit farther, circling around the immediate area of Old Faithful and Old Faithful Inn but there is much, much more to see in this Basin. Roughly four miles of boardwalks wind through the Upper Geyser Basin and Geyser Hill past more than 150 geysers, hot springs and pools in a physical area of roughly two square miles. At times you may have to hike a bit uphill but it will be well worth it.
Nathaniel P. Langford, a member of the 1870 Washburn Expedition, who named many of thermal features of the Upper Geyser Basin, later said; "We gave such names to those of the geysers which we saw in action as we think will best illustrate their peculiarities." Those names include Old Faithful, named for its regular eruptions; Beehive Geyser, with its beehive shaped cone; and Riverside Geyser, named for its location on the Firehole River.
Please add your own Upper Geyser Basin and Geyser Hill photos to this page.
Here are some highlights about what you could see here:
Geysers and Hot Springs
Old Faithful - erupts every 35 - 120 minutes for 1.5 - 5 minutes. The rangers say that 90% of their predictions are within +/- 10 minutes. The time to the next eruption is predicted using the duration of the current eruption.
Grand Geyser – largest predictable geyser in the world; usually erupts every 8 – 12 hours and lasts for about 12 minutes with a stop after about 9 minutes and a restart after a minute or so; the second burst is among the tallest of the eruptions; shoots up to 200 feet in the air
Daisy - Usually erupts every 90 - 110 minutes and is very predictable. The eruption lasts about 3 - 4 minutes.
Riverside - Usually erupts every 5.5 - 7 hours. The water phase of the eruption lasts about 20 minutes and is followed by a 30 minute steam phase.
Great Fountain (located 8 miles north of Old Faithful on Firehole Lake Drive) - Usually erupts about every 10 hours in a series of distinct bursts that occur over a period of an hour. The first 10 minutes are the most spectacular.
Anemone Geyser – erupts every 7 to 15 minutes as the empty pool fills up, overflows and shoots up to 10 feet high
Beehive Geyser – often lies dormant for long periods of time and then erupts shooting water up to 180 feet into the air, about equal to Old Faithful’s range
Giantess Geyser – erupts in cycles of twice an hour up to 200 feet high and then may be dormant for months at a time
Plume Geyser – erupting every 20 to 30 minutes in a plume to about 25 feet
Castle Geyser – large cone geyser resting on older platforms; one of the world’s largest sinter formations (sinter = In Yellowstone's geysers basins, silica cements much of the glacial gravel near the surface and is deposited in white sheets across the surface. The silica forms a rock called sinter or geyserite)
Giant Geyser – has one of the tallest geyser cones in the world; geyser cones grow about one inch per century
Riverside Geyser – one of the most picturesque and predictable Yellowstone geysers; spouts an arched water column over the river every six hours
Lion Group – consists of four interconnected separate geysers: the Lion, Lioness, Big Cub and Little Cub; the name comes from the deep roaring sound the geyser makes after an eruption
Solitary Geyser – began its life as a hot spring but after being used to supply water for a swimming pool in the 1940s and now erupts up to 15 feet every 4 to 8 minutes
Heart Spring – beautiful blue pool near the Lion Geyser group
(There are many geysers, hot springs not listed here.)
Upper Geyser Basin Pools
Doublet Pool – deep blue waters surrounded by a series of geyserite ledges
Beauty Pool and Chromatic Pool - are connected underground and as one gets hotter and begins to overflow the other gets cooler and stops overflowing.
Morning Glory Pool – formerly the most glorious pool in the park but destroyed by the rocks, trash, coins etc. thrown into the pool which clogged it and caused it to lose thermal energy so yellow bacteria is now growing