Day 3: Geyser Basins of the Firehole

The simple essence of Yellowstone is captured in its many hot springs, geysers, steam vents, and mud pots. While these steaming features are found throughout the park, geyser basins have concentrations of them. Certainly, a walk around their boardwalks is well worth the effort as each geyser basin and each feature in them is unique. Geyser Basins of the Firehole River alone have enough geothermal wonders to capture your attention for a half day to a week.

Lower Geyser Basin

Fountain Paint Pots Nature Trail

Along with Old Faithful and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, this is one of the most-visited spots in the park. Along the trail, peer into beautiful, blue hot springs and visit the well-known Fountain Paint Pots. Further down the walk, Clepsydra Geyser erupts almost continuously. If you are lucky, you might also see majestic Fountain Geyser play.

Firehole Lake Drive

Take a side trip down Firehole Lake Drive to see if you can catch Great Fountain or White Dome Geysers. Be sure to stop near Hot Lake and Firehole Lake to walk out and see a hot creek babbling through the basin.

Midway Geyser Basin

Because the largest hot spring in the park, Grand Prismatic Spring, is here, this basin is very popular in the summer months. You can also peer into Excelsior Geyser's crater and wonder at the large volume of hot water it discharges into the Firehole River. We recommend visiting this basin early or late in the day as the parking lot fills quickly!

Upper Geyser Basin

Old Faithful Area

Straddling both sides of the Firehole River, Upper Geyser Basin is home to Old Faithful Geyser, Beehive Geyser, Grand Geyser, and many others! If you have more than two days in the park, you can easily spend half a day in this basin alone. Before heading out to the boardwalks, check on current predictions for some of the larger geysers at the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center.

Black Sand Basin

Accessible from the boardwalks near Old Faithful or by driving just north of the village, this basin has several large, colorful hot springs. In addition, Cliff Geyser plays regularly from the banks of Iron Spring Creek. This is a short, mostly level walk from its parking lot. So, it is great for anyone with mobility issues.

Biscuit Basin

Named for biscuit-like geyser deposits that were shaken loose by the 1959 Hebgen Lake Earthquake, this basin includes several smaller geysers and beautiful pools. Peer into the deep blue waters of Sapphire Pool and watch for Jewel Geyser which plays frequently in most years. While a longer trail than that at Black Sand Basin, this is also a mostly level walk. Also, watch for Rusty Geyser playing right next to the parking lot!