Day 3: Geyser Basins of the Firehole

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

Lower Geyser Basin

Fountain Paint Pots Nature Trail

Along with Old Faithful Geyser and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, this is one of the most-visited spots in the park. Peer into beautiful, blue hot springs and visit the world famous 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 (one way northbound) to see if you can catch Great Fountain or White Dome Geysers. Further along, stop near Hot Lake and Firehole Lake and walk out to see a hot creek babbling through the basin.

Midway Geyser Basin

Midway Geyser Basin

Because the largest hot spring in the park, Grand Prismatic Spring, is here, Midway Geyser 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!

Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook

While the famous view of Grand Prismatic Spring's colors is from an airplane, for those in for an uphill hike, there is a new overlook on its southwest side. For access to the parking lot, drive a little further south from the main basin's lot. On the way to the overlook, you will cross an iron bridge over the Firehole River and view other springs before starting the uphill climb.

Upper Geyser Basin

Biscuit Basin

Named for biscuit-like geyser deposits that were shaken loose by the 1959 Hebgen Lake Earthquake, Biscuit 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. Also, watch for Rusty Geyser playing right next to the parking lot! While a longer trail than Black Sand Basin's, this is a mostly level walk.

Black Sand Basin

Accessible from the boardwalks near Old Faithful or by driving just north of the village, Black Sand 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.

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 a full 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.