Yes, Yellowstone National Park (pics) is home to Old Faithful, but it is so much more than that. As most people know, Old Faithful is not the most spectacular or the oldest or the biggest geyser in YNP but it is one of the biggest that is most predictable, erupting approximately every 60 to 90 minutes. Old Faithful is located in the Upper Geyser Basin which is part of the most active area of the park in terms of thermal features.
We spent two days exploring the Geyser Basin, Upper, Midway and Lower. There are geysers, thermal pools, fumaroles and mud pots. Something that was fascinating to me is how active this area is in terms of change. Some of the thermal features are very young and came into being only in the past 60 years, primarily due to a massive earthquake in 1959. Others have changed in the recent past and many will change in the future. There’s no guarantee that Old Faithful will continue to perform as it does today. We saw one small geyser with a very nice but small eruption that was named “Young Hopeful”. Could this be the Old Faithful of the future? Who knows?
We also toured the historic Old Faithful Inn (dating from 1904), hiked to waterfalls, checked out Firehole Canyon and visited the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone which has two very impressive waterfalls on the Yellowstone River. In terms of wildlife, we saw a young male moose (actually this was in Grand Teton), mule deer and on one day in Yellowstone we had 5 bison sightings.
YNP is our country’s first national park and one of its most unique. If you go to Yellowstone, definitely watch Old Faithful erupt but allow plenty of time for the rest of what the park has to offer.
Next stop: Island Park, Idaho