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Yellowstone National Park: Old Faithful via Upper Geyser Basin

This easy 5.8-miler tours a veritable geyser Hall of Fame in Yellowstone National Park before culminating with views of the legendary Old Faithful.

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Old Faithful may be the most famous geyser in Yellowstone National Park, but it’s by no means the park’s only geothermal big-shot. Peruse some of the park’s other incredible thermal features on this spectacular, 5.8-mile out-and-back in Upper Geyser Basin. From the parking lot near Grand Loop Road, visit the steamy, deep-blue Sapphire Pool before turning around and heading east on the Biscuit Basin Trail.
After passing the Gem Pool, stop for an awe-inspiring panorama of the Firehole River, a steaming river partially fed by surrounding hot springs. Next, check out the picturesque Morning Glory Pool before catching performances by the Fan and Mortar Geysers, which always erupt at the same time, and the Riverside Geyser, one of the more consistent exploders in the park.
Moving on, catch an incredible display of endurance with the Grotto Geyser, which sometimes erupts for up to 10 straight hours. Next, prepare to be amazed by the Grand Geyser, which explodes up to 200 feet in the air, making it the world’s tallest regularly-erupting geyser.
Before hitting Old Faithful, catch a quick break from the explosions and steam by walking through a quieter, wooded section of the trail. Then, around mile 2.4, hit the lesser-traveled backside of Old Faithful and prepare for the legend to put on a show. Eruptions occur ever 91 minutes on average and last for up to 5 minutes. Before retracing your steps back to the trailhead, continue around the geyser to visit the majestic Old Faithful Inn or the visitor center.

GUIDEBOOK AND MAP: Yellowstone Treasures, by Janet Chapple ($24, Plan other trips in the park using BACKPACKER’s Yellowstone National Park page.

CONDITIONS: For current conditions and updates, go to
PERMIT: Overnight camping in Yellowstone National Park requires a backcountry permit. Check out the latest fees and more details at
MORE PARK INFO: Yellowstone National Park, (307) 344-7381;
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-Mapped by Jeff Chow

To Trailhead

From West Thumb: Head west on Grand Loop Rd. for 19.8 mi. Parking lot will be on the left.

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