The Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park is not the only geyser in the park. There are over 10,000 hydrothermal features in Yellowstone National Park. Old Faithful isn’t even the largest geyser or most active geyser. On average, around 450 geysers erupt in Yellowstone each year. Old Faithful is the most active of the large geysers. It is also the first geyser within the park to be named. This cone geyser was named during the Washburn Expedition in 1870. Here’s what you need to know about viewing the Old Faithful eruption.
Old Faithful Geyser Times
According to the national park website, the average interval between the Old Faithful geyser eruptions is 60 to 110 minutes. It erupts for 1 1/2 to 5 minutes at a height of 106 to 184 feet. While it’s nearly impossible to predict Old Faithful geyser times, you can count on at least an hour from the last to the next Old Faithful eruption. If you arrive to find everyone leaving, chances are good that you’ve just missed an eruption.
Each eruption expels between 3,700 – 8,400 gallons of boiling water.
It doesn’t look like it, but those benches that are provided for visitors of the park to sit while they wait for Old Faithful to erupt are 300 feet away from the geyser.
Old Faithful Visitor Center
It may be debatable as to where to find the best seat to enjoy the view of the erupting geyser. I’d encourage visitors to skip the seating near the geyser and sit back a bit further. The few benches outside the Old Faithful Lodge Cafeteria provided what I thought was the perfect vantage point for the show and according to our bench mates, the added distance provided a better view of the entire geyser.
Don’t forget to pop into the Old Faithful Visitor Center while you are here. You can learn a lot about the various thermal features in Yellowstone, including other geysers, mud pots, hot springs, and fumaroles. If you plan on hiking in Yellowstone, you might talk to the rangers on duty to find out if there are other geysers you can hike to and enjoy without the crowds at Old Faithful.
Old Faithful Inn
With advance planning, you can even stay overnight in the lodge at Old Faithful or enjoy a family meal at the Old Faithful Inn Dining Room. An added bonus of staying at the Inn is that you can enjoy the Old Faithful eruption in the early morning or late evening once most of the tourists have gone home.
Did you know there are also cabins in Yellowstone? The Rough Rider cabins are an excellent budget-friendly alternative to camping in Yellowstone!
Old Faithful Eruption
Here’s a short video that shows the Old Faithful geyser eruption. It doesn’t show the entire eruption, but I think you’ll get the picture.
More than three million people visit Yellowstone National Park each year to see the geyser and other natural attractions that offer spectacular views.
Do you know the national park system turned 100 in August of 2016? Read this post to learn why now is a perfect time to support our park system with a National Parks Pass.
Do you have plans to visit a national park this year? Which one?