Firehole Canyon Drive, Yellowstone National Park

 
Firehole Canyon, above the confluence of the Firehole and Gibbon rivers, is home to rapids, flats, cascades and pools. And it is home to the 40-foot Firehole Falls and exposed lava flows 800 feet thick. Yet the real reason for this 2-mile detour is the swimming hole. It is one of only two safe, and legal, swims in Yellowstone! (Boiling River, near Mammoth Hot Springs, is the other.)

Madison Junction Area, Yellowstone Nat’l Park, Wyoming 82190

Firehole Cascades, Yellowstone

Firehole Cascades, Yellowstone

J. Schmidt courtesy NPS

Firehole River, Yellowstone

Alfredo De Simone

Firehole River, Yellowstone

Firehole River, Yellowstone

Jim Peaco courtesy National Park Service

Firehole, Yellowstone

Firehole, Yellowstone

Ed Austin/Herb Jones courtesy NPS

 
Firehole River
Firehole River, Yellowstone

Firehole River, Yellowstone

Alfredo De Simone

 

The Firehole River, first discovered in the 1830s, is one of two major tributaries of the Madison River. It joins the Gibbon River at Madison Junction to form the Madison River. From its source at Madison Lake to its confluence with the Gibbon, the Firehole River flows north for just over 20 miles. It is home to three Yellowstone waterfalls, Kepler Cascades, Firehole Falls and Cascades of the Firehole. While once fishless above Firehole Falls, the Firehole River is today an excellent fly fishing hole. Sound humdrum? Wait, there's more! The Firehole River flows through three major geyser basins, Upper Geyser, Middle Geyser and Lower Geyser basins. By the end of its run, nearly one quarter of the river's water comes from hot bubbling geothermal features. The runoff from hot springs and geysers increases the temperature of the water and changes the ecology of the river.

 
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