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Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park
Fast Facts

BEST

  for

KIDS

ADDRESS
Old Faithful District
Yellowstone Nat'l Park
Wyoming 82190
ACTIVITIES
Natural Wonder
Walking
Cycling
X-Country Skiing
Historic Interest
 
 
 
Points of Interest Nearby
 
 

Geyser, Upper Geyser Basin

 

Photo by Alfredo De Simone

Upper Geyser Basin is the best place in Yellowstone to see geysers erupt. It is home to Old Faithful, the best-known Yellowstone geyser, as well as five out of six predicted geysers in the park. What's more, Upper Geyser Basin boasts the highest concentration of geysers in the world. There are more than 150 of these hydrothermal features in just one square mile! But before you journey to this richly rewarding corner of America's first national park there are two things all families should note. 1. Upper Geyser Basin is teeming with tourists in summer time. 2. A plan is required to catch one or more geysers in action.

Here are a few tips to make the most of a trip with kids. Make Old Faithful Visitor Center your first stop on arrival. Check the board for eruption times and ranger-led programs. Hike boardwalks and paved trails in the early morning or late afternoon; the weather is cooler and crowds are thinner. Time your walks to coincide with geyser eruptions. Choose Morning Glory Pool Trail over Geyser Hill Loop. Grand, Castle, Daisy and Riverside - all predicted geysers - are on the trail to Morning Glory Pool. Attend at least one ranger-led program; they are both educational and fun. Relax at historic Old Faithful Inn. Both the terrace and lobby are great spots to sit.
Getting There
 
Upper Geyser Basin is located at Old Faithful. Old Faithful is 17 miles (27 km) northwest of West Thumb and 16 miles (26 km) south of Madison Junction. The road from Old Faithful to Madison is open to wheeled vehicles from mid-April through October and oversnow vehicles from mid-December to mid-March. The road from Old Faithful to West Thumb is open to wheeled vehicles from mid-May through October and is open to oversnow vehicles from mid-December to mid-March.
Getting Around
 
There are a variety of trails at Upper Geyser Basin. Old Faithful Geyser Loop (0.7 miles or 1.1 km) and Geyser Hill Loop (1.3. miles or 2.1 km) are both short, easy walks. Observation Point Loop affords grand views of Geyser Hill but the steep stairs make this 2.1-mile (3.4 km) hike tough going for young kids. There are two trails to Morning Glory Pool; a paved bike trail from Old Faithful and boardwalk north from Geyser Hill. Take one there and the other back. (The roundtrip trek is just under 3 miles or 4.4 km.) Lone Star Geyser, 5 miles or 8 km roundtrip, is an easy backcountry trail. Black Sand Basin, Old Faithful Geyser Loop and the paved trail to Morning Glory Pool are the only Upper Geyser Basin walkways that are wheelchair and stroller accessible. NB: Check the ranger station for trail closings before you set out. Maintain a safe distance from all wildlife, 100 yards (91m) from bears and wolves and 25 yards (23m) from all other animals.
Things to Keep in Mind
 
Swimming and bathing is prohibited in all hot spring pools. Do not throw objects into geothermal features. There is no shade on Upper Geyser Basin boardwalks. Pack water. Wear sunscreen and hats. Bison frequent Upper Geyser Basin year-round.
 
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