Sunday, July 21, 2013

Yellowstone's Old Faithful Area and the Norris Geyser Basin

Island Park, ID                                    (Click on Pictures to Enlarge)

(Map Courtesy of NPS)
                      The map of today's travels in Yellowstone NP

Visitor Center and Education Center
In our last blog I mentioned that we attempted to see Old Faithful Geyser at the Old Faithful Visitor and Educational Center, but the crowds were just too much.  I couldn't even find a place to park in the lot.

Viewing Area in Front of Old Faithful Geyser
Today we decided to make Old Faithful the first stop on our list of sights to see. Hey, what happened to the crowds? Actually, this picture was taken about 15 minutes after the famous geyser had erupted.

Times for the next expected eruption are posted at the Visitor's Center. The geyser is currently erupting about every 90 minutes +/- 10 minutes. The next slated eruption is set to occur at 12:02 PM.

With everyone in their seats and a large crowd assembled around the perimeter of the viewing area, the Old Faithful Geyser started erupting right at 12:05 PM. (pretty consistent, I think)

We initially thought we'd only watch Old Faithful and move on to our next destination, but once we looked at the trails and attractions map for this area, we knew that we would be here for a bit.

There are many, many geysers, pools, and other hydrothermal features to see around the park, and a WHOLE bunch in this area. I spare you from looking at too many of these and just post a collage of a few in this area.
Top(L): Doublet Pool   Top(R): Wave Spring
Lower (L): Chromatic Pool  Lower(R): Castle Geyser
I will single out one geyser named Giant Geyser. It became dormant in 1955, but in 2007 it erupted more than 50 times.  For many of the major geysers the NPS will post their expected eruption times and dates. We decided that we just couldn't wait around for the next eruption of Giant Geyser since the last one was in 2010.

Firehole Spring
After leaving the Old Faithful area we headed north and ate lunch at one of the many roadside picnic areas.  Just north of our lunch spot we took a side trip down Firehole Lake Drive.

Our next destination is the Norris Geyser Basin. On the way there, we stopped at Gibbon Falls to take a few quick pictures.  We saw a hawk traversing the canyon, but never got a picture. I guess a picture of me with the Falls in the background will have to suffice.

I will have to tell you that a long day visiting Yellowstone Park will tire you out. (Well, at least it tires us out!) We wanted to get to Norris Geyser Basin by the end of the day and I'm glad we did. This is a very different area from many we've visited so far.

As we walked down the boardwalk to begin our tour of this area some other folks told us that we had just missed seeing a very large bison walking through the area. We caught a brief glimpse of him as he was heading into the treeline to our left.

Whirligig Geyser
The area presents a varied array of features.  We love the many different colors created when thermophiles (heat-loving microorganisms) occupy the water in different areas as the water cools along the edges and channels.

Steamboat Geyser
The Norris Geyser Basin is a bit special in that it has the highest ground temperatures found in the park. It also contains Steamboat Gyser, the tallest spouting geyser in the world. It throws a spray 300 feet into the air.  The catch is, it doesn't erupt in any predicable intervals.  When it does, however, the eruptions last anywhere from 3-40 minutes.

By now, we were tired and ready to call it a day!

Thanks for stopping by to take a look.


  1. I can't imagine seeing a geyser erupt for 40 minutes, but that might just be long enough for me to get a picture of it.

    Don't overdo the visit. Slow down and enjoy it, Yellowstone certainly isn't going anywhere. :c)

  2. I can understand your being tuckered out, I got a little tired just reading about your day. It's pretty amazing to be wandering around in a giant volcano.