“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, CHILDREN OF ALL AGES… Upper Geyser Basin! It’s a make-believe world, but it is very real world too.” I know, I know, taking lines from the circus, but words cannot really describe the magic that is Yellowstone National Park. The Upper Geyser Basin is just a part of the unbelievable that awaits those that enter Yellowstone’s gates. Being in a hurry will not pay off when visiting the Upper Geyser Basin. If you don’t want to wait or are in a rush to see the other parts of the park then skip the Upper Geyser Basin. There are plenty of smaller geothermal areas that will serve. However, if you take your time and wait for some of the geysers to erupt then you will be in for a real show.
The largest geothermal area in the Yellowstone ecosystem is the Upper Geyser Basin. Strike that, it is the world’s largest single concentration of hot springs. Covering roughly one square mile. The Upper Geyser Basin is home to several groups of hot springs, colorful pools, and over 150 geysers. Including the world famous Old Faithful Geyser.
It is one of the most famous parts of the park. In turn, it is one of the busiest. Now if you get anything from this please get this. Go early. Having the chance to visit Yellowstone National Park several times over my life time. I have never had a crowded experience at Upper Geyser Basin if I go early in the morning. The earlier the better. This last go around I arrived before 7:30 and I had long stretches of boardwalk to myself. This took place during the busy summer season. By the time I left around 10:00am the massive parking lot was filling up fast.
The best place to start when visiting the Upper Geyser Basin is to stop by the Old Faithful Visitor Center. Here the park rangers will have a list of times for the next eruption of the predicted geysers. Five of the largest geysers in the area are predicted Old Faithful, Castle, Daisy, Grand, and Riverside. Each will put on a show that can be the highlight of your time in Yellowstone. If you are looking for a hike, the trail up to observation point is well worth the effort. It offers great sweeping views of the whole area and the chance to see multiple geysers spring to life.
The Upper Geyser Basin goes way beyond sitting around waiting for Old Faithful to erupt. Now Old Faithful is a must and for every first time visitor there will be squeals of delight. No matter what age from old biker looking guys to my little daughters, their reaction to seeing her go off is about the same. A gasp followed by cheers and screams. Just make sure you take the boardwalk trail down to see the other parts of the Upper Geyser Basin. I have been lucky and I have walked this boardwalk trail several times. Each time I get to see something different. Old Faithful has always been there for me, but I have gotten to see Grotto Geyser, Daisy Geyser, Sawmill Geyser and variety of smaller ones go off. Someday I will finally take the time to see Grand Geyser erupt.
Besides the remarkable number of geysers, the Upper Geyser Basin is also home to several hot springs and pools. The most famous being the Morning Glory Pool. Which has lost some of its glory and luster over the years as people have thrown objects and trash into it. Most recently a drone. Personally, I am not the most patient person so I get more excited about the colorful water features than geysers. When I wait around for a geyser go off I think about all the things I might be missing in the park. Of course, when it does go off those thoughts flee from my mind and are quickly replaced by amazement and joy.
The Upper Geyser Basin like most things in life comes down to what you put in. If you do some research, talk to the park rangers, and spend some time there it will be a wonderful experience. Even if you just stay for Old Faithful you will get something out of it. However, if you don’t have patience, short on time, and in a rush then Upper Geyser Basin and in general Yellowstone National Park is probably not the vacation destination for you.
- Geothermal Areas of Yellowstone National Park like Upper Geyser Basin
There are many geothermal areas of Yellowstone National Park and all have unique and wonderful features. Norris Geyser Basin, Midway Geyser Basin, Mammoth Terraces, Biscuit Basin, West Thumb Geyser Basin, Black Sand Basin, and Artists Paint Pots. Whatever your plans are when you visit Yellowstone National Park make sure you seek out some of the geothermal areas the park is famous for.