Upper Geyser Basin

It is one of several basins or collections of hydrothermal features in Yellowstone.

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Hunting Birds

Hunting with a camera that is. Birds are fascinating to watch and try to find. Let's start exploring....


Animals are intriguing to look for and watch in the wild. They come in all shapes and sizes. What do you know about the animals you see?....

Hydrothermal Features

Yellowstone National Park exist today because of it's 10,000+ features....

Water of Yellowstone

If you visit Yellowstone National Park water will be a key resource of your visit....

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The Upper Geyser Basin

Daisy erupting and dressed with a rainbow.

Eruption of Daisy Geyser and dressed with a rainbow.

Let's talk numbers.

  • There are 900+ active geysers in the WORLD.
  • Yellowstone is home to over 500 of those 900+ geysers so over half of the world's geysers.
  • On the other hand, the Upper Geyser Basin (UGB) is home to 150 active geysers or a little over 25% of Yellowstone's geysers.
  • Geyser Hill, which is in the UGB across the Firehole River from Old Faithful Geyser, holds 50 of the UGB's geysers.
Punch Bowl Spring

Punch Bowl Spring is located between Daisy Geyser and Black Sand Basin.

Least Chipmunk

The Upper Geyser Basin is also home to a variety of animals. Plus, many animals pass through the area all the time. The Least Chipmunk is often seen on the trails and around the boardwalks. They are a lot of fun to watch, but remember, it is illegal to feed any of the animals. So, pick up after yourselves and pick up after the children. Make sure kids of all ages keep their fingers away from them.

The Upper Geyser basin includes the most significant area where Old Faithful holds court, Black Sand Basin, and Biscuit Basin.

In the one square mile that comprises the Upper Geyser Basin, you are treated to things that will make you shake your head in awe. That square mile holds those 150 geysers and:

  • a vital river, Firehole River
  • 5 of 6 predicted Geysers: Old Faithful, Castle, Grand, Daisy, and Riverside Geysers
  • the tallest predicted geyser in the world, Grand Geyser
  • the historic Old Faithful Inn
  • and Beehive Geyser

Physically, the UGB is 2 miles long by a 1/2 mile wide.

The UGB sets at about 7,365 feet elevation. Why is this important? Well, first off, it is just neat to know. But it has several other ramifications. Many flat landers will find they quickly become short of breath. The risk of altitude sickness is real. Sunburns can sneak up on you because of the thinner atmosphere.

The Old Faithful area has three miles of boardwalk trails. You can add another 2.1 miles if you take the more strenuous Old Faithful Observation Point trail. The trails can be broken up depending on your time, health status, and children. They are:

  • The Old Faithful loop, about 3/4 of a mile, has two low-grade hills. You will be walking around Old Faithful. You get a good view of the Beehive Geyser across the Firehole River. See Chinese Spring, East Chinese Spring, and Blue Star Pool. You will also see the lovely runoff areas from Geyser Hill.
  • Geyser Hill is 1.3 miles walking from the Visitor Center and back. There you find 50 of the UGB 150 geysers. Home to Beehive Geyser, Lion Group, Doublet Pool, Anemone Geyser and many more. It has some ups and downs, but none that are bad. From my perspective as a senior citizen, the challenging section is the hill down to the river and back up on the other side of the river at Geyser Hill. Take it slow. Don't hesitate to take rest breaks; take the hills at your own speed.
  • The back section contains four of the five predictable geysers. At the far end, you will see the Morning Glory Pool. You will walk by Giant Geyser, which is the second tallest and most voluminous geyser in the world.
  • Observation Point walk is considered a strenuous walk. It is a 1/2-mile hike to Observation Point from the Old Faithful bridge over the Firehole River. Plan to start up so you have enough time to be up at the Point when Old Faithful erupts. You will also get a great view of the inn and the south part of the basin. You can return the way you came up or continue through the woods, pass Solitary Geyser, and come out on Geyser Hill.
Giant Geyser in eruption.

Giant Geyser erupting September 17, 2018. Giant would erupt 17 more times between this eruption and March 10, 2019. It then went silent until November 23, 2023. There have been no further eruptions of Giant. I am hoping it will become more active during the summer of 2024. This is the second tallest geyser in the world. It is incredible to experience.

Bison cutting through the Old Faithful area.

Typically, in the last several years, 4-5 bull bison have been hanging out in the Upper Geyser Basin. This bull cuts through the Old Faithful area between the boardwalk and the Visitor Center. When this happens, which is frequent, 1-4 rangers could be out there to maintain the safety of the animals and visitors. Always listen to the rangers and obey their commands. They want everyone to go home after a safe, fun, and educational vacation. Bison are not like cows; they are not domestic. They can turn and charge on a dime and give you 9.5 cents in change.

Many people arrive at the Old Faithful viewing area just minutes after an eruption. So what can you do? You could walk up to Geyser Hill, and you will be able to see Old Faithful from almost everywhere while on the Hill. There is an exhibit hall and bookstore in the Visitor Center. You should absolutely visit the Old Faithful Inn. It is a jaw-dropping experience. Food is available in all buildings but the Visitor Center and the Heritage Center.

As you walk around, do several things to keep you and your family safe:

  • Be observant and stay back from the animals. No feeding, turning your back on them, harassing them, and backing away if they come your way.
  • Carry enough water for everyone in your party and drink it. It gets hotter than you think.
  • Be aware that boardwalks and asphalt can get up to 160°F (71°C) if not hotter, especially in July and August.
  • Stay on the boardwalks regardless of what is going on. You can fall into 200°F water or break through fragile ground.

To read about the

  • Firehole River, check out this page.
  • Grand Geyser, check out this page.
  • Old Faithful, Inn check out this page.
North Goggle geyser

On September 15, 2018, Ear Spring erupted at 4:49 pm on Geyser Hill for the first time since January 28, 1957. Because all the features on Geyser Hill are interconnected underground, anything unusual can cause things to happen on the Hill. One thing that did happen is North Goggle started erupting every 20 minutes. This is one image I got with a flash at 8:37 pm.

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