Yellowstone National Park

“O Come All Ye Faithful”

So, we have been in Yellowstone Park for 5 days and have just one day left and we haven’t seen Old Faithful yet – so, it just HAS to be done today!

Even from a lodge in the Park itself, it took us an hour to drive there as the speed limit is 45 mph max throughout the park (for good reason, obviously). 

I was pleased to note that the bison seemed to have slowed down a bit since the last advice we had – they only run at 30 mph now. Just as well as one lone male seems to have set up home foraging on the grass just 100m from our cosy log cabin.  We nearly walked into him by mistake on the way to breakfast this morning!

We got to Old Faithful Visitor Centre at about 10 am and went to check out the geyser eruption timings first thing.

Old Faithful Inside Old Faithful Lodge Yellowstone NP
Inside Old Faithful Lodge Yellowstone NP
Old Faithful Yellowstone NP
Old Faithful Yellowstone NP

Must Do - Old Faithful

Old Faithful erupts pretty reliably every hour to hour and a half – hence the name – so we decided to take a pew and just wait it out – in case we missed it later on.  We got a front row pew – they were all empty because OF had obviously only just done it’s thing. We waited for 45 minutes – chatting happily to a couple from Florida and a Dutch couple – always interesting to talk to other people and share travel experiences etc, It really helped to pass the time.

The suspense mounted – the crowd grew and was soon three people deep all around OF … Eventually, OF began to hiss a bit and bubble and steam and then – yes – reliably enough (a bit later than predicted – but – hey, this is a natural phenomena. – so who’s counting? she blew … and yes, the sheer power and height of it was amazing.

Grotto Geyser

We walked along the boardwalk trail past Castle Geyser and Grotto Geyser.

The video shots give you a much better idea of the power of these geysers than still shots ever could.

They must really have had fun naming all the geysers and pools around here – they do convey the characteristics of each one pretty well.

Tim remarked at this point though – given the number of these things we have viewed over the last few days – you only have the smallest of snapshots here) that “some of the look like blackheads and some like giant boils” – he can always be relied upon for the shrewdest of observations.

Old Faithful Grotto Geyser Yellowstone NP
Grotto Geyser Yellowstone NP
Old Faithful Castle Geyser - Yellowstone NP
Castle Geyser - Yellowstone NP

Riverside Geyser

We reached Riverside Geyser at 12.15 and consulted our geyser eruption time notes – she could go at anything from 1.15 plus or minus 30 minutes. As this is supposed to be one of the most reliable geysers in the Park, we decided (again) to sit and wait it out – particularly as there are often rainbows in the view when she eventually blow – what a beautiful shot that would be?

It got to 10 past 1 and we were still waiting. The temperatures began to climb into the high 70s and there was no shade. More people began to slowly congregate – armed with picnic lunches and iced water (which we had – rather stupidly – left in the car). We had a really good pew on a front row log though – so we were not budging – no matter how hot it got! And … It got really hot …  

We even resorted to playing I Spy with My Little Eye in the end to pass the time … At last, at 1.30, she blew … and it was definitely worth the wait. It was spectacular – again, you really need video rather than still photo to really convey the power of it. sadly, no rainbow today though.

Morning Glory Pool

Morning Glory Pool was next and – the depth and colour is truly extraordinary. You can’t really appreciate the depth and intensity from the photos for this one – you really have to be there to see it properly.

Old Faithful Morning Glory Pool Yellowstone NP
Morning Glory Pool Yellowstone NP

Observation Point

We walked the rest of the geyser trail – which is a 10 mile walk in all – pretty exhausting In this heat. We finished up by climbing the mile trail up to the Observation Point and waited yet another 45 minutes (today was all about patience!) to see OF go again.

Old Faithful Yellowstone NP
Old Faithful Yellowstone NP

Then – we returned to the car park – and we lost the car. Chevrolet Malibu DHN 493 Ioha plate – WHERE ARE YOU?!

Too many cars all looking the same, too many people, too much heat … aargh!!! – thank goodness, we found it eventually after walking all the parking lines several times …

I was beginning to feel a bit like a geyser myself – I was drinking copious quantities of water because of the heat and I think steam was probably coming out of my ears at this point … Not too loudly I hope, or the Japanese tour bus that just pulled in will be taking my photo …?!

I was beginning to really long for a decent cup of English tea, made with water straight from the Welsh valleys – and a hot bath (it is all showers here) and no more chemical toilets or hand sanitiser please …

There was just one bit of the Old Faithful Trail we hadn’t covered – Geyser Hill but – we just hadn’t got enough energy left at this point. We have an hour’s drive back to our log cabin in the woods – and that’s if there is no bison blockade – so, if Anenome and Doublet Pool are the best in the Park, then we didn’t see them. Pete – you probably would have managed to persuade us to do this loop and probably we should have, but c’mon, right now, we are all geysered out. The cooler air of the Mountains of Grand Teton NP is calling …

Flora and Fauna

You never have to go too far here without seeing some beautiful wildlife.  Our route to our next lodging yielded a beautiful heron and elk.

Old Faithful Heron
Old Faithful Elk by the roadside - Yellowstone NP
Elk by the roadside

Tips for Future Travellers

You get a much better view of Old Faithful from the top at Observation Point.   Relatively few people make the effort required to get to the top of this climb, but it is well worth it.

You need to plan your trip to Yellowstone National Park well to get the most out pdf your time here.  Follow the link to the National Parks Service Plan your Visit App below.