Want to know where the best geysers in Yellowstone are? In this guide we will tell you all the best geysers Yellowstone has to offer, from the most famous to those Yellowstone hidden gems.
There are over 500 geysers within the confines of Yellowstone. And geysers are only one type of geothermal feature you will find in the park. You will also find hot springs, mud pots and fumaroles to see too.
Old Faithful is probably the most famous geyser in the world. But this is not the only geyser in the park worth visiting. In this guide we will tell you where to visit geysers in the park.
Where to find Geysers in Yellowstone
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There are actually five main areas with the park that you can view geysers they are:
- The upper geyser basin
- The Midway geyser Basin
- Norris geyser basin
- Lower geyser basin and
- the West Thumb Geyser Basin.
In the next section of this guide we will round up the best geysers and how to see them in each area.
Best Geysers to see in the Upper Geyser Basin
As I said Old Faithful is the most famous geyser in the world, and as the name suggests it erupts with regularity.
Despite popular belief however Old Faithful does not erupt on the hour every hour. Instead the eruption schedule for Old Faithful is every hour and twenty minutes with +/- 10 minutes.
One of the things that is great about Old Faithful is that you can pretty much plan seeing into an eruption into your Yellowstone itinerary from the start.We recommend visiting Old Faithful early on one day of your itinerary to try and avoid the crowds which are numerous during peak season.
Also one of the great thing about this geyser by comparison to the rest is that it is close to one of the Yellowstone lodges, so you can also fill up with coffee and snacks as well as have a rest stop.
If you don’t want to watch the eruption from the lodge, you can also view the eruption from
- the boardwalk around the geyser, or
- hike to the top of Geyser Hill to the observation deck to get an aerial view of the eruption. The hike is just over a mile in length. We recommend leaving yourself plenty of time to hike to the top and sit at the top and enjoy the view before the eruption happens.
You can find the current Old Faithful eruption schedule here.
Geysers on Geyser Hill including the Beehive Geyser, Giantess Geyser and Solitary Geyser.
As I mentioned about the Geyser Hill Observation deck is a great place to see Old Faithful erupt away from the worst of the crowds. But the boardwalks here also will lead you to three other geyers. These are:
- Beehive Geyser
- Giantess Geyser and
- Solitary Geyser.
Beehive Geyser is an irregularly erupting geyser and can be dormant from anywhere between 22 hours and 2 weeks between eruptions. So although nice to pass by there is no way of knowing whether you will be lucky enough to actually see it erupt.
The Giantess Geyser is even more irregular than Beehive Geyser with eruptions happening anywhere from 0 to over 40 eruptions in a year. And when it does erupt, it is one of the most impressive eruptions in the park.
However if you want an almost guaranteed eruption on geyser hill you have to head to solitary geyser. This is one of the most frequently erupting geysers int he park with an eruption every 4-8 minutes which means you can slip this onto your itinerary easily and not be waiting for long.
The Grand Geyser has the impressive title of being the ‘tallest predictable geyser in the world. But with eruptions happening only every 6-7 hours it takes a bit of planning to add this into your Yellowstone plans. However it is worth it. As when it does erupt the water shoots up to 50 meters in the air, and can go on as long as 12 minutes.
The riverside geyser is worth visiting as it can have an eruption length of 20 minutes which is impressive in itself. Also the length of the eruption means the crowds don’t stay continually as high as they do at Old Faithful.
Again though the eruptions happen every 6 hours 20 min (with a +/- 30 min window) so can take a bit of planning to visit.
Other Geysers in this area:
If you haven’t seen enough geysers in this area then the geysers below are also worth checking out for their eruption schedule to see if they fit into your plans.
- Castle Geyser – this has a 10-12 hour eruption window and lasts for around 10 minutes.
- Grotto Geyser – erupts every 8 hours or so but has a long eruption when it does happen lasting anywhere between 10 minutes and a few hours.
Geysers in the Midway Geyser Basin
The geysers aren’t the main item on people’s bucket list at the Midway Geyser Basin, that honor goes to the Grand Prismatic Springs. But while you are in the area viewing the Grand prismatic Springs we recommend also heading to the Excelsior Geyser Crater.
This crater is a whooping 200 x 300 foot crater that is spewing water into the Firehole River.
While I wouldn’t specifically park here to view the crater it is worth adding on to your visit to the Springs.
Grand Prismatic Springs – although we usually recommend doing busy spots in the park early in the day, this is not the case here. The Grand prismatic Spring is known for the beautiful color of its water. This unfortunately can not be seen in the morning due to steam / mist that rises off it. Therefore we recommend heading here in the afternoon. However parking can be tricky which is why we recommend hading to the Fairy Falls Car Park instead of the Grand Prismatic one.
Norris Geyser Basin
In the Norris Geyser Basin the geyser that should be top of your list is:
Steamboat Geyser – the world’s tallest active geyser
This is an irregular geyser but well worth heading to as it holds the crown for the world’s tallest active geyser.
This geyser has both major and minor eruptions. Minor eruptions can occur with as little an interval as 5 minutes but the thing about the Steamboat geyser is that both the major and minor eruptions but are completely unpredictable. When a major eruption does occur the water can shoot as 91 metres in the air which earns it the title of tallest active geyser in the wold.
We did the trail to Steamboat Geyser, located in the Norris Geyser Basin but didn’t see a major or minor eruption but you never know!
Over the past few years the eruptions have been numerous including:
- 2023 – 7 eruptions
- 2022 – 11 eruptions
- 2021 – 20 eruptions
- 2020 – 48 eruptions
- 2019 – 48 eruptions
Just be warned if you are there during a major eruption you need to be mindful of where you park your car. As cars in the car park have been known to become littered with debris.
Other geysers in this area include the fabulously named:
- Porkchop Geyser, and
- Puff ‘N Stuff Geyser.
Tips for Viewing Geysers in Yellowstone
So now you know our favorite geysers to visit in Yellowstone, we will turn our attention to tips for viewing geysers in Yellowstone to avoid the crowds while staying safe.
Know your Timings
Depending on the geyser you want to see will affect how regular and frequent the eruptions are. Before setting out for your day in Yellowstone I would recommend heading to the Yellowstone Geyser Eruption website to get a rough ideas of timings so you can make a plan for your day in the park.
Obviously no geyser, not even Old Faithful erupts exactly on the time every day but you can get a great idea of when to expect the eruption and plan your day accordingly. We recommend doing this before you arrive in the park and screenshooting the time. That is because you will need internet to access this site, and this can be more than sporadic in the park. Having the times with you when you set up will help you avoid disappointment.
But if you do forget the timings or need more up to date information be sure to stop at any of the Yellowstone lodges as you pass as these will have up to date eruption information.
Safety Tips for visiting Geysers in Yellowstone
The geysers are some of the most beautiful and impressive I have seen in the world. However geothermal sites are extremely dangerous and there have been a number of deaths around the geysers in Yellowstone over the years. The best safety tips for viewing the geysers in Yellowstone are
Keep to the boardwalks
The geysers in Yellowstone are surrounded by boardwalks. Never stray off these otherwise you could end up having a very nasty accident.
Also if you are traveling in Yellowstone park season be sure to watch off for other people on the boardwalk so there is no accidentally pushing or shoving.
But if you are traveling to Yellowstone in Winter, the most important thing to remember is to have shoes with good grip on the soles as the boardwalks can be slipping. For advice on the best shoes for Yellowstone and other essentials to pack check out this post.
And if you are wearing a or cap in this area and it gets blown off the boardwalk do not under any circumstances attempt to retrieve it. It belongs to the geysers now.
And although the boardwalks are flat so are stroller friendly if you are visiting Yellowstone with a toddler we don’t recommend using one. That is because they can be difficult to manoeuvre especially when the boardwalk gets busy. Instead we recommend using a carrier or reins to keep your little one safe when visiting geothermal areas.
Visiting Geysers in Yellowstone with Kids
Yellowstone with kids is a surprisingly good family travel destination. However you definitely need to make considerations in terms of safety. We loved visiting Yellowstone with our daughter but one thing I was very conscious off was safety around the geysers and hot springs. All of the normal geyser viewing precautions apply when visiting Yellowstone geysers with kids but on top of that I would recommend taking backpack reins if travelling with toddlers or preschoolers and want them to walk. Otherwise bring a carrier instead of a stroller.
If travelling with older children be sure to fully brief them on safety before going.
Fun Yellowstone Geyser Facts
- There are more geysers in Yellowstone than anywhere else on earth.
- There are two types of geysers in Yellowstone – cone and fountain.
- Cone Geysers have a narrow opening for water at the vent! An example of a cone geyser in Yellowstone is the Beehive Geyser and Old Faithful!
- Fountain geysers such as the Great Fountain Geyser shoot water usually from a pool and the water from them spurts in many directions!
- Old Faithful was named during the 1870 first expedition to Yellowstone (the Washburn expedition). It was given its name given the frequency of the eruption!
Have you seen the geysers at Yellowstone? What was your favourite Yellowstone geyser?