Old Faithful was named by the Washburn Expedition of 1870, who explored the area that would later be called Yellowstone. Members of the expedition entered the Upper Geyser Basin after traveling down the Firehole River and saw the geyser, which they called Old Faithful because of the regularity with which it erupted.

Geysers like Old Faithful are only formed under specific conditions, making them relatively rare. Magma under the Earth’s surface superheats pockets of underground water, building pressure that eventually pushes the water upwards. Rhyolite, a volcanic rock high in silica content, lines the tunnel through which the water escapes its underground pocket, creating a pipe that can withstand the incredible heat and pressure as the water erupts above ground.


  • Old Faithful was the first named geyser in Yellowstone.
  • Despite popular belief, the geyser doesn’t erupt every hour on the hour. It currently erupts every 91 minutes on average.
  • You can download an app that gives you the approximate time of Old Faithful’s next eruption.
  • In the early days of the park, people sometimes used the geyser to wash their clothes. Explorers and other visitors would throw their clothes into the geyser between eruptions and wait for them to be shot back out, thoroughly clean. According to reports, woolen garments did not fare well, but other types of fabrics seemed to do just fine.
  • The water that erupts from Old Faithful has been measured at 204° F while the temperature of escaping steam can be hotter than 350° F.

We go SO lucky on this trip….every geyser in the park seemed to “go off” at just the right time. Of course, this whole thing takes on a nerve-jangling effect with the water being hotter than 204 degrees and nothing but boardwalks between hot pools and geysers! I was the ultimate “helicopter” Nana on this one…..

The geyser basins are beautiful. The colors are spectacular and we managed to catch a few bubbling just prior to erupting!

The landscape is dotted with bubbling cauldrons of crystal clear, boiling hot water. As the water moves across the land to the ocean it twists and changes color. It seemed that each boiling pot had it’s own identity. Some deep with shelving and crystallized edges…some gray and dark. It’s an amazing place to visit.

Try and make your reservations early and stay at the Lodge. It’s a beautiful old building made of twisted wood.

Missy K loved this adventure and ended her day in the gift shop with 7,500 “stuffies”……….just kidding….but, we needed another room just to set them all up at night!!! Nana life!

Have you visited Yellowstone? Other National Parks? Which was your favorite? Did the geysers cooperate? Where you a nervous wreck with kids running along the boardwalk and boiling water on both sides??!! I thought I’d require hospitalization after this!

Wander Until Found!


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