Home Yellowstone National Park Our Yellowstone Adventure – Day 3 Old Faithful

Our Yellowstone Adventure – Day 3 Old Faithful

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Adventure is out there!  Today we visited towering geysers, colorful prismatic springs and rushing rivers.

The thing that no one tells you about adventure is that it will also give you throbbing feet, tight calf muscles and aching hips.  My wife said to include suburn too.  We had a great day, but after a couple of days of trekking up and down stairs, hills, boardwalks and paths, covering many miles, we are tired!

Okay, Pirate, stop whining and bring on the photos of Old Faithful and the Grand Pristmatic Spring.  We’re getting there, relax, we’re on vacation.

Our number one intention today was to see Old Faithful erupt, so we headed south.  Our first stop was the Junior Ranger Outpost in Madison.  Debbie is working on getting her Junior Ranger badge to add to her National Parks collection, so we stopped here to check on Ranger-led programs and find the geyser schedule for the day.

Yellowstone Day 3 Junior Ranger Post Madison

It was on this site that members of the Washburn-Langford-Doane expedition met and decided that this land should be protected as public lands.  I’d say that was a pretty great decision.  They petitioned the government and in 1872 President Grant created our first National Park.  Yellowstone Day 3 Junior Ranger Post Madison

We took the Firehole pass and saw some beautiful canyons, a great looking swimming hole and these guys out fly fishing.  I wonder if they caught anything or just enjoyed a morning filled with beautiful blue skies and whispy clouds.

Yellowstone Day 3 Fly Fishermen

It takes much longer to reach one of the major attractions than it would appear on a map, especially in the morning.  I told Jordyn we should be rope dropping these things to avoid traffic :)  Parking is a struggle again today as we pass through the Grand Prismatic and both sides of the road are lined with cars when it says “No parking.”  We finally reached Old Faithful and after a little driving around we found a car leaving and pulled into the Old Faithful Inn area.

It’s a great looking structure.

Yellowstone Day 3 Old Faithful Inn

We only had a short time frame to try to catch the Castle Geyser and Riverside Geyser or we’d need to return and possibly return twice.  We made it to the Castle Geyser as it was erupting with steam and water.  Castle Geyser only erupts about every 14 hours.Yellowstone Day 3 Castle Geyser

We didn’t realize how far it was from the Castle Geyser to the Riverside Geyser.  We began our trek and had about 10 to 15 minutes to make it.  Little did we realize it was over a mile away.  We picked up our pace and made it just before Riverside began to blow.

My kids laughed as we were walking as they remembered us walking from the Capital building in Washington D.C. to the Lincoln Memorial because we thought it was a “short walk.”  I was very sick that day and it was brutally cold too.  At least all the members of our party were in good health and it was only in the low 80’s.

Riverside didn’t disappoint us at all.  It was heaving water and steam over 70 feet in the air across the Firehole River.  It lasted a solid 15 minutes before dying off.  Riverside usually blasts about every 6 to 7 hours.Yellowstone Day 3 Riverside Geyser

As we made our way back, using the Boardwalk side, we saw the Grotto Geyser.  It’s much smaller than the previous two, but is very unique looking.  My kids thought it reminded them of the troll at Epcot’s Norway pavilion.  Back, back, over the falls!Yellowstone Day 3 Grotto Geyser

We passed the Chromatic Spring.  The beautiful colors of the various hot springs are made from thermophiles which are organisms that love heat.  I guess they all moved down from Canada for the summer!

Did you know that scientists extracted an enzyme from the bacteria in these springs that led to the development of “DNA Fingerprinting.”Yellowstone Day 3 Chromatic Spring

After the 2 mile trek back to the beginning of our walk, we were nearing the Old Faithful when we asked a group of people watching anxiously when it would blow.  It was about 8 minutes away and we had a perfect view from across the stream with only a few people around us.  We opted to watch from there rather than join the masses near Old Faithful Inn and the Visitor’s Center.  Old Faithful blasts the sky with water and steam every 60 to 90 minutes, so it’s easy to fit into your schedule.
Yellowstone Day 3 Old Faithful

We were really tired and sore, so we opted to return another day to try for the Grand Geyser, which is the tallest predictable geyser in the world.  We did some shopping in the Snow Lodge.

Debbie opted for this Black Bear which reminded me of a little black bear I owned as a child.  My parents used to take us regularly to the Great Smokey Mountains in North Carolina and Tennessee.  I used to enjoy shopping for little Indian tomahawks, old west style pop guns and little black bears.  I hope my kids gain an appreciation for the National Parks like I did as a child.Yellowstone Day 3j

Here’s a photo of the Old Faithful Inn on the main Entrance side.  We actually saw a number of open parking spots on this side after we had parked.  Drats!  The shuttle buses are original to the park.  The driver said the only things that aren’t original in this one are the steering wheel and the driver.  They use them to shuttle guests to various attractions around the park.
Yellowstone Day 3 Old Faithful Inn

Here’s a view of the inside atrium.  Debbie wanted to climb to the top of what looks like a treehouse.Yellowstone Day 3 Old Faithful InnAfter having lunch at a nearby picnic area, we made our way to the Kepler Cascades.  A note on lunch.  I’d advise you to get an inexpensive cooler in West Yellowstone and fill it with your lunch each day and pack LOTS of bottled water.   Put some little snacks in there as well.  We took a small bag of snacks and water as we surveyed the geysers earlier and it was a life saver.
Yellowstone Day 3 Cascades

From there we stopped to visit the Grand Prismatic Spring.  It’s really beautiful from the right views, but you won’t see it from the top as many of the photos demonstrate online.  Here’s a landscape shot of the area.  There’s another large one down below as well.Yellowstone Day 3 Grand Prismatic

My lovely wife wanted a photo where the hot springs poured into the river.  Over 4,000 gallons of water pour in at this point per hour.Yellowstone Day 3p

We saw a couple of baby deer and stopped, which led us to a little road for Firehole Lake off to our right and decided to see where it went. There were maybe 5 people down this way and there are some beautiful terraces and many geysers.  This one is called White Dome Geyser.

We saw it on our first trip around, but it didn’t blow.  My daughter wanted to get the name of it and take a few photos, so we circled back.  As we were about to leave it spewed water and steam for us.  2 other families came roaring down in their cars to catch it as well.Yellowstone Day 3 White Dome Geyser

On the drive back to Island Park, we saw this amazing sunset which lit up the sky like a raging fire.  I told my kids it will be a great day tomorrow because “Red skies in the morning, sailor take warning.  Red skies at night, sailor’s delight.” Yellowstone Day 3 Sunset

I hope you’re enjoying following our adventures.  Today we hope to visit the local museum, catch an Imax about the area and hopefully go horseback riding.




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14 COMMENTS

  1. Love following along! Our family loves Disney and also visits a National Park/historic site /seashore each and every year!

  2. Where exactly did you watch Old Faithful? When we went, we were in a mass of people and I have heads in my photo. Your viewpoint looks so much better! Thinking ahead to when we take our daughter.

    • We were on the boardwalk coming back from the other geysers. Little over look before you go down to cross the creek.

      • Makes me feel confident in that being 1 of two cameras in my Amazon shopping cart. Other being rx10mk3.
        Make sure you go down park road outside Teton village at day light and dusk while in Tetons. And gun barrel steak house for some game and potatoes.

  3. Okay – this is really cool – because the first thing I thought was “Wilderness Lodge!” – Now I get it! Definitely putting Yellowstone on our family vacation “bucket” list! Photos are Great!

    • Wilderness Lodge was inspired by Yellowstone and other famous national park lodges. Wilderness Lodge even has a geyser :)

  4. I am enjoying these posts, Kenny. Yellowstone is now a must-do trip for my family. You make us wish we were there. Glad you guys are having fun.

  5. Really loving reading about your trip. Would love to do this in years to come but we would be traveling from the UK so lots of saving to be done! I hope you continue to have a wonderful time and thank you so much for sharing :)

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