Old Faithful Geyser is arguably the most recognized named geological feature in the Park. People come from all around the world to stand in awe of Old Faithful. After you’ve joined the throngs of people on the Old Faithful Board Walks for a close up view and photos, consider these alternative viewpoints. Early risers might start the morning sitting in front of one of the massive windows facing the Geyser in Old Faithful Lodge. Start the day with coffee and a pastry from the little café adjacent to this viewing place. Another favorite viewing spot is from the second floor deck on the front of Old Faithful Inn. There is a bar located just inside the doors from the large front deck where all the seating faces Old Faithful Geyser. This is a good afternoon viewpoint. For the bird’s-eye view, take the trail to Observation Point. It is high on the hill above the Firehole River and offers a great view of the Upper Geyser Basin and Old Faithful Geyser with the magnificent Old Faithful Inn in the background.
Start your visit to the Old Faithful Area at the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center. This inspiring new (August, 2010) facility features exhibits on hydrothermal features, life in extreme environments, volcanic geology, and scientific investigations of these phenomena. NPS rangers are available with maps and guides to answer questions and help you plan your exploration of the area. Pick up a copy of the NPS Old Faithful Area Trail Guide. There are miles of trails, boardwalks and asphalt walkways that allow you easy access to more than thirty named thermal features in the Area. Pack a camera, water and a snack. Start your exploration at the footbridge across the Firehole River just down the hill behind Old Faithful Geyser. If you’re up for a bit of a climb, take the Observation Point, Solitary Geyser loop trail (counter clock wise). When you return to the trail above the footbridge, follow the trail downstream past Geyser Hill and numerous geysers, pools and springs. The trail brings you back across the Firehole River to the west side near Oblong Geyser where it joins the paved trail that runs along the west side of the River from Old Faithful Geyser to Morning Glory Pool. Follow the paved trail north a short distance to see Morning Glory Pool. Then, follow the paved trail south returning to Old Faithful Geyser. This walk is approximately 3 miles roundtrip from the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center not including the Observation Point – Solitary Geyser Loop. Bicycles are allowed on many of the paved trails and on designated bicycle trails. Bicycle and cross-country ski rentals are available in the Gift Shop located in the Old Faithful Snow Lodge. In addition to the numerous hydrothermal features located in the immediate vicinity, there are an abundance of waterfalls, hydrothermal features and grand views within a few hours hike from the Old Faithful Area. Mystic Falls and Lone Star Geyser are two favorites. If time allows, plan to spend a couple of days exploring the Old Faithful Area. In the evening you might attend one of the Ranger Programs. No visit would be complete without taking in the ambience of Old Faithful Inn. It is a beautiful log hotel constructed in 1903-04 using mostly building materials found in the area, including lodge pole pine and native stone. Stand in the center lobby facing the massive four story stone fireplace and marvel at the intricate, log and limb architecture. Two balconies overlook the lobby and provide the perfect setting to relax following a day of exploration. There are rocking chairs, large wooden stuffed chairs and leather couches all of an earlier era, but well maintained. Most summer evenings a pianist, located on the lower balcony, plays for the guests from a very large repertoire of popular tunes for all ages.
The Old Faithful Area is located in the southwest corner of the Grand Loop Road. It is 30 miles from the West Entrance and 17 miles west of West Thumb on Yellowstone Lake. There are overnight accommodations, numerous restaurants (including cafeteria style), 2 general stores, several gift shops and a gas station. The lodging runs the gambit from very nice rooms with private bathrooms in Old Faithful Inn and Old Faithful Snow Lodge to rustic Lodge cabins with shared bath houses. The closest campground is at Madison Junction, 16 miles north of the Old Faithful Area.
A winter visit to the Old Faithful Area is a very special treat. After spending the night at Mammoth Hot Springs, board a snow coach bound for the Old Faithful Snow Lodge. The summer crowds of park visitors and their vehicles are gone. Instead, you might see crowds of buffalo that have taken to the snow packed roads for easier travel. Except for the occasional sounds of snowmobiles and tracked coaches and the hiss and thunder generated by the hydrothermal features, the Area is surprisingly quiet. The one-half day snow coach trip from Mammoth Hot Springs to Old Faithful is the perfect way to view Yellowstone’s winter wonderland. Your snow coach driver is also your tour guide and is likely to provide a running narrative describing the sights along the way. The Snow Lodge provides the only winter season lodging in the Old Faithful Area. It is a modern, rustic looking facility with very comfortable and well heated rooms. The common areas are very inviting with very comfortable furnishings and attractive fireplaces. Activities include exploring the hydrothermal features by foot, snowshoe or on cross country skies. An ice rink is available for guests. Snowshoes and cross country skies are available to rent. The Snow Lodge has a large restaurant, a cozy bar/lounge and a cafeteria. Snow coach and guided snowmobile trips are available to many areas of the Park.