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Upper Geyser Basin Trail



2.1 mile 3.3 kilometer point to point
100% Runnable


Ascent: 81' 25 m
Descent: -80' -24 m
High: 7,369' 2,246 m
Low: 7,321' 2,232 m


Avg Grade: 1% (1°)
Max Grade: 5% (3°)


No Dogs
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Trail shared by Tom Carter

This trail passes many of the most impressive geysers in Yellowstone!

Tom Carter

Features River/Creek · Views

Geyser basin boardwalks and trails protect you and preserve delicate formations. You must stay on boardwalks and designated trails. Scalding water underlies most of the thin, breakable crust. Pools may be near or above the boiling temperature and can cause severe, possibly even fatal, burns.


The 2.1-mile, flat Upper Geyser Basin Trail begins left of Old Faithful at a trail junction by the Old Faithful Inn, front parking lot. From here, it does a 0.6-mile, clockwise loop around Old Faithful Geyser, passing the starting point and continuing along the paved path for 0.4 miles to Castle Geyser. The trail turns right, following boardwalks past Crested Pool, crosses the Firehole River, and reaches a junction near Sawmill Geyser 0.2 miles from Castle. At the junction, the trail turns left and continues past numerous features, including Grand Geyser, Economic Geyser, and Beauty Pool, before crossing back over the Firehole 0.4 miles from Sawmill. The trail continues another 0.3 miles, past Giant Geyser and reaches Grotto Geyser. From Grotto, the trail turns left, then immediately right, for its last leg passing Daisy, Comet, and Splendid Geysers before ending at its junction with the Punch Bowl-Black Sand Basin Trail.

Check the Visitor's Center for eruption times for Old Faithful, Castle, and Grand geysers before starting.

The following are important features you'll see along the trail:

Castle Geyser has the largest cone and may be the oldest geyser in Yellowstone. Since geyserite cones build up at only 1 to 2 inches every 100 years, we know that Castle is quite old. It erupts every 10-12 hours. Eruptions frequently reach 90 feet and last about 20 minutes. The water phase is followed by a noisy steam phase lasting 30-40 minutes. Members of the 1879 Washburn Expedition named Castle Geyser for its resemblance to the ruins of a feudal castle.

Grand Geyser, the tallest predictable geyser in the world, erupts every 7-15 hours. A classic fountain geyser, Grand erupts from a large pool with powerful bursts rather than a steady column like Old Faithful. An average eruption lasts 9-12 minutes and consists of 1-4 bursts, sometimes reaching 200 feet.

Giant Geyser was dormant for many years after 1955. Since then, it has slowly become active. In 1997, eruptions occurred every 3-10 days. Eruptions last about an hour and can reach heights of 180-250 feet. Today eruptions are less frequent.

Grotto Geyser erupts about every eight hours splashing 10 feet. The weirdly shaped cone that gives the geyser its name is from geyserite covering the trunks of trees that once grew here.

Daisy Geyser erupts at an angle to a height of 75 feet for 3-5 minutes. Daisy is quite predictable, with eruption intervals of 110-240 minutes.

Thanks to guidebook author, Tom Carter, for sharing this trail description. To learn more about visiting Yellowstone, check out his book, Day Hiking Yellowstone.

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Need to Know, Flora & Fauna, Runner Notes


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Jun 29, 2019
Knightsof Never

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 20 votes


in Old Faithful


  4.4 from 20 votes
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in Old Faithful


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95 Views Last Month
3,410 Since Sep 10, 2015



Old Faithful.
May 18, 2016 near Old Fai…, WY
Firehole River at sunset.
Apr 17, 2016 near Yellows…, WY
Castle Geyser in its post-eruption steam phase.
Apr 17, 2016 near Yellows…, WY
Old Faithful.
Sep 9, 2015 near Old Fai…, WY
Old Faithful at Sunset
Dec 16, 2015 near Old Fai…, WY
Firehole River and Upper Geyser Basin before Dawn
Jan 22, 2016 near Yellows…, WY


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