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Geyser Hill Trail

Easy
 4.1 (15)

A classic geyser basin trail among some of the most interesting thermal features in the park.


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Map Key

0.6

Miles

0.9

KM

Point to Point

7,374' 2,248 m

High

7,352' 2,241 m

Low

25' 8 m

Up

22' 7 m

Down

2%

Avg Grade (1°)

3%

Max Grade (2°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Views

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.

Description

This short loop trail begins just across the Firehole River behind Old Faithful Geyser. From the Visitor's Center, go between the geyser and the Old Faithful Lodge, turn right at the first trail junction, and follow the paved path down to a bridged crossing of the Firehole River. Continue straight at the junction with the Observation Point Trail to Geyser Hill. Follow the boardwalk for a counterclockwise loop of Geyser Hill.

The first significant feature along the trail is Giantess Geyser, one of the largest and most powerful geysers in the world. Its infrequent eruptions explode unpredictably from its large pool to a height of 200 feet, 2 to 6 times a year. Its duration lasts many hours and progresses from a water phase to a powerful steam phase. During eruptions, the seismograph in the visitor center can detect small tremors in the ground and the roar of the steam can be heard more than a mile away. The Washburn Expedition, who named this magnificent feature, exclaimed, "All we had previously witnessed seemed tame in comparison."

The trail continues past beautiful Doublet Pool (on the left), Aurum Geyser (on the right), the Observation Point Spur trail to Solitary Geyser (on the right) and Ear Spring (left, see the resemblance?) before reaching a junction in the boardwalk. Turn left and immediately view the Lion Group geysers on the right. The Lion Group consists of four geysers: Lion, Lioness, Big Cub, and Little Cub, which are all connected underground.

Of these, Lion has the largest cone and eruptions. Active phases normally occur each day. Eruptions of Lion Geyser last 1-7 minutes and are often preceded by sudden gushes of steam and a deep roaring sound, hence the name Lion. Just past the Lion Group lies Heart Spring, named by park geologist, George Marler, because its shape resembles a human heart.

The last important feature on Geyser Hill is Beehive Geyser, a classic cone-type geyser that erupts in a steady column of water through a small vent or geyserite cone. Eruptions usually occur twice each day with displays lasting 4-5 minutes. During an eruption, the narrow cone acts like a nozzle, projecting the water column to heights of 130-190 feet. Shortly past Beehive the trail concludes its loop of Geyser Hill.

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

Contacts

Shared By:

Tom Carter

Trail Ratings

  4.1 from 15 votes

#8

in Old Faithful

#6921

Overall
  4.1 from 15 votes
5 Star
33%
4 Star
47%
3 Star
20%
2 Star
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Trail Rankings

#8

in Old Faithful

#145

in Wyoming

#6,921

Overall
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2,231 Since Sep 10, 2015
Easy

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Photos

Heart Spring and the Lion Group with Castle Geyser Erupting in the background. with permission from walkaboutwest *No Commercial Use
Mar 7, 2016 near Old Fai…, WY
Beehive Geyser, a classic cone-type geyser, erupts a steady column of water through a small vent or geyserite cone. Beehive's cone acts like a nozzle shooting water 200 feet high. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.
Mar 5, 2016 near Old Fai…, WY
A winter trek around Geyser Hill is an excellent way to spend your time in the Old Faithful area. Here, beautiful Heart Spring's runoff channel heads to the Firehole River (with the geyser cones of the Lion Group behind).
Mar 5, 2016 near Old Fai…, WY
Ear Spring, one of many beautiful springs on Geyser Hill.
Mar 5, 2016 near Old Fai…, WY
Aurum Geyser.
Mar 7, 2016 near Old Fai…, WY

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