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Old Faithful Schedule
One of the main attractions, if not the main attraction in Yellowstone National Park is Old Faithful geyser. Named by members of the 1870 Washburn Expedition, Old Faithful was once called “Eternity’s Timepiece” because of the regularity of its eruptions. Since then, visitors have wanted to know, “How often does Old Faithful erupt?.”
The regularity of Old Faithful eruption times has always been a myth. It is not the largest, nor the most regular geyser in Yellowstone, but it does erupt more frequently than any other large geyser. And since it sits alone on its cone, shooting water hundreds of feet into the air, it is a spectacle that has drawn visitors since before Yellowstone became a National Park.
Despite its lack of regularity, Park Rangers and scientists have figured out how to create a fairly realistic Old Faithful schedule. Every prediction depends on the length and amount of water in the last eruption, so they can only be predicted after the geyser erupts. In other words, you can’t plan you vacation to Yellowstone with Old Faithful times in mind.
Fortunately, there are so many things to see and do in the Old Faithful and Upper Geyser Basin area, that you can be totally entertained while you wait for an Old Faithful eruption.
What Time Does Old Faithful Erupt?
According to the Yellowstone National Park website, Old Faithful erupts about 17 times each day and those eruptions can be predicted with a 90% confidence rate within a 10-minute variation.
To predict Old Faithful geyser times, you need to know a few things.
First, Old Faithful is a bimodal geyser – it has both long and short eruptions. A long eruption is 3.5 minutes or longer and these are more common that short eruptions.
Second, intervals between eruptions can be 60-110 minutes. If the geyser, Old Faithful, has a short eruption, Rangers predict the next one will be in 60 minutes (plus or minus 10 minutes). If Old Faithful has a long eruption, it will be 90 minutes (plus or minus 10 minutes) before the next eruption.
When Does Old Faithful Erupt?
If you just want to know when the next Old Faithful eruption takes place:
- Check the posted prediction at the Old Faithful Visitor Center
- See the Rangers’ predictions on Twitter @GeyserNPS
- Watch the Old Faithful webcam live and see the predictions there.
- Look at the Old Faithful eruption schedule online. Other geyser eruptions are predicted here, too.
- There’s an app for that. Download the mobile Geyser app from iTunes or Google Play.
- Contact the park by phone for a recorded message with current predictions.
What is Old Faithful?
Old Faithful in Yellowstone Park is the world’s most famous geyser. A geyser is a hot spring in which water intermittently boils, sending a tall column of water and steam into the air. How does Old Faithful erupt? Learn more about how geysers, including Old Faithful, work.
Virtual Tour of Old Faithful
Take a tour of the Upper Geyser Basin with my husband in this video of his walk around Old Faithful and the Upper Geyser Basin.
Where is Old Faithful?
The Old Faithful location is in the Upper Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. It is on the south section of the Grand Loop Road.
• Old Faithful, Wyoming to Jackson Hole, Wyoming: 2 hours 15 minutes (97 miles)
• Old Faithful, Wyoming to West Yellowstone, Montana: 1 hour (31.5 miles)
• Old Faithful, Wyoming to Cody, Wyoming: 2 hours 40 minutes (117 miles)
• Old Faithful, Wyoming to Gardiner, Montana: 2 hours (57 miles)
Old Faithful Map
Where Is The Best Place To Watch Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park?
- The most obvious place to watch Old Faithful erupt is the bleachers. The fact that there are bleachers at all should tell you how busy this place gets. People get there early and hold the “best spots,” but really, they are all good spots. You can use the gathering crowd as an Old Faithful countdown clock (the Old Faithful Indicator) as the numbers increase as the predicted eruption time gets closer.
- When we want to be close to watch the eruption, but want fewer people around, we walk to the backside of Old Faithful Geyser. It’s not the same iconic view, so if you have never seen it, watch from the bleachers for the first time.
- The balcony at the Old Faithful Lodge (the Yellowstone Old Faithful Inn) is another great spot to watch Old Faithful. There is a bar and coffee cart in the Inn, so you can watch with a drink in your hand.
- When the weather isn’t great, we like to watch the eruption from inside the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center. The Old Faithful live cam is set up there and there are huge windows that make for good viewing.
- If you are up for a little walk, Observation Point is a great viewpoint. Start on the Upper Geyser Basin for this 1.1-mile loop. It’s a bit of a climb to Observation Point, but you’ll have a one of the best views of the Upper Geyser Basin from 250-feet above Old Faithful. From there, continue on to Solitary Geyser, then continue the Upper Geyser Trail back to Old Faithful.
Old Faithful Video
To learn more about Old Faithful Geyser, Yellowstone National Park put together this video answering the question, “when will Old Faithful erupt?”
Old Faithful Facts
How high does Old Faithful erupt? It depends! Old Faithful eruptions can vary in height from 106-184 feet. The average is around 130 feet.
How long does an Old Faithful eruption last? Again, it depends. Old Faithful activity can last 1.5-5 minutes. Unfortunately, there is no Old Faithful Geyser Schedule, you can use the predictions and then you have to watch. The Old Faithful webcam is a good alternative if you can’t be there in person.
How hot is Old Faithful Geyser? Hot enough you wouldn’t want to touch it! Old Faithful has been measured at 204-dregrees Fahrenheit at the vent and the steam has been measured above 350-degrees Fahrenheit.
How much water comes out of Old Faithful? Since the eruption lengths differ, so does the amount of water. The Park Service says the amount ranges from 3,700 gallons (for a short duration of 1.5 minutes) to 8,400 gallons (for a longer duration of 4.5 minutes).
What state is Old Faithful in? Old Faithful is in Wyoming, as is most of Yellowstone National Park. There are three entrances to Yellowstone in Montana and a little sliver of the park is in Idaho.
What is the Old Faithful elevation? Old Faithful sits at 7,349 feet above sea level.
Is Old Faithful a volcano? Nope- Old Faithful is a geyser, but I can see where the “Old Faithful Volcano” rumor got started. Yellowstone in general, and Old Faithful specifically, sits in the caldera of a sleeping volcano. Notice I didn’t say “extinct” volcano. There is almost constant seismic activity in Yellowstone and the Yellowstone Super Volcano will probably erupt again one day, but not soon. It’s the magma under the caldera that heats and powers the thermal features in the park, including Old Faithful.
Dr. Heasler answers common questions about the Yellowstone volcano, including its relationship to the park’s thermal features and the likelihood of an eruption.
Old Faithful Weather
The weather in Yellowstone varies dramatically throughout the year. Winters are cold and snowy, while summers can be warm or cool and rainy. Prepare for any kind of weather when you are visiting, even in the summer. And because Old Faithful is at high elevation, wear extra sunscreen and hat and drink more water than you would at a lower elevation. The Park Service website has more information about weather throughout the year at Old Faithful.
Make Your Own Old Faithful Prediction
The Old Faithful next eruption time can be fun to predict yourself. Whether you are standing at the Old Faithful Lodge, Yellowstone or watching the Old Faithful cam from home to predict the next eruption of the famous geyser, follow these the instructions and see how accurate your prediction is.
Other Things To Do in Yellowstone
Old Faithful Geyser is a huge draw for Yellowstone visitors, but there is so much more to see in the park. Here are ten of our favorite things to see in Yellowstone.