Norris Geyser Basin

#6 in Best Things To Do in Yellowstone
Norris Geyser Basin picture1 of 2
Norris Geyser Basin2 of 2
Fyletto/Getty Images

Price & Hours

Free
24/7 daily

Details

Natural Wonders, Recreation, Sightseeing, Free Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.5scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

Old Faithful may be Yellowstone's most well-known geyser, but this geothermal hot spot in the Norris area is the park's oldest and hottest. From its boardwalks, visitors can see rare acid geysers like Echinus Geyser, as well as the tallest active geyser in the world, Steamboat Geyser.

Although the basin's geysers rarely erupt, recent travelers highly recommend checking out this geothermal area, saying it's an "other-worldly place" and the "best geyser basin in Yellowstone." A few, however, caution that it can get crowded and run out of parking spaces at the main lot, so consider arriving early or late in the day. Sunrise and sunset are especially beautiful times to visit.

North Geyser Basin sits near two museums and a campground, which are open daily between mid- or late May and late September or early October, though exact hours may vary by season. Meanwhile, the basin's geysers can be visited 24 hours a day during the summer season. All of the region's facilities are free to use, but a Yellowstone park pass (valid for seven days) is required.

The only way to reach the area (which sits about 20 miles south of Mammoth Hot Springs) is by car or tour bus. Travelers can reference the National Park Service's Norris Geyser Basin Online Tour when planning their North Geyser Basin itineraries. Additional information is provided on NPS' Norris Area page.

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Type
Time to Spend
#1 Old Faithful

The world's most renowned geyser is a must-see for every Yellowstone visitor. Although it isn't the largest geyser in the world, Old Faithful's eruptions are definitely awe-inspiring, averaging around 130 feet high. Like its name suggests, you can count on Old Faithful erupting approximately every hour and a half (the nearby visitors center can provide you with a more accurate schedule). There are several ways to see Old Faithful's power: You can join the hordes of tourists who gather around the perimeter or find a less hectic spot in the nearby Old Faithful Inn's dining room. More adventurous travelers can enjoy the mile-long hike out to Observation Point for a bird's-eye view of the Upper Geyser Basin.

Recent visitors enjoyed seeing Old Faithful, although some felt it wasn't as impressive as other Yellowstone geysers. Many, however, said this geyser is worth checking out. Despite it's fairly predictable schedule, Old Faithful's eruptions occasionally occur sooner than expected, so consider arriving early.

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