More Old Faithful Area Highlights
You could spend your lifetime exploring Yellowstone National Park. Here are some more of our favorite places and things to do in the Old Faithful Area. From home, take an online tour of the Old Faithful area, join park rangers as they describe the features and processes of Old Faithful in two-minute Inside Yellowstone videos, or see what's happening now on the Old Faithful webcams.
Enjoy Fly Fishing the Firehole River
The river derives its name from the steam (which they thought was smoke from fires) witnessed by early trappers to the area. Their term for a mountain valley was "hole," and the designation was born. The Firehole River boasts a world-famous reputation for challenging fly-fishing. Brown, rainbow, and brook trout give the angler a wary target in this stream.
Learn about Craig Pass and Isa Lake
Both names are used to describe the same location seven miles south of Old Faithful on the Grand Loop Road. At 8,262 feet along the Continental Divide, Isa Lake is a uniquely confusing feature. During spring runoff, it drains into both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans at the same time-and backwards, too! The west side of the lake flows into the Firehole drainage and, eventually, the Atlantic throughout the year. During the spring, the east side flows toward the Snake River drainage and the Pacific.
Hike to a Waterfall
Kepler Cascades is the most easily reached waterfall in the district. A marked pullout just south of Old Faithful and a short walk from the car offers the visitor easy access to view this 125-foot cascade.
See the Day Hiking Trails section for information on hiking to Mystic Falls and Fairy Falls.
Relax at the Old Faithful Lodge
Unlike the Inn, the current Old Faithful Lodge is a result of numerous changes dating back to the early days of tent camps provided by companies like Shaw and Powell Camping Company and Wylie Permanent Camping Company. These camps were erected throughout the park and offered shelter before hotels and lodges were built. Both companies had facilities at Old Faithful. By 1917, auto traffic into the park was increasing, and it was decided that some camps could be eliminated. Yellowstone Park Camping Company emerged and operated on the old site of the Shaw and Powell camp, the present day site of the Lodge. In 1918, a laundry was built on the site and construction continued on the facility until 1928 when the Lodge reached its present configuration.
Cabin-style accommodations are available at Old Faithful Lodge. Often confused with the other two hotels in the area, Old Faithful Lodge houses a cafeteria, gift shop, coffee shop, and the front desk where guests check in.
The lodge is currently operated by Xanterra Parks & Resorts.
Learn about the Flight of the Nez Perce
This exhibit tells the story of the flight of the Nez Perce through Yellowstone in 1877. A band of 700 men, women, and children entered the park on the evening of August 23, fleeing 600 Army regulars commanded by General O.O. Howard. The Nez Perce had been told to leave their homeland and move to a reservation. They fled their ancestral home in the Wallowa Valley in northeastern Oregon on June 17, 1877, and by the time they entered the park, several battles, including a fight at Big Hole (another National Park Service site), had occurred.
During the two weeks they were in the park, the Nez Perce bumped into all 25 known people visiting the new park at that time, some more than once. Camps were plundered, hostages taken, and several people were killed or wounded.
After leaving the park, the Nez Perce tried reaching the Canadian border but were stopped by General Nelson Miles, who had reinforced General Howard's command. Some Nez Perce were able to slip into Canada, but the remaining 350 tribal members led by Chief Joseph surrendered to General Miles. This is where Chief Joseph gave his famous speech, "I will fight no more forever." The 1,700-mile flight that included Yellowstone National Park had come to an end. Today, Nez Perce Creek and the nearby wayside exhibit are reminders of their visit.
Hike the Howard Eaton Trail
Named for an early park outfitter and guide, the Howard Eaton Trail paralleled the Grand Loop Road in many places. Remnants of this old horse trail are maintained and used by hikers today. Here in the Old Faithful District, the trail provides a less traveled route to Lone Star Geyser from the developed area.
Visit the Lower Hamilton Store
Built in 1897, this is the oldest structure in the Old Faithful area still in use. The "knotty pine" porch is a popular resting place for visitors, providing a great view of Geyser Hill. (The oldest building at Old Faithful was built as a photo studio in 1897 for F. Jay Haynes. Originally located 700 feet southwest of Beehive Geyser and about 350 feet northwest of the front of the Old Faithful Inn, it now stands near the intersection of the Grand Loop Road and the fire lane, near the crosswalk.)
Plan a Backcountry Trip to Shoshone Geyser Basin
Shoshone Geyser Basin is reached by a 17-mile roundtrip hike that crosses the Continental Divide at Grant's Pass. This basin has no boardwalks, and extreme caution should be exercised when travelling through it. Trails in the basin must be used. Remote thermal areas, such as this, should be approached with respect, knowledge, and care. Be sure to emphasize personal safety and resource protection when entering a backcountry basin.
Take a Day Hike to Lone Star Geyser Basin
This backcountry geyser basin is easily reached by a 5-mile roundtrip hike from the trailhead south of Old Faithful. Lone Star Geyser erupts about every three hours. There is a logbook, located in a cache near the geyser, for observations of geyser times and types of eruptions.