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15 Best Geysers & Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park

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If you’re looking for an amazing geothermal experience in the western U.S., look no further than Yellowstone. Home to some of the most impressive geysers in the world, Yellowstone is a must-see destination for anyone interested in nature and thermal activity. Here are the best geysers in Yellowstone National Park to see.

When visiting Yellowstone, it’s important to know which geysers and hot springs to visit since there is an overwhelming number of them.

These geysers are incredibly impressive and worth seeing if you’re interested in nature and thermal activity. Yellowstone is a must-see destination for anyone who wants to learn more about these incredible natural landscapes.

One thing that I didn’t truly appreciate before visiting Yellowstone was the variety of the geyser basins all over the park. Each basin has its unique features and characteristics. Of them all, Yellowstone’s Upper Geyser Basin is the most impressive and popular.

Here is a breakdown of each geyser basin to help you understand its unique features. Then, when reading our favorite geysers, you’ll know just where to find them.

Different Geyser Basins in Yellowstone

Lower Geyser Basin

Lower Geyser Basin

Lower Geyser Basin is one of the most popular geothermal areas in Yellowstone. The area has about 100 geothermal features, including geysers, hot springs, fumaroles, and mud pots. Lower Geyser Basin covers 4.5 square miles between Madison Junction and the Old Faithful area.

Four facilities exist in the Lower Geyser Basin, including geysers, volcanic rocks, hot springs, and mud pots. This is a great place to see some of Earth’s most amazing geologic features.

Midway Geyser Basin

Midway Geyser Basin

Midway Geyser Basin is one of the most crowded areas in the city due to its extensive boardwalks. However, Midway Geyser Basin is also one of the best places to walk around and avoid the scalding hot springs. Midway Geyser Basin is a small watershed between upper and lower basins on a short boardwalk.

Midway Geyser Basin is one of the only places in the city where you can walk at an edge without security gates. When you’re ready to take a break from walking, stop by one of the many Midway Geyser Basin restaurants for a bite.

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Gibbon/Monument Basin

Gibbon/Monument Basin

Gibbon Basin is a great place to visit if you’re looking for somewhere off the beaten path. The basin is smaller and less well-known, so you can enjoy the scenery without the crowds. The trailhead for reaching Gibbon Basin is past the bridge over Gibbon River.

The parking lot is small, but don’t let that deter you – the short hike to Gibbon Basin is well worth it. Once you reach the basin, you’ll be rewarded with stunning geysers and hot springs views.

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Upper Geyser Basin

Upper Geyser Basin
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The Upper Geyser Basin is one of Yellowstone’s most geologically active areas and even the world. It is home to some of the world’s tallest geysers and a large concentration of hot springs and other geothermal features.

The Upper Geyser Basin comprises several groups of geothermal features totaling 150. It’s less than half a mile wide, and most geothermal areas are just below the Firehole River.

Walk through the asphalt bike trail on Firehole River and experience amazing hot water or geyser eruptions. Several explode predictably, while others appear with a random pattern of limited predictability.

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Norris Geyser Basin

Norris Geyser Basin

Norris Geyser Basin is one of Yellowstone’s most unique and interesting places. As the name suggests, Norris Geyser Basin is home to many geysers, making it one of the most active geyser basins in the park.

Norris Geyser Basin is also one of the largest geyser basins in Yellowstone, covering an area of over 12 acres. The Norris Geyser Basin is divided into two distinct sections: the Porcelain Basin and the Back Basin.

The Porcelain Basin is home to several hot springs, water sources, and pools, while the Back Basin is home to a number of geysers, including the famous Steamboat Geyser.

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West Thumb Geyser Basin

West Thumb Geyser Basin

West Thumb Geyser Basin is one of the most beautiful places in Yellowstone. The area has many geothermal features, including geysers, hot springs, fumaroles, and mud pots.

West Thumb Geyser Basin is located on the west side of Yellowstone Lake, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the park.

The basin covers an area of 2.5 square miles and is home to over 150 geothermal features. West Thumb Geyser Basin is a great place to see some of Earth’s most amazing geologic features.

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Best Geysers & Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park

1. Old Faithful – Upper Geyser Basin

Old Faithful - Upper Geyser Basin
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The one and only. Old Faithful is one of the most famous geysers in Yellowstone (and the world) for a reason – it’s extremely reliable. Old Faithful geyser erupts every 35 to 120 minutes, almost like clockwork, and its eruptions can last from 1.5 to 5 minutes.

Old Faithful can shoot water up to 184 feet (56 meters) in the air, making it a truly spectacular sight. If it’s your first time visiting Yellowstone, Old Faithful is a must-add to your list of attractions to visit.

2. Castle Geyser – Upper Geyser Basin

Castle Geyser - Upper Geyser Basin

Castle Geyser gets its name from its majestic cone, one of the tallest in Yellowstone at 30 feet (9 meters). Castle Geyser is located near the Old Faithful Inn in the Geyser Hill region.

The Castle Geyser basin is large and deep, with a hot pool in the center. The water in Castle Geyser is very hot, about 190 degrees Fahrenheit (88 degrees Celsius). When Castle Geyser erupts, it is a truly spectacular sight.

Water can shoot up to 90 feet (27 meters) in the air, and eruptions usually last around 10 minutes. Castle Geyser is one of the best geysers in Yellowstone because it erupts infrequently, but when it does, it’s an incredible experience.

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3. Morning Glory Pool – Upper Geyser Basin

Morning Glory Pool in Yellowstone National Park
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Morning Glory Pool is one of the most photographed pools in Yellowstone. Morning Glory Pool gets its name from its beautiful blue color caused by thermophilic bacteria. The water in the pool is very hot, so beware if you’re tempted to take a dip. You’ll probably die. No joke.

Eruptions aren’t common, but when they do happen, they can shoot water up to 15 feet (4.6 meters) in the air. The best time to see the Morning Glory Pool is early morning when the sun casts a beautiful glow on the water.

4. Riverside Geyser – Upper Geyser Basin

Riverside Geyser - Upper Geyser Basin

Riverside Geyser is one of the more reliable geysers in Yellowstone, with an eruption every 6 to 10 hours. It’s located on the edge of the Firehole River, hence its name.

When Riverside Geyser erupts, water can reach heights of 30 feet (9 meters). Riverside Geyser is a cone-type geyser and is one of only a few geysers in the world that regularly issues a vertical stream of water from a river or other body of water.

Riverside Geyser is also one of only two that have a sinter deposit underwater. Eruptions at Riverside Geyser can last from 1 to 8 minutes. The geyser usually starts with one or two large jets followed by many smaller ones that spray water onto the bank and river beyond.

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5. Great Fountain Geyser – Lower Geyser Basin

Great Fountain Geyser at Sunset

If you’re looking for one of the most impressive geysers in Yellowstone, the Great Fountain Geyser is definitely worth a visit. This geyser can shoot water up to 250 feet (76 meters) in the air, and eruptions can last up to 15 minutes.

The Great Fountain Geyser is also one of the largest geysers in Yellowstone, so it’s truly a sight to behold. Remember that eruptions are unpredictable, so checking with a ranger before heading over is best.

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6. Beehive Geyser – Upper Geyser Basin

Beehive Geyser at the Upper Geyser Basin
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Beehive Geyser is one of the more active geysers in Yellowstone National Park, with eruptions every 20 to 40 minutes. When Beehive Geyser erupts, water can reach heights up to 200 feet (61 meters).

The Beehive Geyser gets its name from its cone, which resembles a beehive. Beehive Geyser is located in the Upper Geyser Basin, near other famous geysers like Old Faithful Geyser.

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7. Steamboat Geyser – Norris Geyser Basin

Steamboat Geyser, dry land with geyser

Steamboat Geyser at Yellowstone National Park is one of the world’s most unpredictable geysers. It’s also the tallest active geyser, with eruptions that can shoot water up to 400 feet (122 meters) in the air. The geyser is in a remote park area with no nearby roads or trails.

As a result, Steamboat is one of the least visited geysers in Yellowstone. However, for those who try to see it, Steamboat is an amazing sight. The intervals between eruptions can range from a few days to a few decades, so it’s important to check with park officials before making the trip.

8. Excelsior Geyser Crater – Midway Geyser Basin

Excelsior Geyser Crater - Midway Geyser Basin

Excelsior Geyser Crater is one of the most impressive geysers in Yellowstone National Park. It’s located in the Midway Geyser Basin, and when it’s active, water can shoot up to 300 feet (91 meters) in the air.

Excelsior is one of the largest geysers in Yellowstone, and eruptions can last up to 3 hours. This geyser isn’t as active as some in the park, but it’s a spectacular sight when it erupts

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9. Giant Geyser – Upper Geyser Basin

Giant Geyser - Upper Geyser Basin
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The Giant Geyser is one of the largest geysers in Yellowstone. It’s appropriately named, as it can reach 200 feet (61 meters) when it erupts.

Giant Geyser doesn’t erupt very often, but when it does, it’s an impressive sight. Eruptions can last up to 30 minutes, and the water can reach over 200 degrees Fahrenheit (93 degrees Celsius).

10. Monument Geyser – Monument Basin

Monument Geyser in Yellowstone in Summer

Monument Geyser is one of the largest attractions in this geyser basin, and it’s easy to see why. The cone that generates the geyser is 8 ft tall and often blows steam.

The size of the cone and steam produces constant low-hearing sounds in the geyser. Monument Geyser is a great place to take a break from your busy day and relax.

You can also find Monument Geyser on many maps of the city. If you’re looking for a unique experience off the beaten path, check out Monument Geyser.

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11. Grotto Geyser – Upper Geyser Basin

Grotto Geyser - Upper Geyser Basin
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Grotto Geyser is one of the most active geysers in Yellowstone and is located in the Upper Geyser Basin. It’s easily recognizable because of the large pool of water at its base.

Grotto erupts every few minutes, and water can reach heights up to 50 feet (15 meters). When Grotto is dormant, the water in the pool gradually drains away, making it seem like Grotto has disappeared.

12. Grand Geyser – Upper Geyser Basin

Grand Geyser - Upper Geyser Basin

Grand Geyser is one of the most popular geysers in Yellowstone, and for good reason – it’s one of the most spectacular geysers in the world. Grand Geyser is a large cone geyser that can shoot water up to 200 feet (61 meters) in the air!

Eruptions at Grand Geyser are fairly infrequent, occurring only every 8 to 12 hours, but can last up to 10 minutes. If you’re lucky enough to see an eruption of Grand Geyser, you’ll be treated to an incredible display of nature’s power.

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13. Artist Paintpots – Gibbon Basin

Artist Paintpots - Gibbon Basin

Artist Paintpots are one of the most famous features in Yellowstone. The bubbling mud pots are at the end of a half-mile hike through a lodgepole pine forest.

The pots get their name from the colorful deposits the hot springs’ water left behind. The Artist Paintpots area is especially beautiful when the leaves change color in the fall.

Visitors should know that the Artist Paintpots are located in a geologically active area, and the ground can be unstable. There have been several incidents where people have fallen into the hot springs and been seriously injured. Staying on the boardwalks and following all posted signs is best for your safety.

14. Grand Prismatic Spring – Midway Geyser Basin

Grand Prismatic Spring - Midway Geyser Basin
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Grand Prismatic Spring is one of the most stunning natural features in the United States. The spring is Grand Prismatic’s claim to fame – it is the biggest warm spring in the United States and the third-largest in the world.

The colors of Grand Prismatic Spring are unlike any other – orange, yellow, and blue swirl together in beautiful contrast to the green trees surrounding the area.

The size of Grand Prismatic Spring is also impressive – it is so big that you can never take a picture without using a panoramic setting or a fisheye lens! When visiting Yellowstone, be sure to stop at Grand Prismatic Spring – you won’t be disappointed.

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15. Mammoth Hot Springs – Mammoth

Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Mammoth Hot Springs is an unusual water source in northwestern Yellowstone. The warm water carries the sediment from the ancient rock, resulting in the terraced landscapes created by travertine limestone.

The terraced terra-cotta limestones and travertine welcome visitors to Mammoth Hot Springs. Floating water cascades down the colorful Minerva Terrace, producing a soothing waterfall effect.

There is extreme heat under the earth’s surface that creates geothermal gas. This gas rises through the soil and causes it to sputter. Many gases dissolve readily in warm water, forming acid solutions. Mammoth Hot Springs is a fascinating illustration of geothermal activity that is well worth seeing while visiting Yellowstone.

best geyser, Mammoth Hot Springs
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Things to Know About Geysers & Hot Springs

What causes Geysers to erupt?

Geysers are formed when hot water and steam become trapped below the earth’s surface. As the water and steam heat up, they rise towards the surface. They burst through barriers and erupt into the air when they reach a certain point.

How often do Geysers erupt?

The frequency of geyser eruptions can vary greatly. Some geysers, like Old Faithful, erupt on a fairly regular schedule. Others may only erupt once every few years.

What is the difference between a Geyser and a Hot Spring?

Geysers are actually a type of hot spring. However, what sets them apart is the fact that they erupt periodically. On the other hand, hot springs are simply pools of water heated by underground heat sources.

Are Geysers and Hot Springs safe to swim in?

Many hot springs worldwide are safe to swim in, but many are not. Taking a dip in some hot springs can end in life-changing injury or death – do your research before putting on your trunks and bikinis!

As far as swimming in geysers is concerned, don’t. You will 100% end up dead and forever ridiculed for being the geezer stupid enough to try and swim in a geyser.

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Which Yellowstone Geyser is Your Favorite?

With more than 10,000 geothermal features, Yellowstone is truly a sight to behold. And what’s even more incredible is that nearly 500 of those geothermal features are geysers.

These are just a few of the best Yellowstone geysers to see. So if you’re interested in seeing some of the most impressive geysers in the world, be sure to add Yellowstone to your travel list.

Looking to see more geysers or other natural world wonders in the world? Subscribe to our free travel newsletter for our favorite travel tips for destinations worldwide.

FAQs

Is Yellowstone the only place in the world with geysers?

No, there are geysers located all around the world. However, Yellowstone is home to more than half of the world’s geysers. In addition, Yellowstone is one of the few places where geysers can be observed and enjoyed daily.

What are the biggest geysers in Yellowstone?

Norris Geyser Basin is one of the biggest geyser basins in Yellowstone. And in Norris Geyser Basin, the Steamboat Geyser is the biggest. It’s so big that its biggest eruption can produce water over 300 feet high.

Steamboat Geyser is the Yellowstone geyser that has risen to prominence recently, thanks to its tremendous power. Water from Steamboat Geyser can reach temperatures of up to 204 degrees Celsius during its biggest eruptions.

How many geysers does Yellowstone have?

Yellowstone contains over 10,000 hydrothermal features and about 500 geysers, approximately half of the world’s total geysers. Yellowstone also features some of the planet’s most active geysers.

How often do geysers erupt in Yellowstone?

The world-famous geyser Old Faithful in Yellowstone erupts every 50 to 120 minutes with high predictability. These eruptions may be anticipated in ten minutes, based on duration and height, making this the tallest predictable geyser in the world.

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