Refresher: we left Inspiration Point so that my parents could see some of Yellowstone before they flew back to Austin. So we drove out of Grand Teton National Park and into Yellowstone National Park to see the world-famous geyser, Old Faithful, about a short 2 hour drive away.
Yellowstone National Park
The famous geyser was a fun sight to behold. Old Faithful spouts water around 180 feet into the air every 90 minutes or so and we arrived just in time to park, grab four chocolate ice cream cones from Old Faithful Lodge and then find a spot on the boardwalk to watch 8000 gallons of water erupt from the ground. It was like being a kid again.
There are several good locations to see Old Faithful erupt. The boardwalk is up-close but it gets pretty crowded so you’ll want to stake out a spot around 10-15 minutes before it’s due to erupt. Or you can watch it from nearby Biscuit Basin Trail and Overlook, or just watch it from a distance. You’ll probably see it erupt several times in the span of your visit while you walk around the boardwalk looking at other geysers.
Old Faithful Lodge Cabins
After we had dropped my parents off at Jackson Hole airport, Sam and I headed to Yellowstone alone. Which we quickly realized wouldn’t be as fun sans the folks. Hiking anywhere in Yellowstone without more than two people feels almost as if you are tempting the wild to show you what it’s got…
We stayed in the Old Faithful Cabins literally a short walk from the Old Faithful geyser and boardwalk. The cabins are a budget friendly stay, especially if you get the cabins without bathrooms inside the room like we did. There were community bathrooms in the middle of the cabin campgrounds, but I wasn’t walking anywhere in the middle of the night! A few of the cabins do have bathrooms in them, you just have to ask about them when you are booking as I’m sure they fill up fast.
The cabins are basically a bed and a sink and a wall between you and any lurking animals. But they honestly aren’t bad. They were cozy and it almost feels like you’re visiting a different era in time.
The night that Sam and I were there we decided to take a dusk stroll through the boardwalk as the sun was setting and it was gorgeous! The sky was a shade of pink and purple and the smoke from the geysers was illuminated by the sunset. We thought we might catch a glimpse of wildlife since dusk is when the animals get active again and we were told that the Bison love Geyser Country.
By the time we circled around the boardwalk the stars were out and the sky was bright and gorgeous! We sat for a little while and watched a coyote hunting in the field, but that was the only thing we saw that night.
In 1942 however, a woman was walking back to her Old Faithful Cabin at night and was mauled by a bear when she probably startled it walking through the campground. And then 30 years later in 1972, two men were illegally camped up the hillside, probably somewhere near the Biscuit Basin trail. They were walking back to their campsite at night from the boardwalk when they startled a female grizzly and one man was mauled.
The animals are definitely out there, which is why it’s a good idea to always carry your bear spray! The cabin Sam and I stayed in sat on the very outer edge of the camp where it meets the forest, so my awareness was always heightened. No midnight bathroom trips for me.
Old Faithful Inn
While you are in Geyser Country you’ll want to stop into the Old Faithful Inn, if you aren’t staying there, to admire the log work. The inn was built in the early 1900’s and is still considered “the largest log structure in the world.” The size and detail of the lobby is definitely impressive! Grab a coffee or a glass of wine and sit in front of the massive fireplace and relax.
Grand Prismatic Spring
Sam and I decided that we wouldn’t be doing any back country hiking since my parents had left. We were supposed to spend one more night in lower yellowstone and then spend two nights in upper yellowstone, but we decided to head in the direction of home the next day (after our first night in Old Faithful Cabins). But before we left we went to check out Grand Prismatic Spring which is the largest and deepest hot spring in the park. It’s also the most notable because of the vibrant colorful rings around it. Try and get there early to beat the crowds that start to pile up around 10:30-11am.
The ONE thing we regret not doing was driving up a little further to Hayden Valley before we left because that is the one place you are pretty much guaranteed to see grizzlies and wolves in action. We had planned to get up at dawn and drive to the Hayden Valley Overlook, but of course we slept in! We had been doing a lot of walking up to that point and it was hard to get out of bed, but we probably should have gone there anyway. So make sure you check it out if you’re planning a trip to Yellowstone! Beware hiking or camping in Hayden Valley. Sam’s bear attack book has a lot of stories (most of them it seems like) oriented around Hayden Valley.
After the Grand Prismatic Spring we headed back to the Tetons and stayed in Jackson Lake Lodge, which you can read about in the last post if you missed it!
Hope everyone is having a great week 🙂