Yellow Bus and more

Yellowstone National Park Travel Blog

 › entry 6 of 13 › view all entries
Old Faithful

We started our day with a short hike on part of the Upper Geyser Basin, home to over 150 thermal features.  The first time I visited Yellowstone, I was surprised to discover that there were more geysers than Old Faithful.  Within a square mile of this famous attraction are four more major predictable geysers along with many smaller ones and hot springs.  Although we had seen Old Faithful erupt from the distance earlier, this morning we saw it from much closer although by surprise.  Old Faithful usually has about ninety minutes between eruptions; this time the interval was only a little over an hour.

Following the walk we boarded the Yellow Bus for the Firehole Tour.  Throughout its history, YNP has offered tours of the park to visitors.

falls on the Firehole River
  Before the era of the personal car, small buses with a capacity for about a dozen passengers opened the sights of the park up to travelers.  As more families brought their own personal vehicles to the park, the yellow buses were phased out of service, and in recent years the tours have been on larger buses.  This summer marked the return of the Yellow Bus; a variety of tours are being offered from three main locations in the park.  Our tour out of the Old Faithful area actually went as far north as Madison.  We drove around the Fountain Flats, Firehole Drive, and then were given the option of one of four geyser basins to walk around.  Because we were doing well on time, we got to see two of the basins: Midway (the one we got rained out of the day before) and Biscuit.
Mystic Falls

We encountered more rain after lunch, but once again it cleared up after a bit.  We took advantage of the improved weather to hike a little ways into the backcountry to see Mystic Falls.  Two paths lead out to this wider waterfall; one path is relatively level until right at the end, the other weaves up the mountainside before coming back down in front of the falls.  Since my mother is not a major hiker (and more rain clouds were in the area), we took the easier path which took us among some low rock faces, burnt areas, and new growth.  Our arrival to the falls was precluded by the appearance of a small grassy canyon to the left with a fast-running creek at the bottom.  While not the most amazing falls in the park (those are in the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone), Mystic Falls was a nice reward for our hiking efforts.

During the afternoon we also headed over to Black Sand Geyser Basin.  We drove here although it is within hiking distance of Old Faithful.  Several current features include Emerald Pool, Spouter Geyser, and Opalescent Pool.  A now dormant formation is Handkerchief Pool (unmarked).  In early park history visitors would drop their handkerchiefs in this hot spring which would suck the small cloths away but then return them a few minutes later, clean.  Unfortunately, this action harmed the pool greatly, another reminder of why such activities are now illegal.

After dinner at the Geyser Grill in the Snowlodge, we headed over to explore more of the Upper Geyser Basin.  We walked past Castle, Grotto, Riverside, Morning Glory pool, the Lion group, and more.  Although not in major eruption, Castle was putting on quite a show especially with its steam in the fading light.

We also spent part of the evening relaxing: ice cream from the deli and then sitting on a couch on the third floor balcony and listening to the piano player.

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Old Faithful
Old Faithful
falls on the Firehole River
falls on the Firehole River
Mystic Falls
Mystic Falls
Old Faithful Inn
Old Faithful Inn
chipmunk
chipmunk
Old Faithful (second eruption)
Old Faithful (second eruption)
Old Faithful (near end of eruption)
Old Faithful (near end of eruption)
the Yellow Bus
the Yellow Bus
White Dome Geyser
White Dome Geyser
at Excelsior
at Excelsior
Prismatic Pool
Prismatic Pool
Prismatic pool at Midway
Prismatic pool at Midway
on hike to Mystic Falls
on hike to Mystic Falls
wildflowers on hike to Mystic Falls
wildflowers on hike to Mystic Falls
Castle Geyser
Castle Geyser
Grotto Geyser
Grotto Geyser
Grotto Geyser again
Grotto Geyser again
Morning Glory pool
Morning Glory pool
Yellowstone National Park Sights & Attractions review
While Old Faithful is the most famous of Yellowstone's thermal features, the relatively-nearby Morning Glory Pool is a beauty in its own right with it… read entire review
Yellowstone National Park Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Geyser Grill offers over-the-counter service in a pleasant, clean setting. The food offerings are typical of the other quick eateries around the park… read entire review
Yellowstone National Park Sights & Attractions review
In 1916 Yellowstone National Park opened up to tourists in a brand-new style: small yellow buses carted visitors around the park. For over 50 years, … read entire review