3 Geyser Adventures at Yellowstone
Yellowstone National Park is known for one type of natural feature more than any other: geysers. Half of the world's geysers are found within the park's boundaries. Most people who visit Yellowstone only see the geysers in the developed areas of the park, where you can find the park's famous geysers like Old Faithful and Riverside Geyser. Unfortunately for visitors, there can be large crowds in these developed areas of the park. However, visitors who want to see geysers in a more natural state are in luck: if you are willing to hike, you can visit many geysers in Yellowstone's backcountry. If you're up for an adventure, head to one of these three backcountry geyser basins on your next trip to Yellowstone.
1. Lone Star Geyser Basin
The closest backcountry geyser basin to the developed areas of the park is Lone Star Geyser Basin. The hike to Lone Star Geyser Basin begins just south of the Upper Geyser Basin (where you find Old Faithful). Following the Firehole River along an old road, the hike is relatively easy and is just over 5 miles out and
back, and it is open to mountain bikes. Lone Star Geyser Basin is home to four named geysers, including Lone Star Geyser, which gives the basin its name. Lone Star Geyser erupts every three hours at up to 50 feet tall. Because it is easily accessible, Lone Star Geyser Basin is the busiest of these three geyser adventures.
2. Heart Lake Geyser Basin
One of the earliest geyser basins at Yellowstone to be explored was Heart Lake Geyser Basin. Despite this early exploration, the park's roads passed it by and reaching Heart Lake Geyser Basin now requires significant effort. Because of its isolation, Heart Lake Geyser Basin is in pristine condition. The basin's most famous hydrothermal feature is not a geyser, though, but Columbia Pool, an azure hot spring that retains the beautiful colors many of those in the developed areas of the park have lost due to human influence.
3. Shoshone Geyser Basin
Shoshone Geyser Basin, on the shores of Shoshone Lake, is the largest of Yellowstone's backcountry geyser basins. Most people venturing to Shoshone Geyser Basin make it an overnight trip and camp nearby, but the ambitious can make it to and from the basin in a single day of hiking. For most of its known history, the largest feature in the basin was Union Geyser, but it went mostly dormant in the 1970s. Today, the most regular geyser in the basin is Minute Man Geyser, which erupts every one to three minutes at up to 40 feet tall. Unfortunately, the eruptions only last two to ten seconds (feel free to insert your own joke here).