Let’s talk Old Faithful! I have some fun family travel tips for this popular destination. We just got back from our family vacation road trip to Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. We drive from California, near San Francisco, all the way and back for a round trip of a 2,500 miles.
Our first day in Yellowstone we did Old Faithful and here are some tips:
- If you have kids with you I definitely recommend stopping in the Old Faithful Visitor Center to sign them up for the Young Scientist program. They get a little booklet to complete and get to borrow a backpack full of all these fun tools to help complete their work. At the end they earn a patch. It helps make the experience more interactive. My 6 year old loved it. Older kids can probably complete the work on their own, but I helped my daughter read the questions and figure out the problem. Throughout all of Yellowstone kids can also do the Junior Ranger program, but Old Faithful is the only place with the Young Scientist activity.
- Visit earlier in the day or later in the evening. There are less crowds.
- WEAR BUG REPELLENT! Especially at dusk. I was eaten alive by mosquitos. They are smaller and don’t look like mosquitos that I am use to, but they bit me right through my pants! My legs were covered in itchy bites.
- When you get to Old Faithful you will see some benches and large crowds, but the boardwalk goes all the way around the geyser, so continue walking to the right around Old Faithful and on the other side you can still view the geyser, but with less of a crowd. If the wind is blowing the right way you may even get a little misted.
- You will want to do the “boardwalk” path all the way around the Upper Geyser basin. There are so many cool things to look at including hot springs, geysers, and mud pots.
- The Old Faithful area has 2 General Stores where you can get snacks, gas, and souvenirs. There are also 2 hotels in the area, the Old Faithful Inn, which is the historic old wood one, and the Old Faithful Snow Lodge, which is newer and you can buy Wifi in the lobby.
- If you are in the area of Old Faithful and not spending the night there you will want to at least visit the lobby of the Old Faithful Inn. It is truly amazing. You can read my post more about the Old Faithful Inn here.
- Old Faithful isn’t the only geyser you can watch erupt, it is just the most consistent from what I was told.
- FYI, you will be hard pressed for cell service in most of Yellowstone and Wifi is few and far between, so be prepared. Set a plan with your family just incase you get separated to meet at a specific location and time.
- Old Faithful erupts about every 60-90 minutes. In the visitor center they post when the next eruption will be +/- 10 min, so you will have a general idea of when to watch.
Have you visited Old Faithful?