Observation point packs a knockout punch when it comes to a great overall view. We lined up with hundreds of other tourists minutes before Old Faithful was set to blow...
Stuck like fizz in a can of shook up soda, children, parents, and grandparents sat around the rim of the famous geyser waiting for their hopes to explode.
As luck would have it, Randi and I were headed away from the heat of the crowds. Pass tour buses with drivers without licenses, pass the kid who cursed out his brother and the family about to leave that kid behind, (hope he was ready to walk) we found the trail on the other side of the boardwalk. Up the summit, we passed maybe 5 other people on the way. The view made all the difference in the world. Old Faithful, along with a number of other famous geysers, stretched before our eyes like the “Disneyland” of National parks. (1)
HistoryBack in 1932, locals named this spot because of the way it overlooked the entire plane below. 2 Some believe the name came into play 15 years before this. Either way, the reason for the name obviously stands out. I just wish someone could have used a little more creative juice in finding the name—Old Faithful’s Hunchback, anyone?
Driving DirectionsFollow the signs to Old Faithful. From the West Entrance, turn right at Madison Junction and drive 18 miles south until you hit Old Faithful’s parking lot. For turn-by-turn directions from Google Maps click here.
The TrailOnce you reach the boardwalk, walk counter-clockwise (E) until you pass the Yellowstone Lodge, minus the pretty girl.
|Randi in front of Yellowstone Lodge|
|Map of Old Faithful area|
|Randi & I near Firehole River|
Now, this next step is very important. At the base of the 200 feet Observation Point this beauty of a sign pops up. Walk .1 miles to the top. (Or in the case of bears, run faster than the slowest person in your group.)
|Sign at base of Observation Point|
|View from the top (no photoshop)|
In .3 miles you hit the temperamental Solitary Geyser. When I say temperamental, I mean teenage girl throwing a fit because she can’t find her cell phone and her boyfriend just texted her kinda temperamental.
|Solitary Geyser (the one some dude created with a pipe)|
Walk another .3 miles until you meet back up with the Geyser Hill Loop Trail. You will see a sign that looks like the one below point you back up the hill from where you just came. (But don’t follow it, unless you really like retracing your steps and seeing the same things over and over again.)
Take a right at the fork in the boardwalk (W), and walk .4 miles to Sawmill Geyser. I promise all these crazy directions and places are worth your time. Just on the other side of the bridge sits Castle Geyser. Both Sawmill and Castle Geyser provide great views of nature at work. From the bridge back across the Firehole River, walk .75 miles to the parking lot to complete the loop.
Observation Point Trail Map