Old Faithful Area Day Hikes in Yellowstone National Park

Hiking at Yellowstone is a great way to explore the beauty of this large National Park. Here’s a list of Old Faithful area day hikes in Yellowstone: hike length, difficulty, trailhead location, and important things to know.

This Yellowstone National Park travel guide also includes important things like what to pack, where to stay, and other things to do on your vacation.

Day hikes near Old Faithful in Yellowstone

Old Faithful is an iconic geyser that was discovered in 1870 by the Washburn Expedition. This geyser is located along the Yellowstone National Park Southern Loop in the Upper Geyser Basin.

Being one of the most spectacular hydrothermal features globally, the Old Faithful is almost constantly an in-demand sighting for first-time visitors. Check out this list of hikes in the Old Faithful area to see a variety of hot pools, geysers, and waterfalls!

Use our Yellowstone National Park Packing List to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for hiking any time of year! Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!

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Best Time of Year for Hiking at Yellowstone

If you plan to do any hiking, there are definite best times to visit Yellowstone National Park for exploring the trails.

Many Yellowstone hiking trails can be wet and muddy during the spring and early summer months. Snow may linger on higher elevation trails until July. Make sure you have waterproof hiking shoes to handle wet trail conditions.

Old Faithful Area Day Hikes in Yellowstone

The Old Faithful Area also has several incredible day hikes to explore waterfalls, hot pools, and geysers. You’ll find quite a few of the easy hikes in Yellowstone National Park in this area.

This list of day hikes in the Old Faithful Area of Yellowstone provide all the details and highlighted features you need to know before setting out!

We recommend you check the Yellowstone backcountry situation report for the most up-to-date information on park trails.

You’ll be exploring the Yellowstone wilderness on many hikes in this park so be prepared and pack all essentials needed for the hike:

View from Observation Point over Old Faithful Yellowstone
Observation Point

Observation Point Trail

  • Hike length: 1.6 miles round trip
  • Time required: 1 to 3 hours 
  • Hike difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead Location: Walk 0.3 miles from the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center, go counter-clockwise along the Old Faithful Boardwalk and turn right at the Geyser Hill sign. Proceed to the path below and find the trailhead located after the Firehole River.

The Observation Point Trail climbs 230 feet to provide expansive views of the Old Faithful area.

Did you know Old Faithful erupts between 106 and 184 feet lasting between 1.5 to 5 minutes!? The approximate interval between eruptions is 60 to 110 minutes. If you have the time, plan to view Old Faithful from ground level and again from above!

You can also add 0.9 miles to the hike by continuing west to Solitary Geyser, that erupts frequently, then down to the Geyser Hill boardwalk and back to the trailhead.

Fairy Falls at Yellowstone National Park
Fairy Falls

Fairy Falls Trail

  • Hike length: 5.4 miles round trip
  • Time required: 3 to 5 hours 
  • Hike difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead Location: Park at the Fairy Falls Parking Lot, a mile away from the south of Midway Geyser Basin. 

NOTES: The Fairy Falls Trail opens in late May due to Bear Management Area closures – carry bear spray! Parking is very limited – RV’s, buses, and cars pulling trailers are not permitted to park here.

The is one of the Old Faithful trails that rewards you with one of the best Yellowstone waterfalls that is 200 feet high! This trail takes you to both Fairy Falls and Grand Prismatic Overlook. Take the trail to the right to see the waterfall.

Along the way, you will pass through a forest filled with lodgepole pines with a slight incline. Once you reach the waterfall, you can continue another 0.6 miles to Spray and Imperial geysers, which adds 1.2 miles to the hike.

You can also access the Fairy Falls trail at the end of Fountain Flat Drive. It makes the hike 10 miles round trip so keep that in mind!

View from the Grand Prismatic Overlook at Yellowstone
Grand Prismatic

Grand Prismatic Overlook Trail

  • Hike length: 1.2 miles round trip
  • Time required: 1 to 2 hours 
  • Hike difficulty: Easy 
  • Trailhead Location: The Grand Prismatic Overlook Trailhead is located in Midway Geyser Basin’s south area at the Fairy Falls Parking Lot. 

NOTES: Trail opens in late May due to Bear Management Area closure – carry bear spray! Parking is very limited – RV’s, buses, and cars pulling trailers are not permitted to park here.

The Grand Prismatic Overlook Trail is a must-do Yellowstone hike. It offers a stunning vantage point of the vibrant-colored Grand Prismatic Spring. Remember this trail takes you to both Fairy Falls and Grand Prismatic Overlook. Take the trail to the left to reach the overlook platform.

Morning is the best time to avoid the crowds and grab a parking spot, but the spring can be covered with steam due to the cooler morning temperatures.

In order to get the iconic photograph of Grand Prismatic, the colors are most vibrant midday on a sunny day.

Lone Star Geyser (Photo Credit: NPS/Neal Herbert)

Howard Eaton Trail (Old Faithful Area) 

  • Hike length: 6.3 miles round trip
  • Time required: 3 to 5 hours 
  • Hike difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead Location: Drive south on U.S. Highway 89 and look for a pedestrian crosswalk. Find the Howard Eaton sign on the road’s south side. As you see the trailhead, turn left and look for a brown sign on the trail. The opposite direction will lead you to a different destination.

The Howard Eaton Trail in the Old Faithful Area is an out-and-back trail that climbs into a burned hill and remains flat on the way to Lone Star geyser. Along the way, the trail is surrounded by a spruce-fir forest.

Be aware of bear activity and carry bear spray

The Howard Eaton Trail is home to abundant wildlife and thriving vegetation varieties, making it full of life. It is one of the most isolated trails in Yellowstone National Park too. 

Sentinel Meadows at Yellowstone
Sentinel Meadows (Photo Credit: NPS)

Sentinel Meadows & Queen’s Laundry Trail

  • Hike length: 3.8 miles round trip
  • Time required: 2 to 4 hours 
  • Hike difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead Location: At the end of Fountain Flats Drive, park your vehicle. Cross the bridge over the Firehole River to locate the trailhead. 

If you are a fan of getting away from the crowds, the Sentinel Meadows & Queen’s Laundry Trail is perfect for you. It starts as flat and easy as you hike away from the Firehole River. Soon you will notice the soil turning into white, which is indicative of the geothermal features or activities in the area. 

NOTE: Hiking off-trail in the hydrothermal areas is not permitted.

Lone Star Geyser Yellowstone National Park
Lone Star Geysser

Lone Star Geyser Trail

  • Hike length: 4.8 miles round trip
  • Time required: 2 to 3 hours 
  • Hike difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead Location: The Lone Star Geyser Trailhead is located 3 miles south of Old Faithful Geyser, beyond Kepler Cascades Parking Lot. 

The Lone Star Geyser is a cone geyser that erupts approximately every three hours up to 45 feet high.

This partially paved trail follows an old service road along the Firehole River. Biking is also permitted on the Lone Star Geyser Trail. At the end of the paved portion, you’ll need to dismount and walk the last few hundred feet.

The remoteness of this hike is also one of the reasons why it is unique. For people who want to escape the larger crowds, this hike is a perfect adventure. 

Mystic Falls at Yellowstone
Mystic Falls

Mystic Falls Trail

  • Hike length: 2.4 miles round trip
  • Time required: 2 to 4 hours 
  • Hike difficulty: Easy to Moderate 
  • Trailhead Location: At the south side of Biscuit Basin, park in pullouts and walk 0.5 miles north along the Upper Geyser Basin to Biscuit Basin Trail.  

The Mystic Falls Trail passes by several thermal features, including Sapphire Pool, which is an impressive thermal feature.

At two-thirds of a mile hikers will reach the Fairy Creek Trail junction. Though you can proceed to the falls in either direction, the left fork is the easiest and most direct route to Mystic Falls.

We recommend that you continue climbing up the trail to reach the plateau above to get a closer and much better view of this beautiful Yellowstone waterfall.

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One Comment

  1. Our family visit Yellowstone and had a great time. Enjoyed Old Faithful, Grand Prismatic, Waterfalls, and more. There is so much to see and everyone should adventure there. We did not witness a bear, but we saw the other wildlife, bison, moose and others. I did try my first bison burger, very good and rich.

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