The Old Faithful Inn is the iconic home of the world-famous geyser and a must-see attraction of any Yellowstone vacation.
The Inn was Designed by architect, Robert Reamer, and constructed in 1903 by a crew of more than 1,500 craftsman.
With running water and electricity, it was one of the most luxurious park hotels in its day.
When you walk into the lobby, you’ll be awestruck with its massive lodgepole pines and the larger-than-life lava stone fireplace.
The Old Faithful Inn seems to perfectly compliment its surroundings. With lobby area rocking chairs, the spacious dining room, Bear Claw ice cream parlor, the cozy fireplace seating area, the viewing deck, and much more…budget at least a few hours at this stop to take it all in.
We planned a meal and an overnight at the Inn which we all really enjoyed. During the day, we walked over to the Ranger Station and were educated by their fine staff of park rangers. This area of the park was by far the most crowded that we had seen in Yellowstone and I could see the crowd factor raising our collective family stress level (there were probably a thousand people in the few hundred yard area from the geyser viewing spots to the Inn lobby when we arrived to check-in!).
Thankfully, we had a great relaxing dinner in the Inn and by the time we re-emerged from the dining room, the crowds were gone! This was our family’s favorite time of the day there. We got some ice cream cones (you’ll notice this common thread on most of our vacations :-), and walked through the geyser hill area across the Firehole River.
We noticed that we had an hour before the next predicted eruption time for Old Faithful, so we decided to take the 20-minute walk up to Observation Point. What a view!
The pictures will never do areas like that justice. We saw a Marmot and baby on a log; had some enjoyable conversations with a family from England; and watched an evening Old Faithful show in an area like no other.
I imagine that this area (Observation point) looked a lot different during the afternoon at peak crowd levels, so it was nice to have the area relatively to ourselves in the evening. I’d definitely do that over again – well worth the walk!
Back at Old Faithful Inn, we enjoyed sitting on the Lobby’s rocking chairs, the fire in the fireplace, and the gift shop (of course). Across the parking lot there was a small convenience store where I was able to stock up our cooler with breakfast and lunch foods and gas up the van for the next day’s adventures.
While you can certainly enjoy the Inn’s ambiance without spending the night, I’d recommend seeing it in the evening for dinner, dessert, or a night cap drink on the viewing deck.
As for the Old Faithful geyser itself, it’s quite impressive. The rangers would predict eruption times that were approximately every 90 minutes. You could see the next predicted time in the lobby of the Inn or at the Ranger Station.
The eruption would go 120-130 feet in the air and last a full 3-5 minutes which is quite a show compared to its less punctual neighboring geysers. We’re told that each eruption spewed approximately 7,000 gallons (give or take) of 204-degree (F) water.
I know that our kids were (sadly) getting numb to all of Yellowstone’s amazing geothermal features…but Old Faithful sure woke them up!