When a person thinks of Yellowstone, they immediately think of one of two things: the hit TV show, or the park and, by extension, Old Faithful. While the reliable geyser has given Yellowstone quite the reputation for those who wish to see its timely eruptions, it's not the only geyser in the park. In fact, it's arguable that Old Faithful is not even the most impressive geyser in Yellowstone!

With this national park being one of the most visited in the country, it's hard to believe that there are still some backcountry areas that are devoid of crowds on many days. However, a trek to one of the park's lesser-known - but equally as impressive - geysers will prove that this much is, in fact, true.


When visiting Yellowstone, be sure to also visit the Lone Star Geyser.

What Makes The Yellowstone Lone Star Geyser So Impressive?

Whereas Old Faithful is often marked by the number of crowds that make their way to it, the Lone Star Geyser is a bit off the beaten path. Though the trail is still under three miles, it sits in a remote part of Yellowstone referred to as the backcountry. The Lone Star Geyser sits on one of four of these backcountry basins, and there are other geysers throughout the park. However, none of them can claim the 12-foot-height that Lone Star does.

The geyser itself has a cone that reaches a total height of 12 feet, which means that it can spray water to astounding heights of 50 feet.

  • Fact: For comparison, Old Faithful has been known to spout water up to 130 feet into the air.

The geyser shoots off water roughly every 30 minutes, and it's during this hour-long performance that visitors are usually captivated by its nature. A hiker can count on at least one major geyser eruption, which is often preceded by 'mini' eruptions between which there will be absolute silence. The Lone Star Geyser's remote setting only adds to the anticipation, which, of course, includes all the sounds one might expect in the middle of remote woodland.

  • Pro Tip: Look for the logbook that rangers have left for hikers - it will help newcomers figure out the approximate time of the next major eruption. Those who have come and witnessed one are also encouraged to write the date and time so that the next hikers to the area can figure out how long they'll need to wait.

Related: Nevada's Rainbow Fly Geyser Isn't Open To The Public, But Here's How To See It

Hiking Through Yellowstone To The Lone Star Geyser

The trail itself that leads to the Lone Star Geyser is only about two and a half miles one-way. Those visiting just for the geyser will be able to park near Grand Loop Road, which is only two miles south of Old Faithful Village. This will be easily recognizable thanks to its close proximity to the Firehole River and the Kepler Cascades, which can be seen from the parking lot. Therefore, just parking near the geyser trail starts off with a bang as hikers are privy to the incredible sight of these whitewater falls.

The beginning of the trail is fairly wide as it was once a vehicle trail, so it's easy-going for the first mile or so.

  • Fact: This part of the trail is also open to bikes.

After the first mile, the trail does get slightly steeper as it's flanked by sloping valleys on either side. In the distant clearings, hikers will be able to see small pools and vents in the lodgepole pine tree clearing. Overall, the hike is not overly strenuous and could be rated as easy to moderate.

Those who are able to see pockets of steam rising from the ground should note that these are in conjunction with the Firehole River, which is a beautiful sight from the Lone Star Trail on a sunny day. Hikers should also take in the views from the bridge, which provides views in both directions about a half-mile into the hike.

When hikers are near the Lone Star Geyser, they'll know by the change in environment. The ground goes from dirt to white silica, from which point hikers can descend into the geyser basin. The nearer hikers get to the geyser, the more attention they should pay to the well-traveled parts of the trail; it's important not to stray from it. The thermal features around the geyser are often incredibly hot and one wrong step can land a person - literally - in boiling water. These small thermal pools are also home to microorganisms that are crucial to the geyser's ecosystem, so it's important to pay attention to one's step overall.

The Cycle Of Lone Star Geyser

  • Total Cycle Length: ~ 3 hours
  • Major Geyser Eruption Height: Up to 50 feet, for as long as 20 minutes
  • Minor Geyser Eruption Height: Up to 15-20 feet, about 45 minutes before the major eruption
  • Total Hike Time: 2-4 hours, including the wait time of the geyser's eruptions

Old Faithful might be the most impressive geyser in Yellowstone, but Lone Star genuinely does hold its own. With a cone height that towers 12 feet in the air and an additional 50 feet of geyser spray, this three-hour-spectacle is one that's worth hiking for.

Next: Why Everyone Should Visit The Geyser Wonderland of El Tatio