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Firehole Lake Drive - Yellowstone National Park

Firehole Lake Drive is a 2-mile (3 km) drive that passes geysers, hot lakes, hot springs—even a hot cascade.
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 3.7 miles
Duration: Less than 1 hour
Family Friendly

Overview :  From Fountain Paint Pot, drive 1.2 mile (2 km) south (toward Old Faithful) to Firehole Lake Drive. Firehole Lake Drive is a one-way... more »

Tips:  Hydrothermal features are fragile rarities of nature. Yellowstone preserves the largest collection of hydrothermal features on the... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Firehole Spring

To see Firehole Spring, stop at the first long pullout on your left. Early explorers thought the large bubbles looked like flashes of light—hence the origin of the spring's name.

2. Surprise Pool

At the next parking area, view Surprise Pool. Early visitors threw sand in the pool to cause "surprise" boiling. Luckily their behavior caused no permanent damage, and you can still enjoy the deep blue color and wide intricate overhangs of sinter.

3. Great Fountain Geyser

Whether Great Fountain Geyser is in eruption or not, you will see why the early explorers were so enthusiastic about this geyser's beauty. Eruptions average 100 feet (31 m) high, but some visitors are rewarded with rare "superbursts" of 200 feet (61 m) or more. Eruptions last 45-60 minutes in a series of bursts. Great Fountain takes 10-14 hours to... More

4. White Dome Geyser

The massive cone of White Dome Geyser indicates it has probably been erupting for hundreds of years. From such an enormous cone one might expect enormous eruptions. However, its narrow vent has been nearly sealed off with sinter deposits. Eruptions reach a height of approximately 30 feet (9 m)- the height of the entire cone. The eruption lasts... More

5. Pink Cone Geyser

In the 1930s, a road was built right across the mound of Pink Cone Geyser. Fortunately this seems to have had little effect on the geyser's performance.

No record of Pink Cone erupting exists until 1887. From 1889 to 1936, it seemed to be dormant; then for the next 23 years, it erupted approximately every two days. After the Hebgen Lake... More

6. Firehole Lake

The largest hot spring in this area, Firehole Lake, lies to your right as you enter the large parking area. Several vents supply water that averages 158°F (70°C). The water contains high levels of carbon dioxide. This allows the water to transport more calcium, which forms deposits of travertine around the lake's edge and in pearly deposits around... More

7. Young Hopeful Geyser

Along the shore of this hot lake, Young Hopeful splashes almost continuously up to 2 ft (0.6 m). Other small geysers beyond this feature splash water up to 10 ft (3 m).

8. Artesia Geyser

Artesia is a perpetual geyser that is never stops ejecting water from at least one of its two cones, usually no more than 5 ft (1.5 m). One vent is angeled toward the boardwalk that passes the geyser and the other is angled toward the Firehole River.

During a period in 1999, one of the cones jetted to a distance of 12 ft (3.7 m) while the other... More

9. Steady Geyser

The waters across the parking lot have other surprises. Walking counterclockwise, you'll see Steady Geyser. Its mineral deposits contain calcium carbonate (appearing as travertine), silica (appearing as siliceous sinter), and manganese oxide, which causes a gray color.

A geyser within a lake: while a geyser within another body of water is not... More

10. Black Warrior Lake

Manganese oxide also accounts for the dark color of Black Warrior Lake.

11. Hot Lake

12. Hot Cascades

As the boardwalk reaches the end of this pool, you'll cross Hot Cascades, a steaming fall of water from Black Warrior into Hot Lake.