Great Fountain Geyser boasts a certain beauty. Rimmed by terraced pools, it throws bursts of water all directions. But it’s a moody geyser. Its eruptions vary from ho-hum to spectacular.
Yellowstone’s Great Fountain Geyser splatters from a large vent. That plumbing creates giant superbursts, large blue bubbles, or smaller bursting shows. While water can spray up to 200 feet, many eruptions are much less than half that high. As an added bonus, the geyser sits in the Lower Geyser Basin on Firehole Lake Drive, away from Old Faithful crowds.
The prelude to Great Fountain’s eruption starts more than an hour in advance. First, water overflows several times from its vent. When boiling water appears, that signals the start of the eruption. The usual show, which can last an hour or two, consists of a series of bursts. Often, the biggest happens first. Each burst alternates with five-minute rests. In fall, sometimes the geyser continues spurting water for days. Afterwards, it takes a longer rest to return to its usual intervals.
The shows are predictable spring through fall. Rangers hone in on expected eruption times to within an hour or two. Quiet intervals between eruptions span 9-15 hours. Check in at Old Faithful Visitor Education Center for predicted eruption times or consult Yellowstone’s Geyser phone app.