The Grand Loop Road in Yellowstone is the main way to get to the attractions in the national park. This stretch from Madison Junction to the exit for the Old Faithful area is the most popular and has the most geyser basins.
Attractions in order from Madison Junction to Old Faithful
Firehole Canyon Drive with Firehole Falls
Firehole Canyon Drive is a one-way side road takes you past a small waterfall on the Firehole River and a swimming area. Large vehicles and RVs are restricted because of limited parking and a narrow road.
The Grand Loop Road follows the Firehole River for the first half of this leg. The river is a great spot for fishing, and you’ll see many fishermen wading and casting along your drive.
Chief Joseph Story
You’ll see a sign notating the Nez Perce tribe passed through this part of the park in the summer of 1877 during a conflict with the U.S. Army.
Fountain Flat Drive
This road leads to the Fountain Paint Pot Nature Trail, a trail that brings you past the bubbling fountain paint pots and other features of Yellowstone’s geothermal activity. It is one of the most active areas in the Lower Geyser Basin.
Firehole Lake Drive
Firehole Lake Drive, also in the Lower Geyser Basin, is a one-way side road that has multiple areas to pull over and park to view hot springs pools and geysers. Notable are White Dome Geyser and Firehole Lake. Large vehicles and RVs are restricted because of limited parking and a narrow road. As with most roads in Yellowstone that run near thermal features, this road goes through frequent repair.
Midway Geyser Basin
This geyser basin features the famous Grand Prismatic Hot Springs. Because of the its size and brilliant orange, yellow, and blue colors, it is one of the most photographed features in Yellowstone.
Fountain Freight Road Trailhead
From the parking lot, you cross a bridge and walk beside the Grand Prismatic Hot Spring to trailheads for the Grand Prismatic Overlook, Fairy Falls, Imperial Geyser, Goose Lake, Sentinel Meadows Trail, Ojo Caliente Spring Trail, and end at Fountain Flats Drive.
Exit to Old Faithful Area & Upper Geyser Basin
It sounds funny to have an “exit” inside a national park, but to get to the popular Old Faithful area, you need to take the off ramp to the right shown at the end of the video (at top). There you’ll find a visitor center, hotels, restaurants, and some of the most-walked boardwalks in Yellowstone.