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upper geyser basin/bechler region questions

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upper geyser basin/bechler region questions

Okay so me and my husband are going to YS june 7th-13th. I was wondering those of you who were by old faithful and did the upper geyser basin walk/dayhike how good is it? I have the book yellowstone treasures and saw a big map of quite a few springs/geysers on that walk and am wondering how long it takes? Is it a whole day hike? Looks promising :) . Also I have looked into going to the bechler region in one of our last days before leaving out the south entrance. I hear there's many waterfalls but how trecherous is that ride and how accessible is it? Were renting a car and can't mess it up to much is this worth the stop?? I know yellowstone is a world all in its own and I'm open to suggestions. My mans not as into itenarary planning as I am but I know there's things we can't miss! Thanks! :)

Houston, Texas
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1. Re: upper geyser basin/bechler region questions

Bechler is more of a challenge yo get to. From The west you have to drive 10 miles of gravel road. From the east 35 miles that requires a high clearance 4wd. The most rental car agencies these days have clauses limiting usage to paved roads.

Bechler is a hiking destination. Not a car touring destination. You go to where the Ranger Station is and hike in to see the sights.

Edited: 14 April 2013, 05:49
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2. Re: upper geyser basin/bechler region questions

Hmmm bechler sounds so cool though but might be out of reach this 2nd time around. Any cool hikes u can suggest...we aren't trying to stay in the car or just see things driving but also can't take the crappy roads with it lol

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3. Re: upper geyser basin/bechler region questions

As far as how much time a walk around the Upper Geyser Basin takes...well I guess I would say it depends. If you stop to watch eruptions and look at things, I would say half a day at least. Many of us can spend several days in that area, others not so much. You can also do part of it, head back to a General Store for lunch, then spend several more hours in the basin.

For instance, if you get there just after Old Faithful erupts, it may be up to 90 minutes or so before it goes again. You can start thru the basin, you can explore the Visitor Center, you can watch the movie there, you can shop, you can go get ice cream, you might be able to do a Ranger walk or you can relax on one of the benches and wait. Then you might walk down toward Riverside Geyser and decide to wait 20 minutes there plus another 20 for the complete eruption plus a half an hour to get there....

Pam

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Upper Geyser Basin
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4. Re: upper geyser basin/bechler region questions

We were there last august for the first time and did that walk at about 545 AM.....we thought " We will be back in about an hour" ...LOL over 3 3-1/2 hours later did we return!!!! Its NOT that it is a difficult walk, we were in such awe of everything. It is other worldly, especially at that time in the morning. Its great because no one is around. Its dark and things are gurgling and bubbling.......I AM GIDDY just thinking about it. Also I am an avid picture taker.....so that in it self toook forever!!! But we LOVED it!!

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5. Re: upper geyser basin/bechler region questions

We really liked the upper geyser basin and spent hours just wandering around the boardwalks, going wherever the action was. I wouldn't even consider it a hike per se because we spent so much time stopping to watch geysers, and then back tracking to watch other geysers. But other people might just watch Old Faithful once and be done;-). So it really depends on how "into" the geysers you are.

We didn't do the Bechler region, and probably won't this upcoming trip either. It sounds interesting though! I doesn't seem to get mentioned much on this forum.

Edited: 14 April 2013, 14:17
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6. Re: upper geyser basin/bechler region questions

You will want to check in at the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center when you get to the OF area. Get the brochure with map (50 cents) and write down the prediction times. Plan your route from that. THere will most likely be geyser gazers that can answers questions hanging around a geyser that is predicted to go soon. Be polite, and most are friendly and if they recommend you stay- I recommend you stay! If you want a longer hike out of the Upper basin- go all the way to Black Sand Basin (trail past Daisy, listen to the thumping at Black Sand Pool) and Biscuit Basin (trail past Morning Glory). From Biscuit Basin, you can go on to Mystic Falls. Do the Observation Point loop, catching Old Faithful from there. As always, trail conditions should be checked out with the Rangers, have bear spray and water.

Bechler region is a wetter area, so not recommended usually until mid-July or later. It is not mentioned much, because it is an area better left for experienced YNP hikers, definitely not an easy hike, or for a family on a weeks vacation wanting to see the sights.

Depending on your interests, there are other hikes that may interest you to replace your Bechler stop. Where are you spending the night before?

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7. Re: upper geyser basin/bechler region questions

I always recommend doing the ranger-led Geyser Hill walk that starts at 8:30 AM at the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center. It is a great introduction to the Upper Geyser Basin and even though I've done it on every visit to the park since I was a child, I still enjoy learning something new from the ranger leading the walk.

If you have time, take the hike up to Observation Point. It gives a whole new perspective on the area. Watching an eruption of Old Faithful or Beehive from up there is quite amazing. If you continue on the loop you pass by Solitary Geyser on the hill above the Upper Geyser Basin. While still a busy trail, we had a ranger warn us of a bear in the area of Solitary Geyser last spring so bear spray is recommended or tag along with a group that has bear spray with them.

Wandering around the UGB on your own to catch eruptions of Daisy, Riverside, Grand, Beehive and Castle geysers is another way to enjoy the thermal features of the area. The evening (5:30PM) Geyser Discovery Stroll is another ranger-led walk that takes in features at the north end of the geyser basin.

The spring 2013 guide to ranger-led walks in the park will be published in May. You can look at last year's schedule at this page on the official NPS web site:

www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/rangerprog.htm

A site that I like for information, maps and photos is americansouthwest.net Here are some links to information about the Upper Geyser Basin:

americansouthwest.net/wyoming/yellowstone/up…

americansouthwest.net/wyoming/yellowstone/up…

The drive to the Bechler region is best done via the west entrance and Highway 20. Grassy Lake Road from the Flagg Ranch area by the South Entrance is long, rough and either really muddy or really dusty so I don't recommend it for a casual drive.

As noted above, part of the drive to the Bechler Ranger Station is on a dirt road but it is not a 4-wheel drive road, just a country back road. Last spring we spent a day exploring the area and enjoyed it very much. We drove from our cabin at Old Faithful down through Ashton, ID and on to the Bechler Ranger Station. After a nice chat with the ranger on duty we drove to see Cave Falls, where we had lunch at the picnic area overlooking the falls. The cave at Cave Falls collapsed a few years ago but the falls are impressive.

We then hiked up the river to see Bechler Falls. This is another hike that requires bear spray. On the way back to West Yellowstone we drove via Highway 47, the Mesa Falls Scenic Byway. The bonus stops were to see the Lower and Upper Mesa Falls on Henry's Fork of the Snake River. You seldom hear about these waterfalls in any Yellowstone forums but they are quite beautiful. There is an extensive walkway/stairway system at the Upper Mesa Falls to view the falls.

A stop at a car wash and dinner in West Yellowstone topped off our day of exploring a part of the park that very few visitors ever get to see.

Edited: 14 April 2013, 17:28
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8. Re: upper geyser basin/bechler region questions

Yeah bechlers off the list for this time. Any other cool waterfall spots?? We have 7 days and want to see a lot of stuff. I definitely plan on doing some of the upper geyser basin trail (4 hrs isn't too bad) were buyin a new camara so there's going to be lots of stop and go I guess. Also wondering what we should see in mammoth as well and any hikes that are awesome and definitely interested in the baby wildlife...flowers...sunrises/sunsets. Last year we only got to do the south area so this time were trying to include a liittle of everything

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9. Re: upper geyser basin/bechler region questions

Taking your suggestion about observation point and the geyser hill walk. We are definitely bringing bear spray as well...safety first :) bechler sounds cool but rented car kind of destroys that...someday I will go there though!

West Yellowstone...
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10. Re: upper geyser basin/bechler region questions

I often find that I have an impulse to hit the "like" button when I'm reading a post. D0bby, that is an excellent summary and webbsue, you have made me smile.

Bechler Region is on my list for this summer.