Firehole River, Yellowstone National Park

The Firehole River is located in northwestern Wyoming, and is one of the two major tributaries of the Madison River. It flows north approximately 21mi from its source in Madison Lake on the Continental Divide to join the Gibbon River at Madison Junction in Yellowstone National Park. It is part of the Missouri River system.DescriptionThe Firehole River flows through several significant geyser basins in the park to include the Upper Geyser Basin, which contains the world-famous geyser Old Faithful. The river was named by early trappers for the steam that makes it appear to be smoking as if on fire.The Firehole flows over three of Yellowstone's major waterfalls: Kepler Cascades south of Old Faithful, Firehole Falls and the Cascades of the Firehole in Firehole Canyon.The river is surrounded by geothermal features which empty water into it. One effect of the input of this water is to increase the temperature of the water. Temperatures in the river have been measured as high as 30°C and average 5 to 10 °C (9 to 18 °F) higher than areas upstream of geothermal influence.Water entering the river from geothermal features contains dissolved chemicals and minerals. Levels of boron and arsenic have been found to be above the standard limits for protection of aquatic organisms. Despite these levels, brown and rainbow trout live and spawn in the river.
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  • This river runs along the Grand Loop Road between Madison Junction and Old Faithful on the west side of the park. It has a swimming hole along Firehole Canyon Drive.  more »
  • There are several beautiful places on the Firehole. In the north, the mouth of the river is where it joins up with the Madison River (near the confluence of the Gibbon River) and you can take the Fire...  more »
  • This river, like so much of the park, is extraordinarily scenic. On a recent visit to the park, we enjoyed so much watching people fishing the river with bison rambling around them. My sense is that y...  more »

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