Trip Planner: USA / Wyoming / Yellowstone National Park / Steamboat Geyser
Steamboat Geyser, in Yellowstone National Park's Norris Geyser Basin, is the world's tallest currently-active geyser. Steamboat Geyser has two vents, a northern and a southern, approximately 20 feet (6.1 m) apart. The north vent is responsible for the tallest water columns; the south vent's water columns are shorter.For Steamboat Geyser and beyond, use our Yellowstone National Park trip planner to get the most from your Yellowstone National Park vacation.
Prior to 1904, Waimangu Geyser, in New Zealand, had some taller eruptions capable of reaching 1,600 feet (490 m), but in 1904, a landslide changed the local water table, and since then, Waimangu has not erupted. Excelsior Geyser in Yellowstone's Midway Geyser Basin, and Semi-Centennial Geyser just north of Roaring Mountain on the Grand Loop Road were reported to be as tall as Steamboat, both with eruptions reaching 300 ft (91 m). However, Excelsior has not erupted since 1985, and now functions as a hot spring, and Semi-Centennial's one eruption of this height was reported in 1922 and it has been dormant since.
Steamboat's major eruptions generally last from 3 to 40 minutes (several durations surpassing an hour were observed during the 2018 active phase), and are followed by powerful jets of steam. During these eruptions, water may be thrown more than 300 feet (91 m) into the air. Steamboat does not erupt on a predictable schedule, with recorded intervals between major eruptions ranging from three days to fifty years. The geyser was dormant from 1911 to 1961. In 1964, twenty-nine eruptions were reported, setting the record for the most eruptions within a calendar year. In 2018, the geyser began a prolonged period of frequent activity lasting through at least 2022, with more than 40 eruptions recorded annually in both 2019 and 2020.
Minor eruptions of 10 to 15 feet (3.0 to 4.6 m) are much more frequent.
After an eruption, the geyser often vents large amounts of steam for up to 48 hours. Sometimes during this part of an eruption, water may return to Steamboat, causing it to jet water once again, though to lesser heights. Cistern Spring, located nearby, will drain completely following a major eruption of the geyser; the spring refills within a few days.
Steamboat Geyser reviews
Pretty geyser and you feel the spray as soon as you get into the parking lot. Short hike around the area. There are a few other hydrothermal features to see here too
Pretty geyser and you feel the spray as soon as you get into the parking lot. Short hike around the area. There are a few other hydrothermal features to see here too more »
The Steamboat Geyser was awesome!! Our family hung out waiting for the geyser to go off for awhile, even though we knew full well it wasn’t going to erupt. It was a very active geyser though, so it..... more
The Steamboat Geyser was awesome!! Our family hung out waiting for the geyser to go off for awhile, even though we knew full well it wasn’t going to erupt. It was a very active geyser though, so it..... more »
What an eruption! We heard it at least two miles away! This is the largest geyser in the world and you can see the big white cloud even while driving a few miles ahead. I recommend parking in the marked places on the road, as there is a fairly small parking lot, for which we waited for 10 minutes. Instead of that, you can take about a 10-minute walk from the road. All time we walked, we were sprayed by the mist of the geyser and accompanied by a loud noise of it. We came right next to the geyser along beautiful wooden paths and could humbly admire it. It's really the biggest in the world.
We were lucky…not…fantastic eruption! Continued to display the entire time we were there. Driving by on the main road we could see it erupting so pulled into the entrance road . Had to wait for almost 20-30 minutes just to get to the parking lot. Then waited to get a parking spot. The entire time the mist from the geyser was coming down on the car. I did notice the signs warning “geyser spray can damage paint and windows “, 😐 but being excited at our luck at seeing it erupt, failed to register. Parked the car right in the mist and walked for about an hour, viewing Steamboat and the other sites. When we got back to the car it was still in the mist. Turned on the windshield wipers and sprayed the fluid several times. Drove off. When the car dried I noticed that the windows had spots all over them and the paint looked like it had water spots and appeared dull. Next chance we washed the car, but too late..way too late. The geyser spray damaged the windows and the paint. They look like they are covered with water spots. Word of warning…stay out of the mist/spray…pay attention to the signs! In my defense, we did wear raincoats 😐. Talked to a ranger later, said to wash the windows with half white vinegar and Dawn dish soap. Don’t scrub. Enjoy the incredible display if you are lucky enough to see it, you’ll understand why it’s called Steamboat.
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