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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Firehole River Reviews
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  • The Firehole River runs through Yellowstone National Park across the Upper Geyser Basin between Grand Prismatic Spring and Old Faithful. The river was named by early explorers because of the steam tha...  more »
  • Visited in early June when river very full due to snow melt. This resulted in spectacular falls and rapids to view. during our visit the drive wasn't to busy so could stop at pull outs  more »
  • short drive, beautiful scenery and and beautiful fall. parking at the top but limited. no hiking, just drive, get out enjoy!  more »
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  • The Firehole River runs through Yellowstone National Park across the Upper Geyser Basin between Grand Prismatic Spring and Old Faithful. The river was named by early explorers because of the steam that makes it appear to be smoking like it was on fire. The water is warm and get as warm as 86 degrees. Incredibly, fly fishing for brown and rainbow trout is excellent in its waters. The Park Service has closed its waters for all other types of fishing. The thermal features that drain into the river also bring levels of dissolved minerals, but swimming is permitted in the river off of Firehole Canyon Dr. Otherwise than the ways to use the river, it is just lovely to look at and notice the colors of the mineral laden water flowing down its banks. It is clear and from the bridge vantage point one can sometimes see the fish.
  • This river, which runs through some very scenic geothermal areas is beautiful in its own right and is often full of bison and elk.
  • Awesome water falls
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