This section of the Grand Loop Road leads south to Upper Geyser Basin at Old Faithful Village, 17 miles (27 km) away. There are three side roads of interest. Firehole Canyon Drive closely parallels the canyon of the Firehole River and runs one way north to south. A few miles farther south, Fountain Flats Drive takes you to a walking or bicycle trail. The third side road is the Firehole Lake Drive a one-way road (south to north) where you might catch an eruption of Great Fountain or White Dome geyser or stroll around steaming Firehole Lake.
On the main road you’ll find numerous turnouts for access to the Firehole River. Before you reach Old Faithful, you’ll pass four thermal areas. These are the Fountain Paint Pot area and the geyser basins called Midway, Biscuit, and Black Sand. Road Log NOTE: Mileage in this road log goes to and from the Old Faithful Visitor Center. 0.0/17.0 Madison Junction, intersecting with the Grand Loop Road, the figure eight road that has taken visitors to the major features of the park for over 100 years.
Norris Junction and Norris Geyser Basin are to the northeast; Old Faithful Village is to the south. 0.1/16.9 ©(12) S(2) S Madison picnic area and information station/ bookstore. Drinking water and flush toilets (wheelchair-accessible) are available here, unlike most picnic areas. The information station has a park ranger on duty, small exhibits, current predictions for Upper Geyser Basin, and a Yellowstone Association bookstore. It is also the headquarters for Yellowstone’s Junior Ranger Program. This building, designed by architect Herbert Maier, was opened in 1929 as a museum of history. The building is one of the six National Historic Landmarks in Yellowstone.
Just behind it are the amphitheater for evening lectures and a path to the Madison Campground. Attractive plaques relate the long-accepted story of Yellowstone as the first national Madison information station and National Park Mountain park and tell about Stephen Mather, first director of the National Park Service. The Gibbon and Firehole rivers join here to form the Madison River, which flows west out of the park. The name Madison Junction, originally applied to the river junction, also applies to the road junction. The prominent rise to the southwest beyond the rivers is National Park Mountain. Its cliffs form the edge of the Madison Plateau.