Free enamel pin when you buy any two Atlas Obscura products. Shop now.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

The Crow's Nest at the Old Faithful Inn

An architect's childhood fantasy treehouse made real. 

On the third floor of Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Inn, there’s a snaking stairway leading 76 feet up to what seems to be an indoor treehouse. From the treehouse, a series of catwalks lead outside onto the steep roof of the inn, and stairs go up to a deck on the very top of the roof.

This jumble of stairs and catwalks is collectively called the Crow’s Nest, designed by the then 29-year-old architect Robert Reamer. Popular belief is that he took special care to design the Crow’s Nest according to a childhood fantasy of his.

In the early days of the inn, an orchestra was hired to play from the treehouse of the Crow’s Nest, entertaining guests on the ground floor below.

Unfortunately, a 1959 earthquake that shook the park damaged the structural integrity of the inn, and the Crow’s Nest had to be closed to the public. Repairs are being made, and the park hopes to reopen the section to the public sometime in the next few years. However, the inn’s bell staff still travels to the top twice every day to raise and lower the park’s flags, and will take a few tourists with them if you make reservations in advance (starting in May).

Contributed by
Z Zigelko
Edited by
  • Old Faithful Inn staff
  • Posted signs