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Mammoth Hot Springs Area Trail is a 3.5 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Gardiner, Montana that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from April until October.

Length 3.5 mi Elevation gain 561 ft Route type Loop

Kid friendly

Hiking

Nature trips

Walking

Bird watching

Hot springs

Views

Waterfall

Wildlife

No dogs

Description
Waypoints (22)
Facilities
Contact
Tips
Getting There

Mammoth Hot Springs is a large hot spring complex on a hillside of travertine terraces in Yellowstone National Park. Limestone is the dominant underlying rock in place of rhyolite, which dominates in the other large hydrothermal zones of the park. This region is one of the world's best examples of hot travertine deposits. It is also one of the most dynamic hydrothermal zones in the park: its characteristics are constantly changing. Inactive terraces underlie most of this area, including the hotel and the Albright Visitor Center. The maximum water temperature is 163 ° F / 73 ° C. For hundreds of years, residents of Shoshone and Bannock have collected minerals from the Mammoth hot spring for white paint. These minerals contribute to the beautiful structures of the terrace, as well as to the heat, a system of "plumbing" natural water and limestone. The volcanic heat source for the Mammoth Hot Springs remains a mystery. Scientists have proposed a number of sources, including the large magma chamber underlying the Yellowstone Caldera, or perhaps a smaller heat source closer to Mammoth. In Mammoth, a network of fractures and cracks forms the plumbing system that allows underground hot water to reach the surface. The water comes from the rain and snow that falls on the surrounding mountains and seeps deep into the earth where it is heated. Small earthquakes can keep the plumbing open. Limestone, deposited here millions of years ago when a vast sea covered this region, provides the final ingredient. Hot water with dissolved carbon dioxide prepares a weak carbonic acid solution. When the solution rises through the rock, it dissolves the calcium carbonate, the main compound of the limestone. On the surface, the calcium carbonate is deposited in the form of travertine, the rock that forms the terraces of the Mammoth Hot Springs. Primary Colors: Thermophiles (heat-loving micro-organisms) create tapestries of color where hot water circulates between terraces. Colorless and yellow thermophiles develop in the warmest waters; Thermophiles orange, brown and green grow in colder waters. The colors also change with the seasons. Living Sculpture: These terraces are like living sculptures, shaped by the volume of water, the slope of the ground and the objects on the way to the water. They change constantly and sometimes overnight, but the overall activity of the whole area and the volume of water discharges remain relatively constant. Here, like in other places on the planet, the rock is formed before your eyes. Lower Terraces: You can access these terraces from the sidewalks at their base or from Upper Terrace Drive. Some sections of the sidewalk are wheelchair accessible; the rest of the area has steep stairs or slopes due to the terrain. Upper Terrace Drive: The entrance to Upper Terrace Drive is 2 miles south of the Albright Visitors Center on the Grand Loop Road. This one-way scenic drive winds for 2.4 km through hot springs and travertine formations. Caravans, buses and motorhomes are prohibited on the driveway due to the limited number of parking spaces and a narrow, winding roadway. Park these vehicles on the lot near the Grand Loop road, then enjoy the upper terraces on foot. Please stay on the road and sidewalks.

Yellowstone is open year round; check the roads website as with snows sometimes roads are closed: http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/parkroads.htm

Hydrothermal features are fragile rarities of nature. Yellowstone preserves the largest collection of hydrothermal features on the planet. You have an unparalleled opportunity to view hot springs, geysers, mudpots, and fumaroles in a natural setting. Change takes place naturally in a hydrothermal area, but people can disrupt these processes and cause irreparable damage. Rocks, sticks, and other objects thrown into a hydrothermal feature may be permanently cemented in place, choking off water circulation and ending all activity. For the sake of all who follow, never throw objects into any feature. Stay on established walkways for your safety and to protect fragile formations that have formed over thousands of years. It is illegal to collect any natural or cultural objects or to remove, deface, or destroy any plant, animal, or mineral in Yellowstone's hydrothermal areas. Bring drinking water; take out all trash. While viewing or photographing the area, protect your camera, glasses, and binocular lenses from hydrothermal heat and stray. Toxic gases exist in Yellowstone. Dangerous levels of hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide have been measured in some hydrothermal areas. If you feel sick, leave the location immediately. Help preserve Yellowstone for the future.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (525)
Photos (799)
Recordings (389)
Completed (1530)
Ben Ailes
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Hiking

Great board walked path with plenty of great views of the springs.

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Bela Szabadi
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Hiking
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Victoria Iacovetti
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Hiking

It was very difficult finding parking. This place was definitely a tourist trap, lots of slow, lazy walkers and I had even just come from a 5hr hike. There were boardwalks so it is wheelchair accessible, also stairs. Not sure if it was worth it though! :/

Ben Peck
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Hiking

Way too busy.

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mimi payton
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Hiking
View mimi's Recording
An3z Tia
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Hiking
View An3z's Recording
Molly Moore
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HikingNo shade

Arrive early for parking, or be prepared with patience! We watched the sunrise over the Hot Springs, and I cannot recommend it enough! The stream off the thermal features was beautiful and eery, and we basically had the place to ourselves. This is a boardwalk area, and has quite a few stairs if you want to see all the features. Mask up for your fellow park goers if visiting during pandemic times!

Brett Berberich
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HikingScramble
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Stacy Corbin
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Hiking

Interesting features, I would recommend going in the morning or evening. The sun can get hot and not a ton of shade.

Terry Peterson
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Hiking

Parking was difficult. Three separate little parking areas and none of them had a bathroom. The walk was, of course, unique, with all the giant, terraced hot springs, and was almost entirely a wooden boardwalk, which I liked very much. Be ready for some steep staircases. It is an interesting walk, but not nearly as scenic as everything else in Yellowstone. We rushed through it and did not necessarily walk out onto every little overlook because the weather was threatening rain and it was our last day in Yellowstone and we were short on time.

View Terry's Recording
Ariella Wells
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WalkingGreat!No shade
Dustin Baker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 22, 2020
Hiking

Trail is mostly a boardwalk. The scenery is neat, although I think there are probably better hikes to prioritize. If already in the area, this is an easy one to quickly knock out while you’re there.

KRIS D
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Hiking

LAME. This is a hot springs / terrace graveyard. Everything is dormant. Don’t waste your time.

View KRIS's Recording
Galen Sheffield
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Hiking

Parked at the General Store at bottom and walked to trailhead. From there its a good 2 miles straight up to the top. You actually follow what use to be a drivethru paved trail then meet back up with boardwalks on way back down. The place is dried up I thought and kind of a drag but the hike was a good burn and made it worth it. Seen some deer and marmots at top and buffalo dump so there is animal activity and not many people use this trail map so always keep looking.

Steffen Werner
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Hiking

Nice Trail with lots of boardwalks, totally crowded (Friday afternoon). Not as impressive than other basins (e.g. Norris or West Thumb) The „stairs“ are only seen here.

Hope Smith
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HikingNo shade

You can wander for a long time on all these boardwalks seeing the different features left as the hot springs change with time.

Anwesha Pan
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Hiking

It was great experience seeing all the chemical activity going on here. Mother Nature surprised us here

Tanner Funke
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 1, 2020
Hiking

Very touristy, but some great photo opportunities along the way. If you stay to the left first, it is a tough first half, but a very peaceful and easy back half.

View Tanner's Recording
Alex Berger
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Hiking

Great loop , nice views and easy

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J B.
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Hiking

Mammoth

View J's Recording
Cieara Donati
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Hiking

Easy boardwalk trail, just lots of steps. The hot springs are very pretty!

chuck kranz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 20, 2020
Hiking

Easy boardwalk trail, nice views!

Eric Heuerman
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HikingIcySnow

Nice trail to get great views and see plenty of wildlife. Signs said trail only accessible with snowshoes or skis, but they were well traveled and hardpacked for easy walking. Mid February

Jake Naylor
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Hiking

Easy hike along board walks but spectacular

View Jake's Recording
jam bbk
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HikingIcySnow

Went in mid-December...Great trail... some areas require snowshoes or skis... wear lots of layers and waterproof pants as well as waterproof boots...dress like you are going skiing... bring a hot drink in flask that will stay hot at least 9 hours...have fun, enjoy snow, and don’t break a leg or ankle...

Kylee Wongrowski
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Hiking

Gorgeous

Frank Hollinger
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Hiking

lots to see. the hot springs are very impressive.

View Frank's Recording
Showing results 1 - 27 of 525