Mammoth Hot Springs Area Trail [CLOSED]

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Yellowstone National Park

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.

Distance: 3.5 miles Elevation Gain: 561 feet Route Type: Loop

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

hot springs

views

waterfall

wildlife

closed

no dogs

It has been reported this trail has a temporary closure due to COVID-19. Please see the park's website for up to date information. 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.

hiking
icy
snow
3 months ago

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

hiking
4 months ago

Easy hike along board walks but spectacular

hiking
icy
snow
5 months ago

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...

hiking
6 months ago

Gorgeous

lots to see. the hot springs are very impressive.

hiking
7 months ago

Amazing geothermal feature.

walking
8 months ago

We did just part of this trail system. There was a bull elk hanging out by the Minerva terrace with 2 cows. Pretty cool to be that close to a huge elk. He was right next to the boardwalk the whole time. There were lots of elk around Mammoth the day we were there. Interesting area.

hiking
8 months ago

I loved the different views and areas. Very unique!

hiking
no shade
8 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

A very popular spot so go early or late to avoid the big crowds. We parked at the parking lot at the entrance to the scenic drive (upper terraces) and started the boardwalk trail right there. There is an outhouse there and you'll avoid all the crowds down at the visitors center and shopping area. As others have said, walk the boardwalk (lower terraces) and drive the scenic drive (upper terraces). It is very interesting to see how the area evolves with sections that are active and still growing and sections that are no longer active and deteriorating.

hiking
9 months ago

huge, kinda redundant very busy but you should see it

hiking
9 months ago

it was beautiful but a lot of walking and very crowded

hiking
9 months ago

Easy walking trail. Hot springs were very interesting to look at.

hiking
9 months ago

Something different from the rest of the park, and I'd recommend it. Be prepared for the drive it's probably just under 2 hours from West Thumb, 1.5 hours from Old Faithful. Although, it always seems your stopped by wildlife or roadwork . . . plan plenty of time to get there, but it's worth it

hiking
9 months ago

Easy trail with lots of stairs

hiking
bugs
washed out
9 months ago

Trt

hiking
9 months ago

The terraces were spectacular and the best in the park of their type. Only giving this 4/5 stars instead of 5/5 because the trail take you down a narrow road with car traffic. Would be better to drive to the highlights than walk with traffic on a vehicular road

hiking
9 months ago

The hot springs are incredible. What I didn't like it's the suggested walk pass car way. Not much to see and many cars driving past you on a small road.

hiking
no shade
9 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

The trail was really busy, but for good reason!

hiking
10 months ago

A must see if you are visiting Yellowstone! Can drive through a portion of the park, but as usual need to get out and hit the boardwalks to really see everything.

hiking
10 months ago

Great views of the springs from a boardwalk and paved trail. Very manageable walk/hike for people of all skill levels.

hiking
10 months ago

It’s Yellowstone. Not the baddest trail of all time but definitely worth seeing

hiking
10 months ago

I arrived in April, lots of snow. But worth the hike.

hiking
no shade
10 months ago

loved seeing the wildlife

hiking
10 months ago

We almost skipped this because we weren’t planning to head so far North in the park - I’m so glad we didn’t. The pictures on AllTrails don’t do it justice! It is another of the boardwalk “trails” in Yellowstone and it’s right off the road, so it was very trafficked. However, the hot springs and thermal features were so, so cool to see in person so definitely with dealing with the crowds. Another plus is that we saw three bears on our way to this part of the park, as opposed to the zero that we saw anywhere else during any part of our trip.

hiking
no shade
11 months ago

Boardwalk with stairs, through one of the most amazing natural thermal features in the world. Closeup views of thermophilic bacteria and mineral terraces. Views of the canyon below. Kid friendly, and of course it’s crowded.

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