Yellowstone’s Mammoth Hot Springs
On the Northern border of Yellowstone National Park you will find Mammoth Hot Springs, an area rich in thermic activity and history.
There are around fifty uniquely beautiful hot springs in this area, formed dramatically different than the Caldera Region to the south which features mud pots and geysers. Located just off Grand Loop Rd where highway 89 enters Wyoming from Montanta, this portion of the park is accessible all year long.
The park headquarters are established in the remnants of old “Fort Yellowstone,” from a period of time where the Cavalry was called to watch over the park and it’s visitors in the early 1900s.
A lot has changed since then as Mammoth Hot Springs now boasts the Albright visitor center, history museum, gas stations, restaurants, hotels, and an amphitheater.
Thermic activity in this area of the park is interesting as the water breaks down the limestone on it’s way to the surface, leaving behind a deposit of chalky calcium forming the terraces.
The fractured limestone creates channels for the boiling water to seep to the surface, forcing its way through the cracks compared to the surges experienced by geysers.
Ever changing shapes offer returning visitors a chance to photograph something new as the Mammoth Terraces are reshaped and the travertine resets itself into a new work of art.
Hot springs here can flow at infrequent times as the water level and pressure determines what you will see when you visit. One day you can have a bubbling spring over 150 degrees farenheit and the next … nada…
A view of the boardwalk that stretches just less than two miles and is designed to be shifted as needed to accommodate terrace growth.
For those not wishing to depart the vehicles here for the boardwalk the hot springs are also easily accessed by taking Upper Terrace Dr in your vehicle for a chance to see many natural features from the road.
The Orange Spring Mound was one of my favorite springs in the Mammoth Area, forming over a few thousands of years of water depositing material at a slow rate. The leftovers of microscopic bacteria and algae are what give this spring its defining characteristics.
Even if you are trying to take in as much of Yellowstone as possible in a day make sure to stop your vehicle at Mammoth Hot Springs and see a few of these rare formations. Pull off at Upper Terrace Loop dr and begin looking for the signs to show you points of interest in the area and walking distances along the boardwalks between geysers.