Mammoth Hot Springs

Mammoth Hot Springs – An Other-Worldly Experience at Yellowstone Park. The ghost-like formations of white limestone at Mammoth Hot Springs makes it one of Yellowstone Park’s most dynamic and best loved sites. Steam from the hot springs infuses the sunlight with a rainbow of colors, and the outdoor limestone stalagmites and stalactites are other-worldly.

Unlike the springs and geysers of other Yellowstone sites, Mammoth Hot Springs are created from limestone which is softer, and accumulates more quickly, than other minerals. Thanks to seismic shifts beneath the area, ground water is heated when it comes in contact with the carbon dioxide-rich gases deep below the earth. As the water moves up through the limestone toward the earth’s surface, the limestone dissolves into a rich mineral solution.

Once exposed to the open air; however, the carbon dioxide leaves the water, and the chalky-white limestone solidifies and is deposited on the surface.

Hiking Trails and Boardwalks – There are beautiful hiking trails around the springs where you’ll find elk and other animals who like to herd nearby. Trails vary in length and intensity, so all levels of hikers can enjoy this area of the park. Although the hike around the Grand Loop is strenuous, hikers will find a magnificent view of Mammoth’s limestone waterfalls trail’s end at the top of the springs. More adventurous travelers may choose to hike the longer and less popular trails which also offer breathtaking and inspiring views.

Wheelchair accessibility is available on some areas of the boardwalk around the springs; however, they do not include the steep steps that take visitors from the boardwalk to viewpoints around the site. Less agile visitors may choose to view the springs from the parking lot at the top of Upper Terraces where there are panoramic and close-up views; or they may drive along the one-way road which also provides spectacular vistas.

A Historic Village – As a former site of U.S. Army Fort, Mammoth Hot Springs Village is a historic site in its own right. The boardwalks that start on the downhill side are extensive and offer some great viewpoints, and the village offers food, bathrooms and shopping. In addition to the small herds resting in the village greens, you’ll find elk actually roaming around on the village streets.

The Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel has a restaurant that offers delicious salads and sandwiches, including locally-farmed trout and bison; and from your table, you can watch the elk move about the town.

A short drive east along the highway toward Cooke City, Montana will make you feel as though you’ve gone on safari with herds of bison, elk and antelope, deer, moose, and beer in abundance. Take your time on the drive and you won’t be disappointed. The Visitors Center offers self-guided maps of the trails. Careful planning should include water, sun protection, and snacks like GORP or energy bars.

If you would like a guided tour to see the Mammoth Hot Springs we recommend to consider the  ”2-Day Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks Wildlife Adventure,” or the “4-Day Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks Wildlife Adventure.”