Yellowstone- Mammoth Hot Springs
Among Yellowstone National Park’s best hot spots, Mammoth Hot Springs is definitely a place to visit. The terraced formations are perfectly sculpted by some of nature’s most powerful elements. What’s even more amazing is that they may look a little different when observing them the next time.
Mammoth Hot Springs is most famous for- you guessed it- it’s hot springs. They’re comprised of a variety of chemicals mixed with hot water that comes from below the surface. The complexity of these majestic formations are truly awe-inspiring. There are several hot springs scattered throughout the tour area but some of the highlights include the following: Opal Terrace, Liberty Cap, Minerva Terrace, Overlook, Canary Spring, and Palette Spring. Each one is unique and amazing in it’s own way. Which one is your favorite?
There is an easy boardwalk that surrounds the Mammoth Hot Springs. From one parking lot, there is a wheelchair ramp. As a whole, the “hike” is very easy and most is wheelchair accessible. However, if you want to do the lookout, there are quite a few stairs. I believe our kids counted about 90 steps to get to the top. There are benches for resting as you venture up and down those stairs.
There are three parking lots: two at the bottom of the trail and one at the top. If you’re interested in the overview of the park, we recommend you park at the top. There is a road to the south of the two parking lots found at the base with access to the overview parking lot. It may be closed at the time you are passing through so check with a ranger’s station for more information.
Currently, the Albright Visitor’s Center is closed and is due to reopen in May 2015. However, there is a temporary visitor’s center that is set up across the street that will provide park information, a guided map, and wildlife displays. Also there are restrooms across the street to the east of the temporary station.
In addition to the visitor’s center, there is a gift shop, an ice cream parlor (which is closed during the winter season) and a place to fill your water bottles. There’s even a gas station and a restroom just to the west of it.
There are hotels close by if you are interested in staying in the area. During the winter, Mammoth Hot Springs hotel and cabins are the only visitor accommodations in Yellowstone accessible by automobile. With that said, you should probably book as early as possible.
The wildlife is incredible at Mammoth Hot Springs. There are an abundance of elk in this area. Be aware that they will cross the street at any time and anywhere. We were just in Yellowstone and just in this tiny town, there were AT LEAST eighty elk roaming the streets, fields, and tour area. We didn’t have any problems with these docile creatures but it’s always good to practice good safety habits. Enjoy the magnificent creatures from a safe distance.
For more information about Mammoth Hot Springs, visit online at http://mms.nps.gov/yell/features/mammothtour