South Entrance West Thumb/Grant Village Old Faithful East Entrance Lake Village,Bridge Bay, and Fishing Bridge West Entrance Madison Junction Norris Canyon Village Tower Fall-Roosevelt Mammoth Hot Springs Northeast Entrance North Entrance Campgrounds West Entrance Campgrounds East Entrance Campgrounds Northeast Campgrounds Lewis Lake Camping Indian Creek Camping Slough Creek Camping Pebble Creek Camping

The Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks Travel Guides are a resource for those planning to tour Yellowstone National Park and/or Grand Teton National Park. The adjacent national parks are typically visited at the same time and offer very different experiences. Yellowstone offers the world's largest concentration of thermal features such as geysers and hot pools. Grand Teton features one of the world's most spectacular mountain ranges. Both parks offer outstanding opportunities to view wildlife.

Mammoth Hot Springs differ greatly from the geysers and hot pools further south in the park. The presence of limestone in the area, along with a major fault line delivering hot water to the Mammoth area has allowed the creation of a vast area of hot springs, travertine terraces and travertine flows. Limestone is readily and rapidly dissolved by hot water, creating travertine. Also, the area can be very colorful with bacteria in the pools and travertine stained by other minerals.

Minerva Terrace, Mammoth Hot Springs

The hot springs are very dynamic. Old hot water fissures may go dormant while new ones start up. Springs that have been dormant for years may become active again. New travertine formations build up extremely quickly. The rapidly shifting activity cause some springs to appear dead. However the location of springs and the rate of flow actually changes daily; on-again-off-again is the rule, not the exception. However the overall volume of water discharged by all of the springs fluctuates little.

The Lower Terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs can be explored as a self-guided tour on about a mile of boardwalks. The most beautiful and popular formation, Minerva Terrace, is displayed at the top of this page. The terrace has gone through active and inactive periods over the years. When it is very active, the boardwalks can become quickly buried in travertine. The bizarre Liberty Cap, near the north end of the trail, is a 37 foot tall hot spring cone. The Upper Terraces can be explored on a narrow, one-way road (no trailers, vehicles under 25 feet long).

Elk are especially prevalent, particularly during the fall rut.

The Mammoth area also includes Historic Fort Yellowstone. The park was administered and protected by the U.S. army from 1886 until the creation of the National Park Service in 1916. Because of the permanent nature of the mission, the fort’s buildings were constructed to last permanently. Some are still in use to this day. Self-guided tours are available.

The are numerous good hiking trails in the area, ranging from one to 11 miles. The Beaver Ponds Loop Trail starts by the Liberty Cap and ends near the hotel and runs five moderate miles. The trail passes through meadowland, aspen stands, and past the beaver ponds. There is therefore an excellent chance to see a variety of wildlife such as elk, deer, pronghorn, and possibly black bear. Also, there are excellent mountain views.

Wildlife is excellent in the area. The campground is adjacent to grazing land. Elk, deer, and pronghorn often graze close to or through the campsites. Elk are especially prevalent, particularly during the fall rut when the bugling reverberates throughout the area.

Mammoth Hot Springs

Day Hikes in Mammoth Hot Springs Area

  • Beaver Ponds Loop. Round trip 5 miles (8 km), moderately strenuous. The trail begins between Liberty Cap and a stone house in Mammoth Hot Springs. It follows Clematis Creek, climbing 350 feet (107 m) through forest to meadows of sage and stands of Douglas-fir and aspen. After hiking 2.5 miles (4.0 km), you reach the beaver ponds. You might see beavers or their sign, but you are more likely to see muskrats and water birds. The trail continues through mixed forest and meadows, and ends on the Old Gardiner Road behind the Mammoth Hotel.
  • Bunsen Peak. Round trip 4.2 miles (6.7 km), moderately strenuous. The trail begins at the entrance of the Old Bunsen Peak Road Trail, 5.0 miles (8.0 km) south of Mammoth on the Grand Loop Road. Climb 1,300 feet (394 m) through forest to the summit, which features panoramic views. Return by same route. The nearby Old Bunsen Peak Road Trail is closed to vehicles but open for hiking and biking.
  • Wraith Falls. Round trip 1 mile (1.5 km), easy. The trail begins at a pullout 0.5 miles (0.8 km) east of Lava Creek Picnic Area on the Grand Loop Road. This short, easy trail passes through sagebrush meadows, marshland, and mixed conifer forest to the base of 79-foot (24 m) Wraith Falls on Lupine Creek.

Helpful links

Videos

Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces

There are several factors that lead these springs to form spectacular terraces that are always changing. Learn how these hot springs differ from others in the park. Duration: 1 minute 40 seconds

Historic Fort Yellowstone

The first protectors of the park were soldiers. Learn more about Fort Yellowstone through this short video. Duration: 2 minutes

Mammoth in Winter

Mammoth Hot Springs is a great place to visit in winter. You will find access to walking and skiing trails as well as fascinating exhibits along the trail. Duration: 2 minutes 37 seconds

Services in area

Food and Lodging at Mammoth Hot Springs

Camping at Mammoth Hot Springs

  • Mammoth Campground. Only campground open all year. Located on a lightly wooded hillside just north of Mammoth Hot Springs town, five miles from the North Entrance. 85 campsites, 51 have tent pads, most are pull-through sites. Well suited for RV's; can accommodate up to 75 foot RV's; there are no hook-ups. Generators are allowed 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Campground away from developed areas; services and stores available in town. One of nicest campgrounds in park. Sits on edge of major grazing area. Elk and pronghorn often graze through the campsites.

Nearest Visitor Center to Mammoth Hot Springs

Albright Visitor Center and Museum is located in Mammoth Hot Springs. The rustic building was originally part of Fort Yellowstone and was once the bachelor officers’ quarters. Includes visitor desk, backcountry office, theater, and Yellowstone Association book store. The museum focuses on area history but also displays the Moran Gallery of watercolors and the Jackson Gallery of photography. Both men were part of the 1871 expedition which discovered Yellowstone.

Other services in area

Food services, medical clinic, general stores, gift shops, gas station, post office, and picnic area.

Check out our new and updated Prepackaged Travel Planners.

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Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks

Extensive discussion on how to tour these two famous parks, based on numerous personal experiences. Includes local side trips such as the old west town of Cody featuring the famous Cody Nite Rodeo, Wyoming Dinosaur Center and Dig Sites, Beartooth Highway, Virginia City, and much more. Learn More