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Mammoth Hot Springs

Grand Loop Road, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

At Mammoth Hot Springs, geothermal waters heated in Yellowstone’s caldera valley emerge through cracks and fissures, depositing minerals to create terraced travertine formations. Visitors traverse boardwalks above the steaming hydrothermal features, taking in one of Yellowstone National Park’s most impressive natural wonders.

About 50 hot springs lie within this area, accessed by upper and lower boardwalk trails. There’s more to the area than the hot springs as well. Parkgoers can watch for wildlife in the Gardner River Canyon, climb to the top of Bunsen Peak, cross the 45th Parallel, soak in the Boiling River hot spring, or learn about the area’s human and natural history at the Albright Visitor Center.

Multi-day trips offer the chance to take in Yellowstone’s highlights, including Mammoth Hot Springs, as well as the Upper Geyser Basin (home of Old Faithful), Lamar and Hayden valleys, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Winter cross-country skiing and snowshoeing tours typically include Mammoth Hot Springs as well.

  • Mammoth Hot Springs is a highlight of Yellowstone and a must-see for first-time visitors.

  • Wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking over uneven surfaces, and don’t forget to bring sun protection.

  • The Mammoth Hot Springs area is wheelchair-accessible; wheelchairs are available to rent, and there are wheelchair-accessible restrooms.

  • The Albright Visitor Center at Mammoth Hot Springs offers free Wi-Fi.

Public transportation is not available to Yellowstone National Park or to Mammoth Hot Springs. The best way to get there is to join a guided tour of the park, or to drive. The Mammoth Hot Springs area sits 5 miles (8 kilometers) from the north entrance to the park, near the town of Gardiner, Montana.

Mammoth Hot Springs remains open throughout the year and is one of the few areas that can still be reached by vehicle during the winter. During the summer and autumn, this is one of the best areas to view elk in the wild.

The Mammoth Hot Springs Historic District comprises 35 historic structures dating from the 1890s and early 1900s. Among the structures still standing are the log mail carrier’s cabin of Fort Yellowstone, the Mammoth post office, and the Roosevelt Arch.

Yes, Mammoth Hot Springs is considered a must-visit within Yellowstone National Park. The springs are unlike other thermal parts of the park, with steaming pools of water that spill over the limestone travertine formations that cascade down the hillside.

It only takes a couple of hours to walk the boardwalks and view the steaming terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs. The trails cover less than 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) through the landscape, so it makes for a quick stop in Yellowstone National park.

No, you cannot go into the hot springs. While you may be tempted to take a dip, doing so could kill you—the water reaches boiling temperatures at just a few feet deep. Visiting Mammoth Hot Springs is still worth your time, as admiring the landscape is reason enough.

The white formations at Mammoth Hot Springs are travertine terraces, created by the interaction of hot water from underground with limestone. They look a bit like snow or ice from a distance, but the structures become a lot clearer as you get closer to this boiling-hot attraction.

Mammoth Hot Springs is popular due to its impressive array of rock formations and unique thermal terrain—and the fact that it's easily accessible within Yellowstone National Park. It’s easy to see why this geological phenomenon draws people from all over the world.

Yes, Mammoth Hot Springs does have a strong sulfur odor, which is a byproduct of the geothermal activity at the hot springs. Some may be put off by the rotten egg-type smell, but it's all part of the experience at this highly popular spot in Yellowstone National Park.


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