Mammoth Hot Springs#7 in Best Things To Do in Yellowstone
Sitting just southwest of the North Entrance in the aptly named Mammoth Hot Springs area, Mammoth Hot Springs is one of the park's more unique attractions. Known for its terraces – formed over centuries of hot water bubbling up from the ground, cooling and depositing calcium carbonate – Mammoth Hot Springs' travertine formations are often described as natural sculpture. As you explore, keep an eye out for elk grazing near the edge of the springs before terrace-hopping along numerous boardwalks down toward the bottom. Also, avoid direct contact with the water, which can easily cause burns.
According to recent visitors, Mammoth Hot Springs is "an amazing spectacle" that can't be missed. For some of the attraction's best views, travelers suggest walking up to the Upper Terraces. Hikers, meanwhile, can enjoy longer treks on one of Yellowstone's hiking trails, many of which start near the springs.
If you're interested in Yellowstone history, several travelers recommend checking out the adjacent Albright Visitor Center, which features displays on the park's natural and cultural history, as well as contemporary exhibits showcasing the unique wildlife found in the park's Northern Range. The facility stays open year-round.
Free parking is provided on-site, or you can join a tour offered by operators like Buffalo Bus Touring Company and Xanterra Parks & Resorts. But remember, tour rates generally do not cover park entrance fees, which cost $30 per vehicle and $25 per motorcycle. Mammoth is accessible 24 hours a day from April 20 to Nov. 6. For more information about Mammoth Hot Springs, check out the National Park Service's website.
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#1 Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
Formed over thousands of years of erosion caused by wind, water and other natural forces, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is the primary attraction in the Canyon Village area and one of the park's most popular hiking spots. The canyon stretches approximately 20 miles long and nearly a mile wide. Just as remarkable as the canyon's terra-cotta hued cliff walls is its river, which is the longest undammed river in the country, meandering for more than 600 miles through Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota.
"Amazing," "beautiful" and "fascinating" are just a few adjectives recent visitors used to describe this natural wonder. Most praised its hiking trails (like Artist and Lookout points), but a few said to check the National Park Service's Canyon Area Construction Projects page before you arrive since several paths are either partly or completely closed for renovations. Another tip: Get to the canyon early or late in the day to avoid rubbing elbows with hordes of tourists.
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