Mammoth Hot Springs

#7 in Best Things To Do in Yellowstone
Mammoth Hot Springs picture
Mammoth Hot Springs
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Yves Marcoux / Design Pics/Getty Images

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Natural Wonders, Sightseeing, Free Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.4scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 4.5Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

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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More Best Things To Do in Yellowstone

Old Faithful
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
Type
Time to Spend
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#1 Old Faithful

The world's most renowned geyser is a must-see for every Yellowstone visitor. Although it isn't the largest geyser in the world, Old Faithful's eruptions are definitely awe-inspiring, averaging around 130 feet high. Like its name suggests, you can count on Old Faithful erupting approximately every hour and a half (the nearby visitors center can provide you with a more accurate schedule). There are several ways to see Old Faithful's power: You can join the hordes of tourists who gather around the perimeter or find a less hectic spot in the nearby Old Faithful Inn's dining room. More adventurous travelers can enjoy the mile-long hike out to Observation Point for a bird's-eye view of the Upper Geyser Basin.

Recent visitors enjoyed seeing Old Faithful, although some felt it wasn't as impressive as other Yellowstone geysers. Many, however, said this geyser is worth checking out. Despite it's fairly predictable schedule, Old Faithful's eruptions occasionally occur sooner than expected, so consider arriving early.

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