Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park

4.5 out of 5 stars 69 Reviews

Been here? Rate It!

hide
  • Looking at the Canary build up over quieter parts
    Looking at the Canary build up over...
    by mtncorg
  • Close up of the active processes at work
    Close up of the active processes at work
    by mtncorg
  • Cleopatra Terrace from the trail
    Cleopatra Terrace from the trail
    by mtncorg
  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo

    Upper Terrace Road

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Oct 10, 2010

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    We had already done some exploring of the lower sections of Mammoth Hot Springs the day before, so decided to take a little drive around Upper Terrace Road to see what surprises it had in store for us. The first thing we came across was New Highland Spring in an area of intermittent geo-thermal activity. This one turned out to be relatively modern, with hot flows of 160°F bursting into activity in the early 1950s and explaining why there are still dead trees held in the grasp of this growing travertine hill. This one-way drive on Upper Terrace Road also provided a good view back toward Mammoth Hot Springs nestled below in its valley (2nd photo).

    Just around the next turn we came to Orange Spring Mound (3rd photo), thought to be a much older formation based on the amount of minerals deposited there. It was found to be a much cooler spring than most at Mammoth Hot Springs and we found it to be a very nice attraction. We got out for a closer look and even managed to capture its small eruption of hot water (4th photo).

    New Highland Spring beside the terrace road View of Mammoth Hot Springs from Upper Terrace Orange Spring Mound in Upper Hot Springs Hot water bubbles out of Orange Spring Mound
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Road Trip
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo

    Lower Terraces area

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Oct 10, 2010

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    We had only scratched the surface at Mammoth Hot Springs the day before, so this time we tried to give it our best shot in the limited time available. Starting out in the Lower Terrace area, it was impossible not to be impressed by the 45-foot tall Liberty Cap! Named after a type of soldier’s hat worn at the time of the French Revolution, this hunk of rock was formed by caldera pressurized hot water flowing to the surface from deep below. The minerals in the water leached out at the surface and gradually built this cone as long as the water continued to flow. Eventually a geological change of some sort cut off the water flow, leaving this mineralized core as its legacy to the world.

    Turning around and looking the other way, we were standing beside the still active Palette Hot Springs (2nd photo) with its very nice looking combination of flowing water, limestone and heat – just like a great landscape painting. There are things to see everywhere you look, including a trickle of hot water flowing over another geological formation still building itself (3rd photo).

    Liberty Cap invites you Palette Hot Springs Hot water trickles over the edge
    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo

    Upper Terrace Loop Drive

    by richiecdisc Updated Dec 12, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Upper Terrace Loop Drive is a 1.5 mile one way road which gives easy access to the Lower Terrace Overlook as well as a few other formations. I found this a bit of an overkill with regard to accessibility, especially considering the Lower Terrace was not wheel-chair accessible. We walked up to the Lower Terrace Overlook and would have liked to continue on walking the Upper Terrace Loop but did not want to walk on the road. The entire walk would be 2.5 miles and if it was all wheel-chair accessible it would be great. It would get people out of their cars and walking, one of the things I feel national parks should encourage. We did not even do the Upper Terrace as I did not want to have to start and stop the car every tenth of a mile, get in and out of my car, and basically see a few more of similar formations as I just saw in the Lower Terrace. If I was walking, I would have gladly done it.

    Lower Terrace Overlook views from above the colorful world of change rust never sleeps some zooming from above
    Related to:
    • Photography
    • National/State Park
    • Road Trip

    Was this review helpful?

  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo

    Lower Terrace Trail

    by richiecdisc Updated Dec 12, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Mammoth Hot Springs is one of Yellowstone's most popular areas due to accessibility and its colorful travertine formations. If arriving from the north, this is likely your first stop and its terraces are high on most visitors lists of things to see. Travertine deposits are initially white but change color due to bacteria and are in constant state of flux. The walk through the Lower Terrace is mostly on a boardwalk to protect the formations and visitors from potential injury due to negligence in keeping a proper distance from the fragile landscape. It can be disappointing for return visitors to find personal favorites no longer looking quite as impressive but that is part of this ever changing ecosystem. The Upper Terrace is a one-way short drive. You can walk from the Lower Terrace to the overlook generally visited while driving the Upper Terrace Loop.

    The Lower Terrace Trail is predominately a boardwalk stroll that does involve a few steps to climb if you want to get all the way to the Lower Terrace Overlook but along the way you will pass quite a few colorful formations along its approximate one mile length. Unfortunately, it is not entirely wheel-chair accessible which I found odd considering all the work put into laying all the boardwalk. While the Liberty Cap, a 37 foot hot spring cone, and Opal Terrace are a disappointing start to the walk, things heat up literally once you get into the meat of the walk. Both the Minerva Terrace and Palette Spring were particularly colorful with great hues of orange, green, and brown which result from bacteria reacting to the hot temperatures of the springs.

    Minerva Terrace Liberty Cap Palette Spring Opal Terrace in a state of constant change
    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Photography
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • pfsmalo's Profile Photo

    Mammoth Hot Springs III

    by pfsmalo Updated Nov 27, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This time you really need to take the car up to the Upper Terrace area where can either park up or drive the car round the loop road. It is a fairly stiff climb up from the Lower Terrace area. Driving round the loop doesn't stop you parking up for photo-ops, as there are pull-outs here and there on the way round. You can even stop by the overlook for a view down onto Main and Minerva Terraces.

    The New Highland Terrace is another example of a spring created late (1950) and has already become inactive.

    New Highland Terrace. The Orange mound and its lovely colours. The bubbling spring of Orange Mound. Splendid, steaming Angel Terrace. Lower travertine terraces of Angel.

    Was this review helpful?

  • pfsmalo's Profile Photo

    Mammoth Hot Springs II

    by pfsmalo Written Nov 27, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    A little further along on the road to Norris is the Lower Terrace area, where you'll find Main and Minerva Terraces and other springs and terraces. There are 2/3 different parking lots or you can walk up from Libert Cap.

    Main Terrace with its pool. Main Terrace. Jupiter Spring and small terrace. Minerva Terrace.

    Was this review helpful?

  • pfsmalo's Profile Photo

    Mammoth Hot Springs.

    by pfsmalo Updated Nov 24, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Very close to the North entrance and thus to Gardiner, which makes it handy if you're staying in the area. These travertine and limestone terraces are like living sculptures. Some are changing all the time, others are dry and haven't moved for years. "It is a solution of carbonic acid that dissolves the calcium carbonate, the main compound of limestone, which is then deposited in the form of travertine rock".(Taken from the Mammoth Springs trail guide). The thermophiles, the heat-loving organismes are the things that make the different colours, some prefrring cooler water and others warmer, so the colours can change with the seasons.

    Liberty Cap. Opal terrace Another view of Opal. Seen in front of the Visitors Centre. Close up of the elk.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Krumel's Profile Photo

    Mammoth Hot Springs

    by Krumel Updated Oct 10, 2009

    In the very northern corner of Yellowstone underground water bubbling up to the surface is depositing minerals as it runs off, forming these amazing travertine terraces with their multiple shades of yellow, red, brown and white. The colours are created by bacteria living in the water, with different bacteria living in different water temperatures.

    The terraces are constantly changing, as the build-up of mineral deposits will force the water to change its course eventually, with new terraces forming while others are drying up and turning dull and grey. The mineral deposits have trapped trees, leaving only their dead skeletons after a while, while on the upper terraces volcanic fumes make dead trees appear as ghostly shadows through the fog.

    There is a boardwalk across the terraces, up to the higher levels, and I loved going for a walk there early in the morning, when the sun lit up the colours, and there were very few people on the boardwalk, and it was just beautiful and peaceful there.

    Well, it was peaceful for a while anyway until I heard a shot. I wondered what that might have been all about, but didn't think much more about it, until I saw a ranger waving his arms wildly to get people to come off the boardwalk. When I reached him he said that there was a black bear on the terraces, so I hoped to get a glimpse of it, but it must have been too far up the terraces, and I didn't get to see it. After 15 minutes or so we were given the all-clear and could go back onto the boardwalk. Very exciting :-).

    Related to:
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • Dymphna1's Profile Photo

    Prettiest of all the spots.

    by Dymphna1 Updated Aug 27, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Mammoth is always changing. The amount of water and where it is flowing changes all the time. Some start and some end with each earthquake. Even though the ones that have stopped are not pretty, those that are running are the most spectacular in the park.

    This is an easy walk and a great deal of this can be done in the car.

    Picture #3 was amazing to see in real life. The first time I was by there - without my camera - go figure - this spot was dry, right in the middle of the running water. It was like there was a tiny forest of rock built up in that little spot. Amazing is all I can say.

    Just gets prettier This was built up by the carbon from the geyser There are little forests of rocks in here. Ok, It is just pretty Many have dried up
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Photography
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • PALLINA's Profile Photo

    terrific landscape

    by PALLINA Written Jul 20, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Terraces at Mammoth hot springs cannot be described unless showing pics of this wonderful and stunning nature's artcraft. In the morning can be very cold so that hot springs will produce a lot of fog, which can be very fashinating as well. Actually I raccomend to go there either early in the morning or just before sunset. The path is very easy, some steps, maybe long but absolutely unmissable until the end.

    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • Segolily's Profile Photo

    Still stunning

    by Segolily Written Jun 3, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Mammoth is such a great spot. Things have changed and are constantly changing here. The springs move locations leaving what used to be stunning white from the hotel area a dull gray. You have to go to the Upper Geyser area to see the best of the new terraces.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • HasTowelWillTravel's Profile Photo

    Mammoth Springs

    by HasTowelWillTravel Written Jun 24, 2008

    These springs, geologic relics of tavertine rock slowly building due to the deposits from the subsurface water, are eerie and unique. They remind you of a time when the earth was a more primal, primitive place, ruled by the forces of fire and water. But they are also hauntingly beautiful, an alien landscape dropped into Wyoming. The boardwalk exudes various smells as you walk around the different active areas.

    The pools on a cloudy day
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • National/State Park
    • Photography

    Was this review helpful?

  • PinkFloydActuary's Profile Photo

    Upper Terraces Trail

    by PinkFloydActuary Updated May 10, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Not quite as interesting as the lower terraces - the upper terraces still have their moments. Here, the loop is a one and a half mile paved loop that you can drive through if you're so inclined. Unless you're really long on time, I'd do the drive. The highlight for me is Orange Spring Mound - mainly due to it's pretty coloring. Bacteria and algae create the color on the mound, with a shape the result of water flow and mineral deposits. The final point on the loop is Angel Terrace, which also has some nice coloring in the formation. You can see some more sights in my Mammoth travelogue.

    Orange Spring Mound Angel Terrace

    Was this review helpful?

  • PinkFloydActuary's Profile Photo

    Lower Terraces Trail

    by PinkFloydActuary Updated May 10, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    There are two main trails that are used to see the geological features in the Mammoth Hot Springs area. The first is the Lower Terraces trail. Like many of the trails around the thermal areas, this one is a raised boardwalk, although there are many sections where you'll have to do a little climbing up some steps. Some of the features along this trail have very vibrant colors. You'll want to plan to spend time here - the path really isn't a loop, luckily there are a few maps along the way to help you figure out where you are. You can walk up to the main terrace and an overlook, but the views are as impressive as I expected. Among the highlights are Liberty Cap, a dormant 30+ foot cone and Minerva Terrace - which despite its current dormancy, is extremely intricate. You can see some more sights in my Mammoth travelogue.

    Minerva Terrace Main Terrace Liberty Cap

    Was this review helpful?

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo

    Lower Terraces

    by toonsarah Updated Oct 29, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Lower Terraces at Mammoth can be seen from the viewpoints on the Upper Terrace drive but are best explored on foot, either from there or from the parking lots on the main loop road below. The main features are the terraces themselves (Mound, Jupiter and Minerva, plus Opal on the other side of the road); a number of springs including the colourful Palette Spring; and the weird Liberty Cap formation, a 37 foot high outcrop said to resemble the knitted caps worn by freedom fighters in the French Revolution – though it looked like something rather different to me ;)

    The highlight of our visit to Mammoth was the patient posing of a bull elk on Opal Terrace who allowed us to take loads of photos while he (I suspect) warmed his back-side on what was a rather miserable, damp day.

    Elk on Opal Terrace (photo by Chris)
    Related to:
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Yellowstone National Park

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

23 travelers online now

Comments

Hotels Near Mammoth Hot Springs
3.5 out of 5 stars
4 Reviews
0.8 miles away
Show Prices
4.5 out of 5 stars
0.8 miles away
Show Prices
3.5 out of 5 stars
7 Reviews
0.8 miles away
Show Prices

View all Yellowstone National Park hotels