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Hot Spring Terraces, Yellowstone National Park
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ADDRESS
Mammoth Hot Springs
Yellowstone Nat'l Park
Wyoming 82190
ACTIVITIES
Natural Wonder
 
 
 
Points of Interest Nearby
ACTIVE ADVENTURE
 
 

Hot Spring Pools, Mammoth Hot Springs

 

Photo by Alfredo De Simone

The white mountain of travertine is the main attraction at the Mammoth Hot Springs. This fast-changing hydrothermal area, one of the few active travertine terraces in the world, is thousands of years in the making. Marvel at the ornate step-like formation known as Minerva Terrace. Learn about thermophiles - heat-loving organisms that color hot spring pools orange, brown, yellow and green - at Canary Spring. Calculate the length of time it will take Opal Terrace to encroach on the nearby historic house. (Hint: Opal Terrace deposits 1 foot or 0.3 m of travertine a year.) Learn about pressure and time at Liberty Cap. Discover the difference between a terrace and mound on Upper Terrace Drive. Visit New Highland Terrace and witness the effects of calcium carbonate on trees. The hot spring terraces in Yellowstone's Mammoth district may not gurgle, bubble, stink or spurt but they fascinate kids nevertheless.
Getting There
 
The travertine terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs are accessible from Grand Loop Drive direction Norris. Parking is available at Upper Terrace Drive, Lower Terraces and Liberty Cap. Liberty Cap and Lower Terrace trails are a short walk from Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel. Upper Terrace Drive is accessible to wheeled vehicles mid-April through October. The boardwalks at Lower Terraces are open year-round weather permitting.
Getting Around
 
The easy 1-mile Lower Terrace Trail is predominately boardwalk yet it is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers to Liberty Cap only. The trek to the overlook is a steep climb up a long series of steps. The hot springs along Upper Terrace Drive, a 1.5-mile loop, are all visible from the roadway. Ranger-led walks and talks are offered seasonally at Lower Terrace Trail. NB: Be sure to pull your vehicle off the roadway when stopping at roadside turnouts and overlooks.
Things to Keep in Mind
 
Keep to boardwalks and trails. Swimming and bathing is prohibited in all hot spring pools. Do not throw objects into geothermal features. There is little reprieve from the sun on Mammoth Hot Spring Trails. Carry plenty of water. Wear a hat and sunscreen.
 
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