Mammoth Hot Springs

Mammoth Hot Springs: Visitors could spend days exploring this portion of the Park due to its wealth of everchanging geothermal features and historical information that can be found in the Albright Visitor Center and Museum. Mammoth Hot Springs remains the headquarters of Yellowstone National Park.
 

  • Albright Visitor Center & Museum: A great place to start exploring Mammoth Hot Springs is the Albright Visitor Center. Rangers here can provide information about the unique geologic features in the area, Yellowstone ecology, Historic Fort Yellowstone, recent wildlife sightings and activities to make your Yellowstone trip one to remember. The building itself is a historical site. In the early 1900s before the National Park Service was created, this building housed cavalry officers who protected the park. Services include:

    • Informational exhibits about the Park’s history and Wildlife

    • Ranger programs like seasonal Friday Junior Ranger Olympics and activities

    • A backcountry office to obtain permits for fishing, boating and backcountry camping

    • A Yellowstone Forever Bookstore and souvenirs

    • Restrooms and free Wi-Fi
       

  • Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces: A stop in Mammoth isn’t complete without seeing the beautiful and unique travertine terraces; the creation of a small mountain by this gigantic hot spring. These features are created when groundwater heated by the magma chamber rises back up to the surface through fissures carrying high levels of dissolved minerals such as calcium carbonate, the primary compound in limestone. These minerals are then deposited on the surface creating the beautiful limestone terraces. Several individual geothermal features have names that are displayed on signs with details of its origin. There are a few different ways to get up close and explore these terraces.
     

    • Lower Terrace Board Walk: Parking is available at the base of the terraces. There are 1.75 miles of boardwalks with 300 feet of elevation change. These boardwalks take you up close to beautiful geothermal features that make Yellowstone world famous. For your own safety never step off the boardwalk. If you don’t believe us just pick up a copy of “Death in Yellowstone” at the Albright Visitor Center bookstore. Of prominence at the base of the lower terrace is Liberty Cap, a 37-foot (11 m) high hot spring remnant who received its name in 1871 by the Hayden Survey who believed it looked like the peaked caps symbolizing freedom and liberty during the French Revolution. 
       

    • Upper Terrace Drive: Another great way to explore the terraces is from the top down. Located at the top of the terraces is the beginning of the upper terrace drive. From Mammoth drive south towards Norris. A large parking lot will be on your right (west side) in about 2 miles. At the north end of this parking lot is the entrance to the drive. This 1.5-mile-long one-way road winds through more interesting formations and breathtaking overlooks. No busses, RV’s, or trailers allowed. Additional parking areas are available on the drive to get out and explore this truly unique area.
       

  • Historic Fort Yellowstone: After America’s best idea became a reality, the park faced many threats from people looking to exploit Yellowstone’s resources rather than preserve them. The military was brought in to protect the park. Headquarters was located right in Mammoth. Thirty-five of the original structures fort remain today. These include administrative offices, officer’s quarters, the park chapel, etc. Take a tour through this historic section of the park and learn about the military presence in the early days of the park.
     

  • Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel & Cabins: The current Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel opened for business in 1937. Accommodations include 211 rooms as suites, located on the second and third floors of the hotel that include a bedroom with two queen size beds, a private bathroom, and a sitting area with chairs, couch, telephone, and television. Other rooms are standard, some with a queen size bed, private bathroom and others with shared bathrooms. Cabins are available with and without bathrooms.
     

    • Dining Room: Serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner on a first-come, first-serve basis.

    • Terrace Grill: Burgers, sandwiches, fries, and ice cream and restrooms for patrons.

    • Gift Shop: Provides a variety of gifts, souvenirs, apparel, jewelry, and a bookstore.

    • Lounge: A place to kick back, relax, and enjoy locally brewed beers and distilled spirits.

    • Map Room: A sort of commons area with a large map of the United States made of 2,544 pieces of wood. Checkerboard tables provide for a game to pass the time. In the evening alcoholic beverages are available along with piano music.
       

  • Yellowstone General Store: Similar to the other park stores with lots of souvenirs, apparel, small convenient store, coffee, ice cream station, water bottle filling station, and three tables outside.
     

  • Sinclair Service Station: Amenities include a small convenience store, air pump, firewood and propane for sale, and cold F’reals.
     

  • Public Restroom Facility: Multiple stalls, running water, and a baby changing station. A large parking lot is located just south of this facility.
     

  • Picnic Areas: Three total. The largest has 7 tables and is located across from the Park Superintendent headquarters.
     

  • Medical Clinic: Open year-round.

 

Fort Yellowstone Cemetery: Fort Yellowstone Army Cemetery is the burial place of U.S. Army soldiers and members of their families (or civilian employees of the U.S. Army and their families) who primarily served in Fort Yellowstone (originally named Camp Sheridan), established August 17, 1886, within the park on Beaver Creek near Mammoth Hot Springs. The fort’s purpose was to provide protection to the park, enforce gaming laws, and guard the area against vandals and commercial efforts that might negatively affect the many wonders of the Park. The fort was abandoned in 1918, but the cemetery, while overgrown with vegetation and not that well-kept, is located just northeast and on the other side of the road from the Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces and adjacent to the horse stables. It is surrounded by a green fence and worth taking the time to look at some of the remaining markers identifying those who played an early role in the preservation of Yellowstone National Park.

 

Kite Hill Cemetery: Kate Hill Cemetery was a civilian cemetery (named because early park employees and families would hike the hill to fly kites) for early park workers, has mostly succumb to the ravishes of time, but offers a unique setting from which to take a peek at some mysterious graves as it is located atop a hill behind the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel. It has 14 graves with only one monument still standing. That monument identifies that Mary J. Foster, 33, was buried June 10, 1883. Foster was from Madison County, North Carolina and was an employee of the hotel. A Sarry E. Bolding is also identified on the headstone although she died 4 years after Foster. Records indicate that others buried in the cemetery include two people who committed suicide, one who was murdered, and another who died in an avalanche.

 

Old Gardiner Road Trail: This unadvertised, 5-mile dirt road actually follows the historic stagecoach route (est. in the 1880’s) that early visitors to the park traveled from Gardiner, MT to Mammoth Hot Springs. Leaving the park, the road starts directly behind the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and terminates very near the North Entrance Gate. The unique experience offered by taking this route out of the park is a bird’s eye view of Mammoth, a far-reaching and mountain backdropped view of Gardiner, and a chance to travel a historic route used by most early visitors to the park and rarely traveled by today’s park visitors.
 

Beaver Ponds Trailhead: This 5-mile loop trail has two trailheads. This description is the trailhead that is located north of Liberty Cap geothermal feature and south of the parking area for the public restrooms. (The other trailhead is just north of the north end of Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and adjacent to the Old Gardiner Road). It begins with a 350-foot climb and soon you arrive at the junction with Sepulcher Mountain Trail. At the junction, take a right and the trail will begin to level out, crossing through meadows and some groves of aspen trees. At about the midway mark you come upon the first of a series of four small ponds, mostly nestled in depressions between ridges and surrounded by tall grasses and trees. Along this part of the trail, you get to enjoy Douglas fir and juniper trees, wildflowers, and aspen groves. The trail turns northeast after you encounter the third pond and soon turns back toward Mammoth traveling along a plateau known as Elk Plaza. Here you can see Gardiner, MT, Gardner Canyon, and Mount Everts. Continue the downward terrain until you arrive at the other trailhead just north of Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and adjacent to the Old Gardiner Road.

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