If you’re looking for things to do at Mammoth Hot Springs, look no further! These top tourist attractions will keep you entertained for hours.
Mammoth Hot Springs is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Yellowstone National Park and for justifiable grounds. It’s home to one of the world’s largest geothermal areas, with bubbling hot springs and steaming fumaroles (volcanic vents) popping up almost everywhere you look.
The area also features several hiking trails that lead right into this active thermal landform, making it easy for visitors to explore this remarkable landscape, no matter their fitness level or experience.
People looking for things to do in Mammoth Hot Springs should read this list! These are the best attractions in the area, and people will have a lot of fun if they visit them.
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This 7-day tour takes you to some of the most magnificent national parks in America. Yellowstone, Grand Tetons and Bryce Canyon will all be explored on foot by walking trails. You'll also explore Salt Lake City and Provo Lake which are both great for those with limited mobility.
Show Table of Contents
- Things to do in Mammoth Hot Springs
- 1. Admire the Boiling River
- 2. Hike Bunsen Peak
- 3. Visit the Upper Terraces and the Lower Terraces
- 4. Pitch a tent at Mammoth Campground
- 5. Go fishing
- 6. Learn more at the Albright Visitor Center
- 7. Spend a day in Gardiner, Montana
- 8. Hike to Sheepeater Cliff
- 9. Hike the Roadside Geology Trail between Norris and Mammoth Hot Springs
- 10. Book a stay at Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and Cabins
- 11. Snap pics at Roosevelt Arch
- 12. Visit historic Fort Yellowstone
- What is Mammoth Hot Springs Known For?
- Is Mammoth Hot Springs Worth it?
- Can you walk on Mammoth Hot Springs?
- Is it safe to swim in Mammoth Hot Springs?
Things to do in Mammoth Hot Springs
Explore our favorite tourist attractions and activities when visiting Mammoth Hot Springs.
1. Admire the Boiling River
The Boiling River is one of Yellowstone’s most popular destinations – which will be obvious as soon as you see it. The hot spring water is great for relaxing, and the setting is stunning. To reach the Boiling River, you must hike halfway through the park.
The trail can be rough in places, so wearing sturdy shoes is a good idea. Once you reach the river, you can head to the section where the warm thermal features mix with the hot water.
Please be careful – some parts of the river can be very hot and rush quite rapidly. If you have children, please always exercise extreme caution and supervision.
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2. Hike Bunsen Peak
Bunsen Peak is a great hike for anyone visiting Mammoth Hot Springs. The trail is well-maintained and runs through a forest at 1,300 ft before climbing to the summit of Bunsen Peak.
The views from the top are spectacular, and the hike is relatively easy, making it a great option for people of all fitness levels. Just be sure to wear proper footwear, as there is a lot of rock scrambling along the trail.
Bring snacks and pop to celebrate reaching the summit if you’re hiking with kids! A hike tour in Yellowstone offers a great hike to Bunsen Peak.
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3. Visit the Upper Terraces and the Lower Terraces
The Upper Terraces were formed by hot springs and mineral formations. The terraces are a series of travertine pools created as water seeped into the porous rock below them, depositing minerals along its path.
This feature occurs all over Yellowstone National Park, but these specific terraces are unique because they were formed at one time when only one large spring was flowing through Mammoth Hot Springs.
The best place to see this phenomenon is along Grand Loop Drive, directly across from Liberty Cap (which should be on your left). A short walk down an easy-to-navigate pathway will take you from Liberty Cap to the main street, where you can easily see the terrace.
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4. Pitch a tent at Mammoth Campground
Mammoth Hot Springs is the perfect place to go camping. The Mammoth Campground in Yellowstone National Park is the perfect spot to set up camp if you want to get away from it all and explore the great outdoors.
With over 1,000 campsites available, there’s sure to be a spot just right for you. The camping areas at Mammoth Campground are Mammoth and Lake & Brook; both offer fishing and hiking opportunities.
If you want to return to nature, you can choose a rustic site with a fireplace (perfect for roasting marshmallows!) or opt for something more modern at one of the RV sites with amenities like water hookups and electricity.
Mammoth Campground is open from June through September, but there are no set reservations; instead, it operates on a first-come basis with no reservations required. So, book your tour early if you plan a trip to Yellowstone during peak season.
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5. Go fishing
Mammoth Hot Springs is home to many different types of fish, making it the perfect place to go fishing. Several fishing opportunities are near the Mammoth Hot Springs area, including the Firehole River, where you can fish for brown and rainbow trout.
Several creeks in the area offer good fishing for brook trout. If you’re just getting started, you can try fishing in one of the many ponds and rivers in the area.
These ponds are well stocked with fish, so you’re sure to have a good time. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or just getting started, you’ll be able to find the perfect spot to cast your line.
6. Learn more at the Albright Visitor Center
Albright Visitor Center & Museum is a great place to learn about the history of Yellowstone National Park. The museum highlights everything from the geological history of Yellowstone and how it relates to other supervolcanoes around the world to cultural history and wildlife.
You’ll also find exhibits on Native American tribes who lived in this region. This area was once home to 11 distinct tribes that spoke different languages but shared similar traditions and values.
You’ll learn about their customary practices and how they would have lived back then, which gives you a greater appreciation for nature and the modern-day park with all it has to offer. It’s a sight to see and explore on a Yellowstone tour.
The Albright Visitor Center & Museum is also where you can pick up maps and pamphlets, ask questions, and get information on park amenities and events.
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7. Spend a day in Gardiner, Montana
Gardiner is a small town located in the northeast corner of Yellowstone National Park. It’s a great place to stay if you’re looking for a more intimate experience in the park, as there are only a few hotels and restaurants in town.
Gardiner is also home to some of the best wildlife viewing in Yellowstone. You can find bison, elk, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, and more just by driving around town!
If you’re interested in learning more about the history of Yellowstone, make sure to stop by the Yellowstone Heritage and Research Center. The center is free and open to the public, and it houses an extensive collection of artifacts, documents, and photographs relating to the park’s history.
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8. Hike to Sheepeater Cliff
Are you looking for a hidden gem in Yellowstone National Park? Then check out Sheepeater Cliff Overlook. This little-known spot is one of the best places to see amazing basalt column rocks.
And if you’re brave enough to look over the edge, you’ll be treated to a stunning view of the canyon below, filled with hot water. To get to Sheepeater Cliff Overlook, follow the signs from the parking lot and walk down some stairs.
From there, it’s only a short walk out onto a rocky ledge – but make sure not to fall! Trust us, this hidden hike is definitely worth the effort and the scares!
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9. Hike the Roadside Geology Trail between Norris and Mammoth Hot Springs
You’ll want to do this hike if you’re interested in learning more about the geology of Yellowstone National Park. The 2.5-mile trail is flat and accessible to all, but some steep sections require careful footing; in addition, most of the trail is covered in gravel, with some sections of dirt and mud.
The Roadside Geology Trail between Norris and Mammoth Hot Springs is open year-round, although most visitors find that summer offers better conditions for hiking.
This hike is not particularly strenuous, and it’s definitely worth seeing because it offers excellent views of Yellowstone Lake and a close look at some unique geological features along its path (such as calderas).
See Related: Best Things to Do in Yellowstone National Park
10. Book a stay at Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and Cabins
If you’re looking for a place to stay near Mammoth Hot Springs, the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and Cabins is a great option. The hotel offers guests a restaurant, lounge, and delicious local ice cream!
I’ll be honest; the main draw for this place is the food. The Mammoth Hotel Dining Room is located in the historic building and offers three meals daily. Breakfast is served from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., lunch from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and dinner from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. The dining room is open year-round.
The menu features dishes like grilled Montana salmon, bison short ribs, and huckleberry pie. The Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and Cabins is a great choice for travelers near Mammoth Hot Springs.
It’s important to book early if possible, as the hotel tends to fill quickly! If you’re looking for other hotels near the area, you can find deals at Booking.com.
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11. Snap pics at Roosevelt Arch
The North Entrance of Yellowstone National Park is through the Roosevelt Arch. Robert Reamer and built-in 1903 designed the arch. It is named for the champion of America’s national parks, President Theodore Roosevelt. The archway is 50 feet high and 45 feet wide.
If you plan on arriving in the Mammoth Hot Springs area from Bozeman, you’ll inevitably drive through Gardiner and the Roosevelt Arch to enter Yellowstone Park itself. Snap a photo with it before you enter!
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12. Visit historic Fort Yellowstone
If you’re looking to explore the history of Yellowstone within the Mammoth area, the historic Fort Yellowstone is the perfect place to start.
This fort was built in 1872 and served as the headquarters for the U.S. Army’s efforts to protect the park from poachers and vandals before control was transferred to the National Park Service in 1918.
Today, Fort Yellowstone houses a museum with exhibits on the military history of Yellowstone as well as the park’s natural history and impact on Montana as well as Wyoming.
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What is Mammoth Hot Springs Known For?
Mammoth Hot Springs is one of the most popular destinations in Yellowstone National Park, and it’s easy to see why. The hot springs are truly a sight to behold, with their terraced pools and cascading waterfalls.
But Mammoth Hot Springs is more than just a pretty face; it’s an exceedingly active geological region. The hot springs are actually fed by an immense magmatic chamber beneath the earth’s surface. Rainwater seeps through the rocks and is heated by the magma before rising to the surface and forming the hot springs.
The warm waters flow slowly from one basin to another, depositing limestone on the surface. Over time, these deposits create the terraces characteristic of Mammoth Hot Springs. So next time you’re admiring the hot springs, remember that you see evidence of millions of years of geological activity.
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Is Mammoth Hot Springs Worth it?
Mammoth Hot Springs is worth visiting. They’re one of Yellowstone’s main attractions and have many cool aspects.
You can walk along the boardwalks to see all the different areas, including the Mammoth Terraces (Upper Terraces and Lower Terraces), the hot spring, and the hot springs cone, Liberty Cap. There’s also a visitor center with exhibits about the area.
Can you walk on Mammoth Hot Springs?
The walkways are accessed via parking on Upper Terrace Drive, adjacent to Terrace Mountain, or beneath Lower Terraces on Liberty Cap, an empty hot spring cone.
Upper Terrace Drive has a 1.5-mile one-way loop accessible by any vehicle with no motor vehicle, RV, or trailer. You will want to park and walk the short distance to the boardwalk that loops around the hot springs.
Lower Terrace Drive has a 0.5-mile one-way loop with few parking places. The best place to start exploring is at the Liberty Cap Parking Area, where a short boardwalk loops around the hot springs.
Is it safe to swim in Mammoth Hot Springs?
No, you cannot swim in the Mammoth Hot Springs themselves. The water is very hot (can be up to 199 degrees Fahrenheit) and contains high levels of sulfur, making it lethal and, therefore, completely unsafe for swimming.
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a seasoned traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers find their next adventure, whether it’s exploring new places or revisiting old favorites.
He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wonderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). He loves listening to people’s stories from around the world as well as sharing his own experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.