Located near the north entrance of Yellowstone National Park, Mammoth Hot Springs has many natural areas to explore and is in close proximity to the historic buildings of Fort Yamhill and the Albright Visitor Center. It’s a great place to spend a few hours or even a few days.
Yellowstone National Park’s unique features can be attributed to the volcanic activity that has shaped and continues to alter the landscape. The signature tiers of the hot springs are formed when mineral-laden hot water from deep within the Earth travels to the surface and the deposits build up over time. Thousands of gallons of water flows through the landscape daily, which has been the case for thousands of years. Microorganisms that can survive in the extreme heat of the water create the unique colors.
The buildup of minerals is ever changing and can lead to some interesting formations such as the Liberty Cap. This 37-foot-tall formation was created over time by concentrated hot spring minerals. The name comes from its resemblance to the peaked knit caps that symbolized freedom and liberty during the French Revolution. This feature is easily accessible by the boardwalk.
The boardwalk and trails connect the large, sprawling Mammoth Hot Springs. The sights and smells vary throughout the area, with interesting features and viewpoints. The trails are not maintained during the winter, but they can still be explored. There is also the option of driving to the Upper Terrace Drive during the summer/fall season.
A variety of wildlife such as bison, elk, deer, and birds, can be seen in the area, sometimes using the same trails. Wildlife is just that, wild. Keep a safe distance and avoid disturbing them if possible.
The exhibits in the Albright Visitor Center have recently been redone and offer the opportunity to learn more about the amazing wildlife and ecology found within the northern part of the park. The interpretive displays can help you plan your adventures, get current weather reports and road conditions. And for those passport stamp junkies, it’s one of many places inside Yellowstone National Park to get your stamp!