Best time to travel to Yellowstone National Park

Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park

These amazing colorful hot springs are changing and growing all the time. Come and observe beautiful terraces created by these springs

Best time: May–October

Mammoth Hot Springs
Mammoth Hot Springs
Mammoth Hot Springs
Mammoth Hot Springs
Exploring Palette Spring
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The Mammoth Hot Springs are one of the park's unique attractions. Located in the north-west part of Yellowstone, it is well known for its fantastic terraces. The fact that this is an active hydrothermal area means it is constantly growing and changing. That's why this beautiful spot is sometimes called a 'natural sculpture.

It is a perfect example of hot springs that deposit travertine. Hot waters that flow from Norris to Mammoth influence the surrounding limestone and constantly create new sculptures and pools.

The temperature in over 60 hot springs varies from 17°C to 74°C. You should avoid direct contact with the water as it can cause burns. Some of the most attractive features here are the Canary Spring, Minerva Terrace, Palette Spring, and Liberty Cap. The most colorful and beautiful is the Minerva Terrace. The avarage temperature of this spring is around 71,6°C.

But as the water cascades from one terrace to another, it cools and creates perfect condition for algae to grow. Blue and green algae together with cyanobacteria create these magical colors of green, yellow, orange, and red. It is especially beloved by photographers. The Main terrace includes several various springs, but the most popular is the Canary Spring. The temperature of the spring is 71°C and it has a gorgeous ultramarine colour. Prepare to spend some extra time here to marvel at these majestic natural pools.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Mammoth Hot Springs?

The ideal time to visit Mammoth Hot Springs is from May to October when the park is accessible and the weather is warm enough for exploration. It's essential to carry a warm outfit as temperatures tend to drop rapidly at night. Early mornings and late afternoons are ideal if you want to avoid the crowds and enjoy the springs peacefully. Show more

Where exactly in Yellowstone National Park are Mammoth Hot Springs located?

Mammoth Hot Springs lie at the northwest end of Yellowstone National Park, close to the Montana border. Gardiner, Montana is the nearest town, providing entrance into the park. Visitors can use the north entrance through Roosevelt Arch and follow the signs for about five miles to access Mammoth Hot Springs. Show more

How do natural terraces in Mammoth Hot Springs occur?

Mammoth Hot Springs' natural terraces result from hot water from Norris Geyser Basin depositing travertine on the surface. Chemical and mineral content create a unique environment for the creation of terraces and other sculptural features. Mammoth Hot Springs' water flow is dynamic, leading to the change of existing features and creation of new pools and terraces, culminating in an ever-evolving landscape. Show more

What is the temperature of the hot springs in Mammoth Hot Springs, and why is it important to avoid direct contact with the water?

The temperature of the hot springs in Mammoth Hot Springs ranges from 17°C to 74°C. Visitors must avoid direct contact with the water, as it can cause serious burns and injuries. Some springs have thin crusts that can break under weight. Boardwalks are designated for visitors to remain safe and avoid disruption of the springs' mineral environment. Touching the translucent grayish-white bacterial formation can alter its color, leading to a change in conditions critical to the hot springs' formation. Show more

What makes Minerva Terrace the most colorful and beautiful hot spring in Mammoth Hot Springs?

Minerva Terrace stands out from the other terraces and springs in Mammoth Hot Springs due to its beautiful appearance created by blue and green algae and cyanobacteria that grow in the cascading water, which results in its delicate and singular design. Minerva Terrace has varying temperatures due to the flowing water's cooling effect, leading to unique coloration due to the differences in mineral accretion throughout the terrace. Show more

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Authors: Olha Savych