→Note: this is the fifth post in a multi-part series covering Yellowstone National Park. Our journey originates in West Yellowstone, Montana.
Yellowstone National Park website link: Yellowstone National Park
Destination: Mammoth Hot Springs Area
⇒From West Yellowstone, drive 14 miles to Madison Junction, then drive east/northeast to Norris. Continue north from Norris Junction to Mammoth Hot Springs. Drive time between West Yellowstone and Mammoth Hot Springs: 1.25 hours.
Travel tip: early morning travel between West Yellowstone and Madison Junction calls for a good pair of sunglasses! The sun will be blinding (seriously) while traveling east on this road.
In the Mammoth area of the park, there is something incredible to see at every turn. From mountain vistas to the breathtaking terraces of the hot springs to beautiful historic buildings.
Did you know that the park headquarters, located at Mammoth, was originally a fort? It’s true. Fort Yellowstone was established in 1886 as Camp Sheridan to protect the park from visitor damage, devious developers, and interlopers. The first buildings of Fort Yellowstone were constructed in 1891, and of course other buildings followed. The Army relinquished the fort to the National Park Service in 1918. Most of the original buildings are still used today as offices and living quarters.
Stop in at the Albright Visitor Center to learn more about the history of Yellowstone National Park and Fort Yellowstone. Then take a walk through the Fort Yellowstone Historic District.
Travel tip: elk love the manicured lawns at the park headquarters. It is likely that you will see many of them grazing here or lying under trees in the shade. Remember to keep your distance, and do not approach them.
Okay, we’ve kept you waiting long enough. It’s time to see the springs and terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs. Below are some of of favorite shots. We will let the pictures speak for themselves.
While they appear to be icy in nature, the terraces are actually composed of travertine produced by the large amounts – about two tons per day – of calcium carbonate that comes up through the springs. The colors are created by those pretty little thermophiles.
We’re going to call this post done. Thank you for joining us at Mammoth Hot Springs. Don’t forget to come back next week when we post the Tower-Roosevelt section of the park. In the meantime, we will close with a picture of Rustic Falls as seen from a pull-out on the side of the road just before arriving at Mammoth.
Until the next trip…
Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!
Mike and Kellye
As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.