Mammoth Hot Springs is incredibly unique and breathtaking in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming near Montana, USA.
Today, the Yellowstone National Park discovery initiative travels east and north through Yellowstone National Park from West Yellowstone to Gardiner, Montana. There is a virtually endless array of beautiful attractions, features and natural treasures within a visual and photographic extravaganza.
Following the final breakfast at the Outpost Restaurant in West Yellowstone, it is difficult to bid a fond farewell to the staff who have become like family. Road travel east begins early through Yellowstone National Park where the trip north passes through Madison Junction (elevation: 6,806 ft, 2,091 M).
On the way to Norris Junction (7,484 ft, 2,281 M) there is an opportunity to stop briefly to enjoy Gibbon Falls. The next stop is a mile-long loop hike at Artist's Paint Pots which are steaming vigorously in cool morning air. Colors and texture are awesome and unique.
At Norris Junction the drive turns north past the Norris Geyser Basin and beautiful Nymph Lake.
The next roadside stop is at Roaring Mountain which is punctuated with steaming fumaroles as super-heated water seeps its way to the surface.
The drive north continues through the incredibly beautiful and sheer Obsidian Cliff area but, unfortunately, photos are not feasible due to light conditions and the nature of the very narrow pass. A quick stop at Sheepeater Cliff is interesting as columnar volcanic rock mimics carved monuments.
Continuing north, the drive passes through the Golden Gate area, spanned by a bridge stuck to the side of the mountain and crowned by a beautiful road-side waterfall. At at an elevation of 8,564 ft (2,610 M), fire-scarred Bunsen Peak is prominent to the right.
On the approach to the north end of Yellowstone National Park, the unfolding scenery is nothing short of breath-taking on this warm, clear day. Lakes like mirrors, rolling mountains and cliffs saturate the view at every turn along the twisting road.
Approaching the north end of the park there is an irresistible one-way, side-road trip through the stunningly beautiful and unique Narrow Gauge Terrace in the Upper Terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs. This is photographic heaven as the tour passes hot spring formations created over hundreds of thousands of years.
The drive through Mammoth Hot Springs and past Yellowstone National Park Headquarters continues to a quick drop in elevation on harrowing road beside a deep canyon.
Leaving the park is followed by driving through Roosevelt Arch before crossing the bridge over the roaring Yellowstone River deep in the canyon below to secure overnight accommodation in Gardiner, Montana around noon.
Picturesque St. William’s Catholic Church is across the street from Gardiner, Montana overnight accommodation.
The grass roots Town Café is chosen for lunch and serves the best chicken-rice soup ever encountered. They serve chocolate malted milkshakes so this becomes the go-to regular haunt where the accumulation of new relationships begins.
In late afternoon there is time to launch a reconnaissance mission to Mammoth Hot Springs just 5 miles (8 KM) back inside the park.
Yellowstone National Park Headquarters is adjacent to Mammoth Hot Springs. The headquarters is a small town inhabited by park personnel and the local workforce which caters to the huge and dynamic tourist population. Modern facilities include an upscale hotel, restaurants and a variety of shops. The site is also saturated with immaculately restored and fully functional buildings. From 1886 to 1918 this location was a military base called Fort Yellowstone. The facility has a rich historical past.
Following a spectacular sunset, a huge and very orange ¾ moon resting over the top of nearby mountains provides a fitting end to a long, phenomenal day. Absolutely incredible!