We ventured way north for day 3 of our time in Yellowstone. Mammoth Springs was our goal and after an early start and a few stops along the way to look at bears we made it into Mammoth. None of the bears were close and many friendly people let us look in their high powered scopes to get closer looks.
Mammoth is known for its hots springs and travertine terraces. These are not the type of hot springs that one gets to sit in a enjoy, they are far too hot and too active for that. Daily about 1.4 million gallons of water is discharged from the hot springs and an estimated two tons of new travertine (which is dissolved calcium carbonate from the underlying limestone) is deposited. The hot springs and terraces are constantly changing and what is active on one day may not be active on the next.
After parking and a quick walk to the bathroom we started the lower terrace walk. It is a series of board walks that takes one up and around the terraces. Not only does it give great views of the terraces and springs but also amazing views of the surrounding area up into Canada. LIberty Cap was our first stop and it is an extinct hot spring cone. From there we walked around the terraces. My words won’t do them justice and so I’ll let my photos do some talking for me.
After exploring we were all hungry and ready for some lunch. It was getting windy so we dropped the back seat in the van and made a nice little area to sit and eat our lunches out of the crazy wind that had picked up. While we were eating, Clint ran over to the Ranger station and asked about good hikes that a 5 year old could do. We were told that the Beaver Ponds loop was a great and appropriate hike for someone that age. The weather looked threatening but that has never stopped us before, so we geared up and loaded up and took off. With everything except for the map….
The trail was easy to find despite not having the map and beautiful. Again I’ll let my photos do most of the talking. Leighton was a trooper. There were some whines but all in all he did pretty good. We did get rained on a few times, but the views made it worth it. It was longer then we had anticipated and come to find out probably longer than we had planned or thought possible with an almost 5 year old and a 2 year old. However as I said already, it was probably one of the most beautiful hikes I have ever been on.
When we did make it back we looked at our map and discovered that it was 6 miles long and we had spent the majority of the hike in Montana. Montana is breathtaking and on our list of places to visit again someday. It was late into the afternoon by the time we made it back to the car and while we had talked about stopping in Norris on our way back, everyone was tired and so we headed back to the cabin for dinner and some good sleep. My only regret is that instead of driving East Entrance->Canyon->Norris->Mammoth both ways, we had gone from Mammoth->Tower->Canyon and then back out the East Entrance. We never did make that small part of the loop while we were there, and there was just minimal distance between the routes. But it means that we will have to make the trip again and explore that section. 🙂