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Yellowstone Driving Guide: West Yellowstone to Mammoth Hot Springs

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Best Season

Spring, Summer, Fall

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West Yellowstone, Norris, Mammoth Hot Springs


Madison, Indian Creek, Norris, Mammoth


West Yellowstone, Mammoth Hot Springs, Gardiner

The Trail:

For an overview of our entire Yellowstone National Park Driving Guide visit the overview page by clicking here.

The road from West Yellowstone to Mammoth Hot Springs offers a lot of different options and has some of my favorite areas of the park. The area from West Yellowstone to Madison Junction is a series of beautiful open meadows with cliffs on either side and the road follows the Madison River.

This area is great for wildlife viewing where you can often find Elk, Bison, and Birds.

From Madison junction you will turn left or North. You will quickly come to Gibbon Falls that is just a very short walk to the view point of the 84 foot falls the pour over the Yellowstone volcano caldera.

Next up you will pass the Artist Paint Pots which make a nice short boardwalk hike that is great for families. Info can be found here:

Artist Paint Pots Trek

Next up you will come to Norris Junction. Right will take you to canyon. I would recommend driving just a couple miles toward canyon to take the Virginia Cascades road. It is a cool 80 foot cascade. Once you are done with the one way road head back to Norris Junction.

Norris Geyser Basin is located right at the junction and is one of the best basins in the park and features the tallest geyser on earth. Info found here:

Norris Geyser Basin Trek

Heading north from Norris there are several roadside thermal features. You will soon see the Norris Geyser Basin Overlook where you can see steam coming up from many different spots.

The views of the Gallatin Mountain range are spectacular from here until Mammoth.

Sunsets here are breathtaking.

One of the more interesting but not very scenic thermal features is called Frying Pan Spring. It boils very quickly making it sound like bacon cooking.

Next up roaring mountain is another interesting spot where the ground is so hot it has literally cooked the hillside.

Further toward Mammoth the terrain opens up into large meadows with many ponds and small lakes that look gorgeous with the Gallatin Range as a backdrop.

Next up you will see Bunsen Peak on the right.

This is the trail head for Osprey Falls which is my favorite waterfall in Yellowstone. Info can be found here:

Osprey Falls Trek

Just past Bunsen Peak you will see a large bridge in the road.

Just before you see the bridge if you look behind you, you will see Rustic Falls which is a very pretty 40 foot fan type waterfall.

Next up you will see some interesting white rocks on the left that have a short one way road that takes you through the large rocks.

As the road descends down into Mammoth Hot Springs the view of Bunsen Peak is much more impressive than before.

Mammoth Hot Springs is a great little town that often has wildlife wandering around town. There is also a hotel, museum, restaurant, and visitor center.

Exploring the springs themselves is a nice hike that can be found here:

Mammoth Hot Springs Trek

From Mammoth you can go east toward Tower or West toward Gardiner, Montana. On the road to Gardiner is the very popular Boiling River which are the only legal hot springs to swim in that are part of the Grand Loop road system. Info can be found here:

Boiling River Trek

There is an alternate route to get to Gardiner. There is a one way dirt road that starts in town called the Old Gardiner Road. The road offers gorgeous views with the best being Electric Peak which is the crown jewel of the Gallatin Range. The road is easy for any vehicle as long as its not muddy.

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About The Author
I love adventure! I live in Cache Valley, Utah. Do you have questions on any of my Treks? Email me @ joshua.oyler@gmail.com

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