We have visited Mammoth Hot Springs, with our in-laws and children, for the last 5 years. Why? The fall colors, smells and amazing sound of the elk bugling make this a very special trip.
Itinerary – (Personal transportation will be required)
Arrive at Mammoth and check in. Book reservations at http://www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/mammoth-hot-springs-hotel-cabins-95.html
We like to stay in the cabins rather than the hotel itself. Our arrival is typically in the afternoon and we enjoy drinks and an appetizer on the porch of the cabin. We usually venture out to find the elk, but there were plenty around the hotel this year and didn’t need to venture far.
We went to Gardner and ate at the Raven. We haven’t had good dinner experiences in the park lately. The meals have been expensive and not the quality one would expect for the amount charged. The Raven had a great menu and was a great alternative and is a short distance away. We usually drive the Old Gardner Road when weather permits. It provides a great view and we have encountered sheep many times.
We had breakfast in the dining room and the buffet was great.
We drove to Petrified Tree and hiked the trail to the Roosevelt Corrals, which was about 3 miles. Note: You will need a shuttle or a couple of people to run back and get the vehicles (the signs recommended hiking in groups of 3 due to animals). We ran into a few buffalo and had to sidestep up a hill to get around them. But, found hidden treasures of petrified wood and agate scattered. There is a small lake that you will pass along with a nice hike along a creek most of the way. It is a beautiful hike in the trees with the sound of running water. It was a very easy hike with good trails.
Crackers, cheese, apples, peanut butter, celery and a beverages on the porch was a great lunch. Many of us were still stuffed from the breakfast buffet.
Drive down the hill to the Boiling River which is located between mammoth and Gardner. The entrance is located by the 45th Parallel marker and the parking area is on the east (river) side of the road. There is a main parking area, along with an overflow across the street. It is about a 3/4 mile hike into the soaking area from the parking lot. Underground discharge of water from a source beneath the hydrothermal features flows out of the ground at over 100 degrees. The water flows into the Gardner River here and creates a blended temperature perfect for soaking. Rocks have been put around the perimeter and can accommodate a large amount of people. Ensure you have good water shoes and take a towel.
We all pile in the car and then drive to Chico Hot Springs. This is about a 40 mile drive from the Boiling River. It is a be 40 minute drive from the Boiling River. They have cabins should you decide to stay here for an evening instead of Mammoth. http://www.chicohotsprings.com/ We arrive and swim and soak in the pool area. Beverages can be purchased pool side which is always a bonus! We soak for an hour or 2. Our swimwear is traded in for casual attire and we migrate to the hotel lobby to play cards and read until our dinner time arrives. This is a fine dining restaurant with a casual/laid back atmosphere. Our personal favorite is the Beef Wellington (served for 2) and the Flaming Orange dessert.
Day 3 (back in Mammoth):
I personally like to get up and do an early morning walk/run around the Mammoth board walk. We have an early breakfast. We drive out through the West Entrance, so we stopped for a late afternoon walk around Old Faithful and lunch on the deck watching Old Faithful.
editorial contribution by Stacie Gebo