Mammoth Hot Springs is one of the main areas of Yellowstone National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s the location of spectacular travertine terraces created by thousands of years of crystalized calcium carbonate.
I wasn’t overly impressed with Mammoth Hot Springs. Yes, it was amazing, but after visiting Pamukkale in Turkey, this didn’t compare.
I started at the lower level of the terraces. The first feature I noticed was Liberty Cap. This 45 foot cone is an extinct spring that grew from deposits from a water flow. It’s name comes from the caps worn by colonial patriots during the Revolutionary War. Whoever named it must have had a better imagination than I do.
Next, I came to Palette Spring. It’s made up of several different colors like an artist’s palette.
Further along the boardwalk is Minerva Terrace. It’s one of the most elaborate terraces at Mammoth.
Another terrace named after Cleopatra is near Minerva Terrace.
According to interpretive panels on the boardwalk, Jupiter Terrace used to flow with beautiful pools and brilliant colors, but has been dormant since 1998. If it doesn’t become active again, it will fill with soil and trees and grasses will grow there.
The features at the top of Mammoth Hot Springs are the most spectacular, in my opinion. Main Terrace is at the top and is the best place to get a good look at the pools.
Nearby is Canary Spring, which in some parts was white as snow. It has been the most active spring in the group.