The Boiling River Hot Spring

December 12th, 2008

I’ve been meaning to make this post about my visit to the Boiling River hot spring in Yellowstone for a while, but I’ve been pretty busy with work and skiing. Anyway, here it is now:

Rock pools at the Boiling River

The Boiling River is a primitive hot spring just inside the North entrance to Yellowstone National Park - between Gardiner and Mammoth Hot Springs. I think you can hike to it from Mammoth, but we usually park at the trailhead to the north since that’s where we’re coming from. Basically, boiling hot water comes out a spring just above the Gardiner River, and where it mixes with the cold river water you can actually enjoy a comfortable soak. A rather large rock battlement has been erected in the river to make pools, but the current is still kind of strong sometimes. In most spots the hot water is too hot and the cold water is too cold, and the two extremes take turns washing over you, but here and there you can find a more constant mixture. The hot/cold thing is actually kind of fun, it’s just not the perfectly relaxing hot-tub experience you get in some springs.

Rock pools at the Boiling RiverBoiling River Rules and RegsElk at the Boiling River in Yellowstone

It is inside Yellowstone, so you do need a park pass. A day pass is pretty cheap though if you split it between a car-load of soakers. Being in the park means lots of wildlife, and there’s usually elk and buffalo around. It’s always fun to mix with the locals… just don’t get gored. The spring “closes” at 6PM to make sure no one is partying there late, but it “opens” at 5AM (??) if you want to get an early start. :)

It’s a bit of a drive from Bozeman so I don’t get down to the Boiling River all that often, but it’s a treat every time I do.

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