Orange and white terraces light up the hillside at Mammoth Hot Springs. Sculpted into terraces, the limestone slope changes annually as the hot spring alters flow. When spring water comes to the surface, it deposits minerals, which in turn provide a home for heat-loving organisms. Among Yellowstone’s hot springs, the mineral makeup here is unique.
To access the mountainside, boardwalks cross the Upper and Lower Terraces. On the Lower Terrace, the 37-foot-tall Liberty Cap cone stands at the entrance to Minerva Terrace and Palette Spring. From the Lower Terrace, stairs lead to the Upper Terrace where Canary Spring steams on the eastern slope.
For cars, a short, narrow paved road loops around the Upper Terrace. To see most of the features requires parking and walking. From the Upper Terrace, visitors can also overlook the small village of Mammoth Hot Springs, which once served as a military garrison. Toward the back of the driving loop, Orange Spring Mound rises in a wide cone.
Contrary to other parts of the park that close in winter, Mammoth Hot Springs is open year round. For cars, snow closes the driving loop on the upper terrace in winter, but cross-country skiers can glide around the route.