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Yellowstone National Park: Narrow Gauge

Link some of Yellowstone National Park’s most striking thermal features on this 5.2-mile loop near Mammoth Hot Springs.

Rating

Travel beyond Mammoth Hot Springs to discover some of Yellowstone’s more extraordinary thermal features, as well as classic views of Mount Everts, Bunsen Peak and the Gardner Canyon. Starting from the Mammoth Terrace Trail, turn right onto the Sepulcher Mountain Trail to head toward Hymen Terrace, a broad travertine formation backdropped by the stately Mount Everts.
Continuing to the west, pass through a grassy meadow frequented by grizzlies as the trail climbs upward at a moderate grade. After winding through woods dotted with Douglas firs and aspens, the trail flattens out around mile 2.1 and crosses into a broad, grassy field, offering superb panoramas of Mammoth Hot Springs, the surrounding mountains, and a pine-blanketed countryside.
From the grassy plateau, it’s an easy downhill to the Orange Spring Mound at mile 3.9. This 20-foot-high feature, which owes its signature orange hue to microbial bacteria, has grown so large that it actually hides the spring that feeds it. Less than a half mile further, the trail visits the Narrow Gauge Terrace where a set of terraced, travertine pools emit steam and vapors. Break out your camera to document this striking geothermal feature before heading back to Waypoint 4 and turning right to complete the loop.

MORE PARK INFO: Yellowstone National Park, (307) 344-7381; nps.gov/yell/.
-Mapped by Jeff Chow

To Trailhead

From Tower Junction, head northwest on Grand Loop Rd. for 18.1 miles. Turn left at Grand Loop Rd. and head south. Go 0.3 mile to trailhead parking.

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