Escape the crowds at one of Yellowstone National Park's most popular junctions by walking to little-known Narrow Gauge Terrace. Hike in a group of three or more to stay safe in bear country. Or enjoy the hike vicariously! Words and photos by Beth Chapple, editor at Granite Peak Publications.
Mammoth Hot Springs
A Hike to Narrow Gauge Terrace
June 22, 2017
Part of the main terrace at Mammoth Hot Springs, Palette Spring is one of the
first you encounter when entering from the North Entrance to Yellowstone
Lower Hymen Terrace
Much of the travertine here is now old and gray, but there is some activity next
to Clematis Creek and the trailhead.
Trail to Narrow Gauge Terrace
You can see you will be leaving the boardwalks and crowds behind. Be bear
Sepulcher Mountain Trailhead
Start the trail along Clematis Creek at the west side of the bus parking lot. The
trail also leads to Beaver Ponds and the Howard Eaton Trail. Note the black
arrow on this top half of the map on page 265 of Yellowstone Treasures.
Look back over the trail where you
The view encompasses Liberty Cap and a few
terraces, part of Mammoth Village, and Mount
Lupine and arrowleaf balsamroot grow in a riot
First glimpse of Narrow Gauge Terrace
After twenty more minutes, during which the trail changes from steep with loose rock to
shady forest, soft from needles, you can see your first glimpse of the hot spring.
Narrow Gauge Terrace
From above, the formation resembles a narrow-gauge railroad
The active spring
Zooming in shows the steaming, streaming part of the
The runoff, with its bacterial mats and algae, sparkled in the sun, while purple
fringed gentian grew surprisingly close by.
Elk resting by the private
Back down in Mammoth Village, nature reminds us that it’s the middle of a hot
More from Granite Peak
Publications you might enjoy
Yellowstone Treasures guidebook,
updated 5th edition
Through Early Yellowstone travel
stories and watercolors, 1871-1916