Yellowstone National Park is popularly known for its beautiful landscapes, fascinating wildlife, and unique geological features. This includes geysers, hot springs, and mud pots. One of Yellowstone’s most famous hot springs is the Mammoth Hot Springs, located in the northern part of the park. However, many visitors wonder if they can swim in Mammoth Hot Springs or other Yellowstone hot springs.
Unfortunately, visitors cannot swim in the Mammoth Hot Springs Yellowstone. It is because the water in the Mammoth Hot Springs, as the name suggests, is boiling, which could also lead to fatal burns. However, there are still several hot spots in Yellowstone where you can swim safely.
Read this article to learn about other Yellowstone hot spots where visitors can swim.
What Are Mammoth Hot Springs?
Mammoth Hot Springs is a series of terraced hot springs located in the northwest corner of Yellowstone National Park. The hot springs are formed by water that seeps deep into the ground and is heated by the magma beneath the park. The hot water rises to the surface, bringing dissolved minerals such as calcium carbonate, creating stunning terraces and other formations.
Why Can’t You Swim In Mammoth Hot Springs?
While the hot springs in Mammoth Hot Springs may look inviting, swimming in them is strictly prohibited for several reasons. First, the water in the hot springs is boiling, with temperatures ranging from 140 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit. This water could cause severe burns or even death if a person were to fall in or try to swim.
Second, the water in the hot springs contains high levels of minerals, including calcium carbonate, which can harm the skin and eyes. Finally, the hot springs are a fragile ecosystem, and any disturbance, such as swimming, can damage the delicate formations and disrupt the natural processes that occur in the hot springs.
Where Can You Swim In Yellowstone?
Although swimming is not allowed in Mammoth Hot Springs or any other hot springs in Yellowstone, there are still several hot spots where you can swim safely. The following are some of the best places to take a dip in Yellowstone:
- Boiling River
The Boiling River is a unique hot spring where the hot water from a thermal feature mixes with the cold water from the Gardner River. The result is a warm, soothing river where visitors can soak and relax. The water temperature in the Boiling River is around 90 degrees Fahrenheit, which is perfect for a comfortable soak. The Boiling River is located near the park’s north entrance and is accessible via a short hike from the parking area.
Watch this fun video of visitors swimming at the Boiling River:
Swimming in the Boiling River with Elk! – Yellowstone National Park – Mammoth Campground
- Firehole River
The Firehole River is a popular swimming spot in Yellowstone, especially during summer. The river is fed by several hot springs and geysers in the area, which gives it a warm temperature of around 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The Firehole River has several designated swimming areas, including the Firehole Falls and Biscuit Basin swimming areas.
- Yellowstone Lake
Yellowstone Lake is the largest body of water in Yellowstone National Park and is a popular spot for swimming, boating, and fishing. The lake has several beaches where visitors can swim safely, including the West Thumb Geyser Basin Beach, the Fishing Bridge Beach, and the Grant Village Beach. The water temperature in Yellowstone Lake ranges from around 40 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the time of year.
- Lewis River Channel
The Lewis River Channel is a narrow, shallow river that connects Lewis Lake to Shoshone Lake. The river has several hot springs along its banks, which gives it a warm temperature of around 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The Lewis River Channel is a popular spot for tubing and floating during the summer months, and visitors can also swim in designated areas.
- Gardner River
The Gardner River is a popular spot for fishing, kayaking, and swimming in Yellowstone National Park. The river has several swimming areas, including the Boiling River, a unique hot spring where hot and cold water mix, and the 45th Parallel Bridge, which has a deep swimming hole. The Gardner River has a temperature of around 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the time of year.
Tips For Swimming In Yellowstone
If you plan to swim in any of the hot spots in Yellowstone, there are some essential safety tips to remember. First, always check the water temperature before entering. Even if a hot spring or river looks calm, the water temperature can be extremely hot or cold, which can be dangerous.
Second, always follow the park’s rules and regulations regarding swimming and other activities. Swimming is prohibited in most thermal features and can result in fines or arrest. Additionally, it’s essential to be aware of the potential presence of wildlife near water sources, such as bears or moose. Visitors should keep a safe distance from these animals and avoid approaching them, as they can be unpredictable and dangerous.
Lastly, visitors should also be aware of the risk of hypothermia, especially in the colder months. Wearing appropriate clothing and being aware of the weather can help prevent this dangerous condition. Following these safety precautions, visitors can safely swim in Yellowstone National Park.
While you cannot swim in Mammoth Hot Springs or any other hot springs in Yellowstone, there are still several hot spots where you can swim safely. The Boiling River, Firehole River, Yellowstone Lake, Lewis River Channel, and Gardner River are all popular spots for swimming and relaxing in the warm water.
However, following the park’s rules and regulations and practicing safety measures are essential to ensure a fun and enjoyable experience in Yellowstone National Park.