Boiling River

Yet another adventure! Thursday we went to Boiling River in Yellowstone. To sum up, it’s a natural hot spring. But it’s way more awesome than that sounds.

It’s supposed to be “secret”; that is, it’s not marked from the road. However, at this point, tons of people know where it is, and the trailhead is so close to the road that you can see the cars parked. AND, the turnoff is at the 45 latitude sign, so it is marked if you know what to look for. However, even though it’s relatively well-known, it’s still not too crowded in the off season (winter), so it feels kind of secret. Kind of.


(yes, it was snowing)

The spring is about a half mile walk down a trail that follows both the Gardiner River and the road in Yellowstone. And you can see the steam almost as soon as you start walking.


Basically, there’s a “river” (really a stream) that comes out from underground and feeds into the Gardiner River. No one is exactly sure where it originates, but most people seem to think the water is heated by the same activity that forms Mammoth Hot Springs, which isn’t too far from Boiling River. The stream tends to average somewhere around 140 F, so that’s not the place you actually jump in the water.

This is the Boiling River, where it comes out from underground.

The place to soak is where the Boiling River and the Gardiner mix, and it’s well enough established that it’s a little bit engineered.
There are stairs built into the river bank to make it easy to get in and out (and probably to keep people from jumping in randomly and really hurting/burning themselves) and then there is a sort of rock barrier between where the Boiling River comes in and the Gardiner River, allowing the water to mix and pool, so you have nice warm spots to sit in.


I don’t have any pictures of us soaking, because we were in the water. It’s a little more primitive than Norris, and i didn’t want to break/lose my camera. But basically, it was great. And for anyone who comes out to visit me, we’ll totally go (if you want to).


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3 Responses to “Boiling River”

  1. LUCADO Says:

    I want to go! Look out Montana … July will be here before you know it.

  2. daniel Says:

    wow awesome!
    what do you know about going there in the winter?

  3. meganinmontana Says:

    It’s easy to get there, and it’s open. The air and the cold river are just a lot colder than in the summer, and the rocks can be slippery if they have ice on them. But winter is a good time, because the hot water feels good. Just bring warm clothes, and bring them to the river – don’t leave them in your car.

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