Choose from 3 hiking options in the Mammoth Hot Springs area: Slower paced 3 mile hike; elevation gain/loss of 350'. Medium paced 4-5 mile hike; elevation gain/loss 350'. Faster paced 6-7 mile hike; elevation gain/loss of up to 1,000'. All hikes/walks will be on dirt & rocky trails with uneven terrain. All hikes may vary from the description based on conditions, hikes will be finalized & described by the instructor the night before.
In our meeting room located in the church’s basement a short walk from the hotel, enjoy a catered breakfast with a hot entrée and sides, plus water, coffee, tea and juice.
Morning introduction provides an overview of the Greater Yellowstone area. Known for its geothermal activity and diverse ecosystems, Yellowstone spans 2.2 million acres of valleys, canyons, rivers, lakes and mountain ranges. Sometimes called “Wonderland”, the park is home to the highest concentration of wildlife in the lower 48 states and is at the core of one of the last undisturbed ecosystems in the Earth’s temperate zone. Mid-morning we will then board onto SUVs for our first hiking adventure. Hikers will have the option to choose from different levels of hikes based on preference and ability. Your instructor will give description of all three hiking options offered.<>br>< We will board our SUVs according to hiking groups and head into Yellowstone National park to our first hiking destination. As we enter the Mammoth District, you will right away notice the Mammoth Hot Springs, which are the main attraction of this area. These features are quite different from thermal areas elsewhere in the park. Travertine formations grow much more rapidly than sinter formations due to the softer nature of limestone. As hot water rises through limestone, large quantities of rock are dissolved by the hot water, and a white chalky mineral is deposited on the surface. Mammoth Hot Springs are a surficial expression of the deep volcanic forces at work in Yellowstone. The hiking options offered will be in and around this area and will help you determine your comfort level hiking on the rocky terrain and high elevations.
We will enjoy trail side sack lunches including sandwich, chips, fruit & cookie.
After lunch we will continue our hike and the immersion into the Yellowstone ecosystem and become more familiar with its various life zones. Our daily exploratory hikes with commentary from our instructor are hands-on discovery of marshland, high desert, forest, hydrothermal and grasslands communities. You'll understand how their geologic bones, together with elevation and weather, evolved into vibrant habitats populated by the flora and fauna that is present today.You may have time for additional walking on the several hundred stairs that lead over the large complex of hot springs on a hill of travertine terraces.
This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like and is a great opportunity to check out your hiking headquarters in Gardiner. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.
An evening at leisure to enjoy camaraderie and the view from the back patio which overlooks the grand Yellowstone River which is revving up for spring runoff.