Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Boiling River

Saturday August 20, 2011
Mammoth Hot Springs Campground
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yesterday’s snake pictures
drew most of the comments so
for Gail and other snake squeamish folks
I'll try to remember to do a snake alert warning
next time I post a picture.  :-)
But I’m wondering where all this snake phobia comes from? 
SO few people ever get bitten
and when they do almost none are deadly. 
The % of poisonous snakes is VERY small.
There is one in all of Yellowstone.

Is it a Garden of Eden thing?? 
How do you all feel about spiders
and their lovely webs and eating
of really disgusting things like flies?

I think this was Bull Snake. 
They do look a lot like the Prairie Rattlesnake
but I didn't see any rattle. 
Both snakes are defensive and this one was interested
in getting away from us not sneaking up to attack us.

We had a black snake that lived under a tree in the
backyard at the farm for years.  He kept the
mice out of the house and we thought he was great
since they can do a lot of damage in your attic and
elsewhere.   We named him Sidney and I just had
to keep the grass mowed out under the clothes line
which was tied to two trees out there so I wouldn’t
step on him accidentally while he was sunning and
I was hanging up clothing.

He did wander into the kitchen in the house once and
nearly scared my SIL out of her wits.
She also has SP. 
But I just shooed him out the door with a broom
and he slithered off.

As you can see I’m the Snake Counsel for Defense.
I think they are lovely, very interesting and helpful to us all.
OK then……. nuff snake stuff…….

We spent most of the day cleaning, answering email and
making phone calls.  All things we haven’t had the time or
internet/cell phone service to do in other parts of the park

In the late afternoon, after the sun had gone down a bit,
we decided to head down to the river. 
Now this is not your ordinary river. 
It’s the area where the Boiling River empties into
the Gardner River about 2 miles from the campground
further down the park road toward the North Entrance.

There are parking lots on either side of the
road.  The close one was full – about 15 cars -
so we parked across the road and walked over
to the trail head.


The trail head sign read:
”This stretch of the Gardner River runs warmer
than most mountain streams.  A half mile up
the trail  underground discharge from Mammoth
Hot Springs enters the current and creates a
year round climate for water birds, trout and
aquatic plants.  With as many as 200 visitors
a day, Boiling River is threatened by its
popularity.  Trail traffic has collapsed several
terraces, soap has polluted the water and
killed fish and grasses.”

I hope we aren’t the only ones who stopped
to read this sign.  And these others
which may be the result of the advice of
lawyers given our litigious society.
We wondered if they were trying to scare folks off
to decrease the damage.




Like everyone else, we’re taking the risk
It was a beautiful half mile hike along the Gardner.


Doesn’t look like many folks were deterred.

The little falls are the Boiling River.   And it is HOT!


Boiling River on the right, Gardner on the left.


OK, here I go, hat and all.
David stayed out a bit and took some pictures.
Since the river has a rocky and unsteady bottom
he wasn’t taking his camera in.
You may remember his camera history.  :-)


The water was definitely warmer than a mountain
stream but not bath tub warm at least at this spot.
I decided I didn’t need the shirt so I hung it around
my neck so I could sit in the water.
Next time I’ll leave shirt, hat and camera back at the coach.


Beautiful setting!


Here’s a close up of the HOT water streaming in.
You have to pick your spot
not tooo close and not tooo far away. 
In comparison with the water coming in from the Boiling,
the Gardner feels cold.

I was waiting for David so we could have spots
together as he zoomed in to those who
were already enjoying.  Notice that no one
is very close to the “falls”.


It was just totally relaxing and I am coming
back again tomorrow evening.  Sure wish we’d
done this the first two days too.   Just one more
reason to come back to Mammoth.

After we began to look like prunes, we got
out and walking back saw this
“Stream Gaging  Station" operated by the
U.S. Geological Survey and solar powered.


The parking lot is “closed” from 9PM to 5AM
but the ranger told us that every single night
they have to go down and make people leave.
It would be wonderful to be there under the stars
but the river is swift flowing and I can totally
understand the park’s rules. 
Wonder why others don’t?

Give this a try when you stay at Mammoth.
It was terrific!!!


  1. Lucky there were big rocks positioned at just about the right distance from the hot and cold sources so 1) we did not get washed away and 2) we were able to enjoy the experience of simultaineously being warmed on one side by a hot spring and cooled on the other by a mountain stream (okay, river). FANTASTIC!!

  2. We have to try a dip in the river next time at yellowstone. I loved the snake picture. He was a beauty and so was the Elk.

  3. What a fantastic spot! A natural hot tub :) This is a must for me once we get there. Thanks!

    And thanks for considering the alert service :) I know, in my case, my fear came from my mother. Once you've developed an irrational fear of something like that, it's very difficult to get over it. (and therapy is not in the budget! :))

  4. Nice little natural sauna. As for my snake thing ... I just don't like slithery and creepy crawly things ... give me a great big bear anytime :-))

  5. Ok, I'm relaxed;o)) I need one of those spots in my backyard like you have. It must be the best for tired achy muscles!!

    Glad the snakes were in the grass and not the river;o)))


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