Beaver Ponds Loop – 5.4mi / 8.7km
This hike combines ponds nestled in the forest with the open, expansive views through sagebrush meadows. This loop begins and ends at different trailheads in Mammoth. One trailhead begins near Mammoth Terrace, which is easier to find, and the other near the old Gardiner Road.
Starting from Mammoth Terrace, you get a nice look at the white hydrothermal terraces as you head up the hill and into the trees. After a few switchbacks, the trail takes a right at the junction, alternating between forest and meadow. It then eventually dives into the trees to the namesake ponds.
Each pond is unique; some surrounded by meadow with others surrounded by trees. They serve as great habitat for a variety of flora and fauna. After the ponds, you continue through the forest to the open sagebrush meadows. Here, there are views down to the Yellowstone River as it heads toward the town of Gardiner. As you approach Mammoth, the trail steeply descends to the trailhead at the old Gardiner Road. This trail is great for birding and spotting elk.
Trailhead: The sign labeled “Sepulcher Beaver Ponds” is at the south end of the parking lot labeled “Restroom Parking” at Mammoth Terrace. Old Gardiner Road is at the gate for the road behind the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel.
Elevation Gain: 800ft / 240m – Elevation Loss: 800ft / 240m