While home to an abundance of geothermal activity that results in over 10,000 hydrothermal features, including hot springs and geysers, Yellowstone National Park only boasts two natural thermal pools in which visitors can submerge in the park’s mineral waters.
While hot springs such as the Grand Prismatic Springs and Mammoth Hot Springs are beautiful thermal pool features to explore, they also feature waters either too hot or acidic for swimming. However, this doesn’t mean visitors aren’t able to soothe their well-worn hiking muscles in a tranquil thermal pool nearby.
While only two swimmable hot springs are present within the park, several submersible thermal pools are available only a short distance from Yellowstone’s several entrances. Scattered throughout Montana and Wyoming, these six hot springs near Yellowstone offer soothing oases to unwind after exploring the park’s intrepid corners. (Distance from Yellowstone National Park in brackets).
Hot Springs Near Yellowstone National Park
1. Boiling River – In Yellowstone National Park
Despite its name, the Boiling River is not actually boiling and is one of the only places where visitors to Yellowstone can soak in the park’s warm therapeutic waters. Located just south of the park’s North Entrance and is only a 21-minute drive from Gardiner, MT.
The Boiling River is sourced from the nearby Mammoth Hot Springs, which pool over from their thermal pools into the Gardner River. While from the source, the spring averages a scorching 160 degrees Fahrenheit, the water combines with the cooler waters of the river to achieve the Boiling River’s comfortable swimming conditions.
The swimming hole is serviced with basic amenities, including a rustic bathroom facility. However, the Boiling River is still considered a primitive thermal pool, and visitors should practice caution when submerging in the waters.
Swimming in the river is only permitted from mid-summer through the fall, as snowmelts make the water flow too dangerous to swim during other times of the year.
2. Firehole River Swimming Area – In Yellowstone National Park
While visitors cannot swim in the Grand Prismatic Spring, they can still take a safe dip in the park’s thermal mineral waters nearby at the Firehole River Swimming Area, about 12 miles north of the Midway Geyser Basin.
Located near the West Yellowstone Entrance, the Firehole River Swimming Area is a popular and accessible watering hole in the national park and is a crowd favorite during its open season. Unfortunately, this open season varies yearly and occasionally remains closed year-round depending on the ice melt and river flow.
The standard open season for the swimming area is between mid-summer and winter, during which time visitors are encouraged to dip into the river, which can reach up to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. The spacious swimming hole offers several engaging activities, including cliff jumping and tubing.
3. Yellowstone Hot Springs, MT (8.5 Miles)
While there are only two submersible hot springs in the national park, Yellowstone Hot Springs offers another thermal soaking experience not too far from the park’s protected borders. In fact, This thermal pool is only a ten-minute drive from the park’s North Entrance in Gardiner.
Formerly known as the Corwin Hot Springs, the Yellowstone Hot Springs have been a popular thermal pool retreat for over a century and was even the site of a sanitarium and onsite hotel during the early 20th century. While the original complex burned down in 1916 and converted into a dude ranch, the property was repurposed as a hot spring retreat in 2018.
Today the property features three diverse thermal pools. The complex’s hot plunge pool averages 104 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year, while a larger recreational pool is slightly cooler at 102 degrees. The complex also features a cold plunge pool for those seeking an escape from the hot waters, which is maintained between 60 and 65 degrees.
Also offered on the property are a selection of cabin rentals and camping sites for visitors that prefer an extended retreat bathing in the complex’s therapeutic mineral waters.
4. Astoria Hot Springs Park, WY (73 Miles)
Alternatively, visitors opting to visit Yellowstone National Park from Wyoming will be happy to note that the Astoria Hot Springs is located just over an hour’s drive from the park’s South Entrance.
The Astoria Hot Springs is located within the 95-acre Astoria Park Conservancy and boasts five artificial thermal pools. While the pools were first constructed in the 1960s, they were closed to the public in 1999 and only reopened with a refurbished complex in late 2020.
Since then, the Astoria Hot Springs has been attracting visitors from around the state and the nearby Yellowstone National Park seeking a soothing escape to enjoy the region’s curative waters.
In total, the property features five hot spring pools. The Leisure Pool is the largest and offers plenty of places to soak. As the name implies, the Children’s Pool is a smaller facility that allows for a safer swimming experience for the whole family. Meanwhile, the Meadow Pool and two River Pools offer serene settings for enjoying quiet tranquility.
5. Bozeman Hot Springs, MT (87 Miles)
Another fantastic thermal pool near Yellowstone in Montana is the Bozeman Hot Springs. Located about an hour and a half from the park’s North Entrance, Bozeman Hot Springs have been considered one of the state’s premier thermal pool facilities for over a century and offer a fantastic destination for basing a day trip into the national park.
Surrounded by the picturesque Gallatin Valley, the Bozeman Hot Springs was first established near the end of the 19th century and features 12 distinct indoor and outdoor hot spring pools. Each of the property’s pools is fed by a constant supply of mineral spring water and ranges in temperature from 57 degrees Fahrenheit to 106 degrees.
Additionally, the hot springs are only 15 minutes from downtown Bozeman, making them an easy-to-access complex for visitors to Yellowstone staying in the accommodating city. While most visitors to the springs opt to stay in town, the thermal pool complex does feature onsite campgrounds for guests that prefer to stay near the mineral waters.
6. Granite Hot Springs Pool, WY (90.4 Miles)
Located near Jackson Hole, Wyoming, about an hour and a half south of Yellowstone National Park’s South Entrance, the Granite Hot Springs have enticed visitors to the region to its warm mineral waters since the pool was first constructed in the 1930s.
Nearly a century later, the hot spring pool remains a hidden gem of the region and offers a soothing respite to soothe worn muscles from the region’s ski slopes or the national park’s many hiking trails.
Granite Hot Springs Pool is open year-round and provides visitors with a warm soaking experience while enjoying the breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountainous landscapes. This thermal pool is one of the most isolated and surreal hot springs near Yellowstone and is well worth the added venture outside of the protected park to access.