Beaver Ponds Trail Professional Reviews and Guides
"A delightful day hike leaving right from Mammoth. If you stay at Mammoth and have some extra time to get away from the traffic-choked roads, this gentle 5.2-mile loop trail is a great option. There is an excellent chance of seeing elk (if you haven’t already seen enough right in Mammoth), moose, and both black and grizzly bears. The trail begins just to the right (north) of Clematis Creek before Liberty Cap. After about a hundred yards it crosses Clematis Creek on a bridge and starts gradually climbing uphill, with brilliant colors of Mammoth Hot Springs on the left (south). At 0.2 mile you reach the junction with the Golden Gate/Howard Eaton Trail, which takes you behind the hot springs and to Terrace Mountain."
--Bill Schneider, Hiking Yellowstone National Park (Falcon Guides).
"The Beaver Ponds Loop begins by climbing up Clematis Gulch thorough a shady spruce and fir forest, gaining 350 feet in the first half mile. The trail then traverses rolling hills, connecting forests, meadows, scenic overlooks and a series of beaver ponds."
--Robert Stone, Day Hikes in Yellowstone National Park (Day Hike Books).
"The most popular moderate-difficulty loop near Mammoth traverses a range of habitats and provides the opportunity to see a wide variety of wildlife, including the occasional black bear."
--Andrew Dean Nystrom, Top Trails Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks (Wilderness Press).
We made this hike in a beautiful spring day and greatly enjoyed it. The first part through the grassland can be a bit boring but some deer made it more amusing. When we reached the first lake we were lucky enough to see three black bears on the opposite lake of the lake standing there for more than half an hour... My first bears ever!! What an amazing experience!! I will never forget this beautiful, easy trail.
We did the loop in reverse to the description here. A short steep climb brings you up to the elk plaza, and the rest of the trail is fairly easy. We saw a muskrat criss-crossing one of the beaver ponds (the beavers have moved elsewhere) and we watched (from a safe distance, of course)a cinnamon-coloured black bear and her two black cubs browsing on vegetation beside the trail. The long descent by the creek down to the Hot Springs plaza was a nice end to the hike.
As in the other reviews, the trail does initially have a fairly good upward grade when beginning, which is true in either direction.
Hiking in the spring, when dealing with the snow runoff, it did have some water to deal with including one shin-deep crossing about 50ft wide. Some difficult footing was also present in the area of the actual ponds, with very narrow paths running parallel to hillsides, though this was the rare exception.
Scenery varies greatly, and includes dense woodland, sparse scrub, ponds and hillsides. The northeast section has some particularly beautiful vistas that are worth stopping to appreciate.
We did notice what I believe to be fresh wolf tracks a couple of times, but never encountered any wolf or bear on the trail. The more common concern would be the vast elk herds in the area, and it would not be difficult to find yourself suddenly in the center of a herd.
Due to the easy access and shorter length, expect to see a fair number of other hikers on this trail. Both entrances to the trail can be accessed by foot from the Mammoth Hot Springs hotel and cabins.
Excellent loop trail with a great variety of terrain and chance to view wildlife.
Sign in/up to upload photos.