Upper Terrace Loop Ski Trail
ElevationAscent: 209' 64 m
Descent: -204' -62 m
High: 6,788' 2,069 m
Low: 6,580' 2,006 m
GradeAvg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 14% (8°)
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“This short trail is one of the most fun, most interesting ski or snow shoe trips in the park!”— Tom Carter
Turn right an follow the groomed trail as it traces its course along the Upper Terrace Road through a sparse forest of Rocky Mountain Juniper trees. Soon the trail breaks out and affords commanding across the top of the main hot spring terrace to the Mammoth Hotel (to the left) and Fort Yellowstone (to the right). Fort Yellowstone was originally built by the US Calvary, who were in charge of protecting the park from 1886 until 1916, when the National Park Service was created.
In 2015, Baby Spring reemerged in this area and began overtaking the road! The Mammoth Hot Springs area is highly volatile and the springs here emerge, and dry-up, only to reemerge again. The calcium carbonate deposits brought to the surface by the springs in this area build up very fast, often growing many inches in a single year. This forces the NPS to move the boardwalks and sometimes the road to get out of the way of these natural features.
The trail loops back to the left and climbs a hill passing the remnants of New Highland Terrace on the left. At the top of the hill the trail rounds beautiful Orange Spring Mound. The trail then meanders past Highland Spring and eventually White Elephant Back Terrace (both on your left) before dropping down 170 feet to complete the loop.
Thanks to guidebook author, Tom Carter, for sharing this trail description. To learn more about visiting Yellowstone, check out his book, Day Hiking Yellowstone.
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Land Manager: National Park Service - Yellowstone National Park