As its name implies, the Boiling River is a hot spring in Yellowstone Park in a river. The water does not literally boil, but hot water from the spring mixed with cold water in the Gardner River makes water vapor that is sometimes mistaken for steam, similar to the water vapor in your shower. Boiling River is open to swimmers in the summer during the daytime. A footpath leads from a parking lot to the river swimming area. The trail is about half a mile. Swimsuits are required and alcohol is not allowed.
The Boiling River hot spring is located near the 45th parallel and Mammoth Hot Springs, originally explored by the Hayden Expedition in 1871. It is found on the east side of the road, south of the Northern Entrance to the park. The Gardiner, River is a tributary of the Yellowstone River. It and Gardiner, Montana were named after Johnson Gardner, a trapper who trapped in the area in the 1830’s and sold furs to the American Fur Company. Gardiner River runs through a canyon where Douglas fir, cottonwood and juniper grow. Eagles, osprey, dippers and kingfishers, squirrels, elk, moose, deer, beaver and chipmunks can be seen along the river. Bighorn sheep are also spotted in the area, but most often at a distance. Birds of prey feed on brook and rainbow trout in the river. Trout feed on insects such as the giant stonefly. A trip to Boiling River offers opportunities to capture photos of wonderful scenery and wildlife all along the Gardiner River and in Mammoth Hot Springs.