For the final day in the park, we drove up to the Mammoth Hot Springs area and hiked the loop there. The hike goes past a portion of the driving tour route, but we skipped doing the full drive. I’m sure Mammoth is not the only area to have them, but it’s unique aspect is the number and size of the terraced pools coming down some of the hills. These are beautiful to see, but hard to photograph from the trail – I think a camera drone could get some very cool shots.
Before heading out, we stopped at the Visitor Center to see what was there (and probably for Janet to get a magnet in the gift shop), and to use their WiFi to book a hotel in Kalispell, MT.
We made one last stop on our way out of the park at the Boiling River, which had been closed as of our last visit. Got lucky and found parking pretty quick in the minimal parking lot. We walked down to the river, waded in and lounged in the mix of scalding and cold water for maybe 45 minutes. The river access is pretty well loaded with warnings – the most important of which seemed to be to not submerge your head and risk getting a parasite (amoeba), which we heeded and seem to have avoided. Overall it kind of had the vibe that the NPS would rather people not be in the river at all (this jives with the minimal parking), but had resigned themselves to either providing access with warnings or just having people pull off the road anywhere and find their own access with notably less safety.
We made lunch back at the car and exited the park out the North exit/entrance in Montana heading towards Glacier NP. Though only a small portion of the park is in Montana, they do have the largest entrance, featuring a huge stone arch, where we stopped briefly.
We drove most of the way to Glacier that evening, stopping to stay in Kalispell, MT at the Aero Inn, about half an hour short of the park itself.