On the 18th of August, when we were staying at Mammoth Hot Springs, we took a little side trail early in the morning that led down the Gardner River to a spot known as "The Boiling River". This is actually a hot spring that bleeds off of the Mammoth hot springs that pours out of the earth adjacent to the Gardner. If you pick your spot just so, the scalding water from the hot spring mixes perfectly with the frigid waters of the Gardner River to give one excellent hot soaking water. While the spot is not on any official listing, it's widely known by--apparently--every tourist around, and is extremely popular. If you want to enjoy the place, I suggest doing as we did and rising early, getting a good parking spot in the lot, and hiking the half-mile graded trail to the springs.
We did just that and when we arrived there were only about eight or ten people in the Boiling River. And the water flowing into the Gardner River really is scalding hot. So you can burn yourself if you're not careful. Stay out of the stream flowing out of the spring and just feel your way along the Gardner to a point that's just right. People have formed pools along the bank that are perfect for sitting and just enjoying the muscle-massaging currents of the fast flowing, very warm water! We had a great time here and spent almost two hours just taking it easy.
If the water gets too hot for you, all you have to do is float out toward the center of the Gardner a few feet and you're suddenly in icy-cold water! I did this a couple of times. Very sobering!
This is where the Boiling River (actually spring run-off from the Mammoth Hot Springs a few miles away) runs into the Gardner River. Stay out of the channel on the left--it's scalding hot!
Me and Carole soaking in a pool that European kid behind us had constructed. I beat his kraut ass and took the pool from him. (Not really.)
Andy sitting on a huge boulder on the hike out. One of my regrets in life is that I was too busy and/or too poor to take Andy to places like this when he was a kid. Oh, well. Better late than never.