The name used for many years for this spot, Buffalo Ford, stems from a winter about 50 years ago when two rangers discovered several bison frozen in the ice here. However, Nez Perce Ford has been the ocial name since 1981. Here the Nez Perce crossed the river as they were fleeing the U.S. Army in 1877, attempting to reach Canada. Their route began in Idaho and ended in northern Montana, where they were finally forced to surrender. erable rock crater and a crevice filled with water and bubbles of carbon dioxide. It erupted more or less regularly for about 50 years of the 20th century and occasionally since then. In 1912 at least one tourist party used it as a natural bathtub. The carbon dioxide that powered this geyser is probably derived from the limestones below the caldera’s volcanic rocks. There’s a similar geyser near Green River, Utah.
If you have only a short time to spend in this thermal area, be sure to see Dragon’s Mouth Spring and Mud Volcano at the north end of the walkway. For a longer visit, you might want to pick up a pamphlet from the box near the parking lot and follow the walk described below. Unlike the water-driven basins of geysers and hot pools you find on the western Grand Loop Road, Mud Volcano is a vapor-driven system. Here steam rather than water rises from deep underground, and rain and snowmelt provide most of the water to the features. Before railings and boardwalks, early tourists considered the place most repulsive and terrifying. Near the center of the parking area’s edge is Mud Caldron, a large, bubbling, gray lake that seems to have worn away or blown out the cliff behind it. In 1999, a hole created by hydrothermal action suddenly appeared in the parking lot itself. Rangers sometimes lead hikes to visit fascinating off-trail features in this area; inquire at Fishing Bridge Visitor Center.
Ford picnic area side road. No fishing is allowed in the west channel of the river here. Above and below this stretch of the river are areas extremely popular with fishermen, even though it’s for catch and release only. According to data collected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the same trout may be caught and released nine times in one season. 5.4/10.0 I Parking for river access and informal trails to two springs. The closer bubbling spring is surrounded by grasses, but the one in sparse trees and nearer the river, Cold Water Geyser, has a consid-