If there is one thing that everyone in our family can agree on, it’s our love for hot pools of water! It can be a jacuzzi or a natural hot spring, just as long as it’s hot. On our recent trip to Mammoth we decided to take some time to hop around to the different hot springs in the area. I knew of a few, but we found so many more – some of which we couldn’t even venture out to see due to the roads being a mess after winter. I guess we will have to go back in the fall when the leaves are changing colors and the air is getting cooler to check those out. For now, here are some of the favorite hot springs near Mammoth mountain that we found.
The Rock Tub Hot Springs
One of the most picturesque hot springs off Benton Crossing Road is the Rock Tub Hot Springs. This small tub holds 4 people comfortably and can get pretty crowded at times. The pools aren’t super hot, so it might be best visited in spring and fall. The water is piped in from the ground about 100 yards away so it tends to cool a bit as it reaches the pool. It’s fun to find the source though and see that it really is coming from the ground.
The road to get here is accessible by all cars for the most part, although there might be a few spots that are muddy or full of water depending on the season. However, the road is large enough that you can usually weave your way around the rough patches. We had no issues in a Honda CRV.
The scenery here is worth the effort even if you decide to not get in due to the crowds. For the most part, visitors soaking here are wearing swim gear. There are no restrooms, so plan to arrive already suited up.
Wild Willy’s Hot Springs
There is one main pool that is quite large at around 10 feet wide and is deep enough to get a good soak with pretty hot water piping in. To the left of the boardwalk is another smaller heart shaped soaking pool with an even smaller personal tub off the side. The personal tub is quite hot, so head there only after the other pools feel a bit cold!
Even though these springs are easily accessible you do have to hike down about .25 of mile to reach them. The hike itself is along a boardwalk for the first half with the rest being a well manicured rock path. It is a gentle slope, so even smaller kids can manage well. I would not say it’s particularly stroller friendly, but you could give it a go! The hike is easy enough that you can walk back to the car in flip flops with a towel and light long sleeves if you don’t feel like changing. The soaking culture here is of the non-nudist nature so best to come in your suits.
Shepard Hot Springs
Shepard Hot Springs is one of the many hot springs located off of Benton Crossing Road. This one is a little further down Whitman Tubs Road, but not that difficult to reach. Shepard Hot Springs is a good pool to check out en route to some of the more popular pools in the area. If you are lucky you may find it empty.
This is a small man made pool for no more than 6 adults. This pool isn’t always cleaned well, so it could be a little green with algae. If you have the time, find the plug and empty it to scrub it down! It takes about 2 hours to fill back up though, so only pull the plug if you have the time. We were lucky to have visited just after a cleaning so the water was super hot and quite clean.
Crab Cooker Hot Springs
This is another small hot spring located off Benton Cross Road or Whitman Tubs Road depending which way you are coming from. This is a beautiful hot spring that is located between Rock Tub and Shepard down a longer dirt road set down a bit off the dirt path. This pool is easy to miss if there aren’t other cars parked in the small cut out. You can’t see the pool from the road, but head down the sandy trail about 100 yards and you will see it.
This small pool is partially man made quite similar to the Rock Tub Hot Springs. The water here is a bit warmer than Rock Tub and since it’s located a bit further down a dirt path tends to be a little less crowded than the others in the area.
Make sure to check out the source of the water – most likely where it’s name comes from as it really does look like a crab cooker!
Travertine Hot Springs
If you make it past June Lake up towards Bridgeport, our favorite hot spring is Travertine Hot Springs. Here you can bathe in a variety of hot springs while soaking up spectacular views of the Sierras. There are multiple pools here with some being super hot and some just a little cooler!
At the entrance near the pit toilets is a small man-made pool that is great for people who just have time to hop in and soak before hitting the road. Otherwise if you have time, make a day of visiting Travertine Hot Springs.
The hike to the springs is short, making this an easily accessible hot springs for the entire family. These springs are popular with a range of people. You will see park rangers, campers, couples and families here although many might be observing clothing optional so prepare the children for this in advance. If you stay too long, no worries, there are even pit toilets here.
Buckeye Hot Springs
Another hot spring near Bridgeport is Buckeye Hot Springs. This one is a bit more secluded due to having to hike down from the parking area to the actual springs. We didn’t make it to this one, but I am leaving it on the list because by all accounts this hot springs is really the most epic of them all!
From what I hear, the hike down isn’t too bad, but it definitely feels worse on the way back up after a relaxing soak.
The larger pools at the bottom fill with natural spring waterfalls mixing hot water with an ice cold pool beside them making for a contrasting soak. Clothing is optional here with many visitors typically discarding them to enjoy the springs naturally.
Bonus: Keough Hot Springs
For those of you who aren’t quite into the natural hot springs, there is a great option for getting your soak on in a less rugged environment. Keogh’s Hot Springs is a great place to stop in for the day or to chill out for a weekend. This amazing hidden gem is located just before you reach Bishop off scenic Hwy 395. The hot spring pools were built in 1919 and are the same ones used today. The large pool is kept at 86-89 degrees in the summer and 90-92 in the winter, while the hot pool is kept at 104 degrees year round. Both of these get their water from an actual hot springs flowing from the ground that is fed into a spray system that looks like a waterfall in the larger pool, cooling as it comes down. The water is loaded with minerals which they say is great for the body. The great thing about this hot spring is that you can stay there too!
Tips for Visiting the Hot Springs Near Mammoth
Use Google Maps
For all of the hot springs listed here, we found them easily by using Google Maps. Many websites provide detailed driving instructions, but we found that Google Maps was more than accurate in providing directions. It was especially useful when moving from one spring to another without going back to the main road.
Wear Your Swimwear & Bring a Towel
As none of the natural springs (except Travertine) have any bathrooms or private areas, you will need to arrive already in your swimwear if you wish to wear it.
Also, make sure to bring a good towel. We brought only a pack towel, which was fine for the most part, but it would have been nicer to have a larger towel to sit on in the car en route to the next hot spring! If you are only heading to one, a pack towel will be fine.
Bring Flip Flops
I hate putting my socks back on after a hot soak, so I was happy to have brought my flip flops to wear back to the car. For almost all of these springs (except perhaps Buckeye), you can easily access the springs in flip flops or water shoes.
Bring Snacks & Lots of Water
You will be surprised how long you will want to stay to soak in the tubs. Bring snacks, water and even alcohol beverages if you wish (I am not saying this is legal, but it does seem to be what happens!). People love hanging out in the pools chatting, drinking and snacking so you end up staying longer than you anticipate.
Have you visited any of these hot springs near Mammoth? What is your favorite? If you have any tips, please share them with us!
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