The Best Hot Springs in Mammoth Lakes. The access to these natural hot springs is free, looking at the beauty of these pools, you will feel in a luxurious resort.
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This California valley is a paradise for nature lovers. It’s perfect for every season, since there is always something to do.
In summer, you can hike one of the many trails and in winter you can enjoy a snowshoe adventure. During spring, you can enjoy a cool and refreshing bike ride, while in the fall you can do a bit of sightseeing and enjoy the foliage.
It’s a destination for families, thanks to activities like horseback riding. It’s a destination for sports lovers, who will enjoy the backpacking.
If you are more into rustic arrangements, you will love camping. In Mammoth Lakes, there is nightlife too, in the breweries and pubs.
The activities are endless and they include relaxing and gorgeous hot springs.
The Best Hot Springs in Mammoth Lakes
Wild Willy’s Hot Spring
The access to these natural hot springs is free, which seems impossible. Looking at the beauty of these pools and the landscape, you will almost feel in a luxurious resort.
From the parking spot, you will see a wooden walkway that cuts through low bushes. Follow it through a quick and easy hike. You will arrive at the two warm pools, two blue tears in the barren, desert-like landscape.
The second pool (and the farthest) is the deepest and the hottest. The highest water temperature is 38° Celsius, 100° Fahrenheit.
There aren’t any facilities, so make sure to carry everything with you. Camping is also allowed but, once again, there aren’t any amenities.
This is a popular spot and it can get crowded, so you might want to visit in the morning. You are surrounded by the mountains of California. They frame the Long Valley Caldera south of Mammoth Lakes, where Wild Willy’s hot spring is located. A California dream.
Ratings: this destination gains 4.5 stars thanks to the view.
The Rock Tub Hot Springs
This destination is near Mammoth Lakes, to the southeast. You are in the Eastern Sierra, surrounded by snowy peaks and nature.
The source of the warm water (around 40° C, 100° F) is by the Rock Tub cement pool. There is only one pool at this spot, so it might be crowded.
Here, there is no hiking involved. The hot springs are a few steps away from the parking lot. It’s accessible to everyone though Whitmore Tubs Road.
You can’t camp around the Rock Tub but you can camp nearby. It’s public land so you can pitch your tent. Just beware of open fires, since you are in nature. There are no facilities, so remember the common sense rule. Anything you can take in with you, you must take out.
Ratings: this spot scores 4 stars, thanks to the cleanliness of the area and hot springs.
Hilltop Hot Springs, aka Pulkey’s Pool
This destination features one pool, big enough for about 5-6 people. You will find a concrete tub connected to a natural spring.
The temperature reaches and sometimes goes above 40° Celsius, or 100° Fahrenheit. It’s geothermal water, warmed up by the California soil and nature. You can also vary the temperature of the tub’s water, thanks to the cold and hot pipes.
Either seize the moment and visit later. These hot springs are clean, thanks to the drain plug on the bottom, which makes cleaning easy. Visitors have reported people bathing nude, so don’t be surprised if that happens.
The pool and tub is easy to reach from the parking lot, so you don’t need any particular hiking gear. Instead, you need all the equipment and clothes for a change.
Since there aren’t any amenities here, you need to take everything with you. Snow might block the access to the gravel trail, so you might want to park near Benton Crossing Road. You can’t camp in the area, but there are a few campgrounds nearby.
Ratings: Pulkey’s Pool scores 4.3 stars, since the hot tub is a real hit with visitors.
Crab Cooker Hot Springs
This man made tub feeds from the nearby mineral spring. You will be in a remote area, so visitors suggest downloading the map or studying the road before heading out.
The access dirt road to Crab Cooker Hot Springs is unpaved, but you can leave your vehicle next to the trailhead. Since you are in the wild, cell connection might be spotty but don’t worry.
These hot springs are well known and you will find cars to send you in the right direction. The water temperature is around 42° Celsius, or 102° Fahrenheit. It’s warm and relaxing, perfect to enjoy it during winter or fall.
You are on public land, the land of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. That means camping is forbidden and there aren’t any facilities.
Once again, what you take with you, must get back home with you. Finally, beware that the custom etiquette indicates that clothing is optional. Surprises might await you.
Ratings: this hot spring gets 3.6 stars thanks to its remoteness and quiet.
Shepherd Hot Springs
Located in California’s Eastern Sierra, this destination features one cement pool by the water source. You can adjust the temperature (which reaches 40° C, 100° F) through a pipe. You are in nature, but in a less wild setting.
You won’t need to download maps or worry about phone connection. Since this is a popular spot, other visitors will be able to direct you.
You can enter via two unpaved roads and you don’t need any hiking equipment to reach the hot springs. From the parking lot, the tub is a few steps away.
You can’t camp around Shepherd Hot Springs but you can camp in the surrounding area. This is another rustic destination, with no facilities nor bathrooms. There are no specific notes about the clothing etiquette. But this is California, after all. Anything is possible.
Ratings: this location by Mammoth Lakes gains 3.5 stars because visitors appreciate its view.
Where Are the Hot Springs Resorts?
There aren’t any in the area, but one hour away from Mammoth Lakes you can find.
Keough’s Hot Springs. Although it’s not a resort, it’s more of a camping site. There are multiple pools with various temperatures.
In the larger pool, the temperature ranges at 30° Celsius, or 88° Fahrenheit during summer. In winter, the temperature rises by a few points.
Meanwhile, the hot pool has a steady 40° Celsius (100° F) year round. This is mineral water, perfect to soak. The managers of Keough’s Hot Springs clean the pools every week, so don’t worry about hygiene.
Here, there are facilities, lounge chairs, and a snack bar. You can also pack your meal and enjoy it at the picnic area. Fancy some sport? Four times a week, you can join the aerobics class for an additional fee.
Your lodging options include camping, RV sites, and furnished (tho rustic) tent cabins. If you don’t mind the ride, then it might be worth stopping by.
Ratings: this destination gains 4.2 stars thanks to its facilities and hot springs.
Fancy some exploring? You can head to the Hot Creek Geological Site. It looks like Iceland but you are still in Mammoth Lakes.
You will have natural hot springs (absolutely forbidden to dive in), geysers, and crystal blue and cold streams. On the horizon, you will see the peaks of the Eastearn Sierra, while the landscape around you looks like Mars.
You will find restrooms and picnic spots at Hot Creek. But remember you are in a protected, natural site. No open fires, no camping, and leave no trace behind.
Mammoth Lakes is a must stop in your California vacation. Yosemite National Park isn’t very far, but sometimes you will feel like you are in the desert. Sometimes the forests surround you, while others you will step on low bushes. Definitely worth the trip.