Mammoth Lakes Hot Springs


What? : Mammoth Hot Springs is a non-commercial open space natural hot spring located in the Mammoth Lakes area. The hot soak here is one of the best-kept secrets scenic and beautiful hot springs in California.


Where? : An area east of Mammoth-Lake Airport.

Driving directions: From Mammoth Lakes head south on highway 395. Just after the airport turn left into Benton Crossing Rd. after less than a mile drive you will reach the hot springs are. Here you can turn left into the main dirt road that will lead you to few hot springs or you can keep driving on the road and go to other springs.

Google Map Link


When? : Year round as long as you can reach the site at winter snowstorms when they may close the access toad gates.


Due note 1: The area is under Inyo National Forest management, it has free access, no other facilities but you can set here for a night sleep.


Due note 2: Public hot springs are not bathing facilities, do not use soap and shampoo, including bio soap


Due note 3: Although they are not a “mainstream official tourist attraction” you probably will not be only one here at summer weekends.


Due note 4: All off road in this area are gravel roads, but all are in good conditions and are easily drivable by a regular car.


Due note 5: Bathing in nudity is an option…


My thoughts: One of my best travel serenity experiences, soaking at the nature open hot bath and seeing the sunset over the sierra mountains will be a memorable moment. I spend here the evening and park for the night nearby, waking up before sunrise to see the sun rising at the east and light the sierra range to the west. For me viewing sunrise from Brees overlooking Hot Creek Geological Site was another unforgettable experience.

The visit:


Hot Springs:

Afternoon visit and overnight stay at the Hot Creek Geological Site and the Hot Springs near Mammoth. Whitmore Hot Springs is ideal if you appreciate hot springs in their natural state that are not modified to be more commercially appealing.


There are several springs most of which are quite small in size (3-5 people) so if you find them busy you need to wait. At weekend, the area is quite popular then do not expect to be there alone.

As in other non-develop natural hot springs in California the immersion can be naked.

There are several hot springs that you can park your car just near them:

The Rock Tub Hot Springs

Shepherd Hot Springs

For others they are within a short walk distance from the car park.


If you are planning to spend the night over here do not camp near the springs, there is a traffic of people who come to bathe at night so if you want quiet do not sleep there, find a side road and park there.



Hot Creek Geological Site:

Another attraction is this area is Hot Creek Geological Site.

This hot spring is geologically active with potentially deadly boiling water. Water temperatures can change rapidly, entering the water in this location is completely prohibited.


Driving directions: From Hwy 395 take the Hot Creek Hatchery Road, located 15 mins South of Mammoth Lakes.  You will then proceed 2 miles on paved road and 3 miles on gravel road. this site is connected from the far side to the other hot spring’s dirt-roads.


Park your car at the parking lot above the creek and go to the viewing point or down to the river below.

Blue color boiling pools, steaming shorelines, and bubbling eruptions the creek bed near the river creating hot water pools, sometimes with small geyser eruptions.  


Brees Lookout: Just east of the main parking lot is one of the best breathtaking sunrises viewing point. From here you can see the river winding below in the gorge, steam coming up from the hot springs and to top this the view of the high Sierra mountain range is getting sunrise light in the west.



Owens River:

Hot Creek keep flowing to the east and connect to Owens River.

There is a large Campground just near the road: Brown's Owens River Campground

Thin the area you can find a small lake, Warm Alkali Lake may attract birds at the migrating seasons.






  1. It's articles like this that have RUINED our "secret " spots.

  2. just some thoughts. I know that area. When you find a sweet serene sacred spot... maybe you should honor it, respect it, enjoy it,
    . .& not post a clinical analysis of it on the internet
    great photos, too many, too much info,.
    let the mystery unfold

    oh yeah, if you go down those back roads described without 4wheel drive, possibly flat tire, damage to underside of vehicle. which makes for a long day.


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