Without a question, you must check out the hot springs in Mammoth Lakes when visiting this incredibly scenic region of California. After a long day of Mammoth hiking or bouldering and you’re asking yourself what to do in Mammoth Lakes next, explore and use the variety of hot springs in the area to relax your muscles. This list includes an offering of both local and man-made hot springs of various sizes and temperatures that are a great way to not only meet and socialize with other travelers but also to immerse yourself in the incredible scenery of the Sierras. The additional bonus? Most of these hot springs are loaded with natural minerals that are said to have incredible health benefits. Almost all of these are open year-round unless the road to access them is closed due to winter conditions.
What to Bring to Hot Springs
Make sure to plan ahead when packing for the Mammoth hot springs with a swimsuit, towel, and sandals as the basic necessities. However, many of the hot springs are clothing-optional, so don’t be shocked to see some people in their birthday suits!
Be sure to pack plenty of water for the hot springs to stay hydrated as you’ll no doubt be sweating. It may also be smart to pack a snack, as not all hot springs sell food on-site. Lastly, don’t forget sunscreen. Given the elevation of most of the hot springs, you are exposed to stronger UV rays.
Can you get in hot springs in Mammoth?
You can! Many of the hot springs in this article are free and open to the public, meaning you may be sharing them with others. The temperature ranges from 96°F to 150°F depending on the size of the hot spring and its hot water source. Some man-made hot springs have valves allowing users to adjust the temperature firsthand.
But first: Don’t miss my other guides to the Eastern Sierras and beyond in California!
Best Hot Springs in Mammoth Lakes and Around
It’s hard to choose the best hot spring in Mammoth Lakes, fortunately, there are so many options near Mammoth to climb in and judge for yourself.
Keough Hot Springs
Of all the Mammoth Lakes hot springs, Keough’s Hot Springs are the largest natural hot spring pools in the area and the most well-known. There are two pools available for access – one large and small (the smaller being the significantly hotter pool). It will cost an adult $12 for a day pass, but there are plenty of amenities ranging from bathrooms and changing rooms to snacks on-site to water aerobics classes (for an additional $8). This is much more of a facility than the other hot springs that are in the middle of nature and may feel more rugged.
Directions: Take Highway 365 S from Mammoth past Bishop for about 45 minutes. You’ll see signs and will turn right onto Keough Hot Springs Road to find your destination.
Wild Willy’s Hot Spring (aka Crowley Hot Spring)
One of the biggest and best hot springs in Mammoth Lakes is Wild Willy’s. There are two hot springs on site with the smaller, heart-shaped hot spring near the creek being significantly hotter. However, the trade-off is that the larger hot spring can hold up to 30 people. On weekend evenings, Wild Willy’s becomes quite lively, so check it out if you’re looking for a party atmosphere. Pack sandals as you’ll need to walk down a boardwalk path to reach the hot spring.
Directions: Take Highway 395 S from Mammoth Lakes and then turn left on Benton Crossing Road. If you see the green church you are going the right way. Drive for another 3 miles and then turn right at the cattle guard. After another couple miles, you’ll reach the parking lot. The wooden path leads you to Wild Willy’s.
Shepherd Hot Springs
Shepherd Hot Springs is a great spot for a small group, as it fits 5 people and is even lined with benches near the edges of the hot pool for comfortable seating. Be sure to utilize the valve to adjust the temperature as this hot spring is usually quite toasty, given its source is a natural spring within a 20-foot distance. Keep in mind there are no services at this hot spring.
Directions: You can reach Shepherd Hot Springs following the same directions for Rock Tub. Once you are on Whitmore Tubs Road, you’ll take the 6th dirt road on your right.
Crab Cooker Hot Spring
Crab Cooker hot spring is another man-made stone hot spring, heated from a nearby mineral spring. It also gets pretty hot if the valve is on. When on, the temperature can get up to 150°F! Can you see how it got the name “Crab Cooker?” Note that you are asked to switch the valve to its off setting before you leave. Crab Cooker can fit 4-6 people comfortably.
Directions: Crab Cooker is within walking distance (about half a mile) and accessible by foot from Shepherd Hot Springs, listed above. If driving, having 4WD or a high-clearance vehicle may make access easier given the road leading here is unpaved and bumpy. This is another hot spring located off of Whitmore Tubs Road; it is also the 6th dirt road on the right.
Rock Tub Hot Springs (aka Whitmore Hot Springs)
Rock Tub is a popular hot spring that can fit 2-4 visitors, making it feel more intimate and secluded. The temperature may feel chilly compared to the other hot springs in the area, as there is no valve to adjust the temperature. This hot spring also stands out from others given its shape looks almost identical to a hot tub! There are no services on-site and be sure to clean up your surroundings and leave no trace.
Directions: Similar to many of the other hot springs near Mammoth, you will turn onto Benton Crossing Road. Next, take the first left onto Whitmore Tubs Road for about a mile until you see a dirt road on your right hand side. Take the unmarked road until you reach the small parking lot. Given the challenge to find it, it tends to be less crowded and feel more secluded.
Hilltop Hot Spring (aka Pulkey’s Pool)
Pulkey’s Pool is man-made and heats its water through a pipe system fed in from a nearby creek. It is situated in the middle of a meadow and fits 6 people comfortably and tends to be a local favorite. There is a valve near the hot springs allowing for adjustments of the water temperature. It is well-known for its panoramic views of the nearby mountains.
Directions: To get to Hilltop Pulkey’s, take 395 South from Mammoth and turn onto Benton Crossing Road for 3 miles. Once you get to the cattle guard, turn left and take the dirt road that leads to Pulkey’s parking lot.
Travertine Hot Springs
The Travertine Hot Springs are about an hour’s drive from Mammoth Lakes, but due to their popularity and setting, they need to be mentioned on this list. There are several hot springs of various sizes and temperatures on-site here. Some feel more private and fit 2 people while larger hot springs fit 8 or more. There are also restrooms on-site if needed.
Directions: Starting from Mammoth Lakes, drive north to the town of Bridgeport. You’ll take a right on Jack Sawyer Road and follow the signs leading you to the hot springs.
Buckeye Hot Springs
Buckeye Hot Springs has multiple hot springs ranging from 100-140°F. In order to reach the hot springs, you’ll need to complete a short (yet steep) hike, so proper footwear is recommended. These hot springs are very spacious and can fit up to 30 people. Keep in mind these hot springs are natural, so parts of the rock you’re sitting on may be a bit pointy or jagged.
Directions: From Mammoth, drive north for about an hour on Highway 395. Once you reach Bridgeport, turn left on Twin Lakes Rd. Continue down this road for a few minutes before reaching Buckeye Rd and turn right. Buckeye’s parking will be on your right.