Home to one of the most abundant collections of hot springs in the United States, every region of California seems to boast tranquil thermal pools in which to soothe away your worries. However, the hot springs surrounding the charming small-town community of Mammoth Lakes are some of the most picturesque within the state’s natural spring collection.
Located near California’s eastern border with Nevada, Mammoth Lakes is surrounded by the Sierra Nevada Mountains on one side and the Yosemite National Park and Sierra National Forest on the other. Visitors from around the world flock to the small-town community for a chance to explore the traditional setting and awe-inspiring vistas of the surrounding landscape.
With so much to see and do in the region, a trip to Mammoths can quickly become exhausting. Luckily, the area is home to several hot springs boasting mineral-rich waters renowned for their therapeutic properties that soothe well-worn muscles. What’s more, many of these calming springs are all within an hour’s drive of the city.
Whether you prefer a rustic soak in a primitive pool or an extensive hot spring resort complex, these six hot springs near Mammoth Lakes provide a quiet respite to find a calming serenity from the otherwise intrepid activities of the region. (Distance from Mammoth Lakes city center in brackets).
Top Hot Springs Near Mammoth Lakes, CA
1. Rock Tub Hot Springs (11 Miles)
Also known as the Whittemore Hot Springs, the Rock Tub Hot Springs is one of the most famous thermal pools in the state and is a celebrated destination thanks to its tranquil setting and relatively easy-to-access location.
A 15-minute drive from town, the springs are only a short walk from the parking lot but seem to be miles away with the quiet panoramic views it provides.
As the name suggests, the Rock Tub Hot Springs is a small thermal pool of rustic cement and rocks that combine to give the facility a natural feel. The pool is filled from its source and tends to average between 90- and 100 degrees Fahrenheit for a comfortable soak.
While no overnight stay is permitted within the hot spring area, the surrounding region allows for some dispersed camping, and visitors should look for zones with signs indicating “Freedom Camping.”
Alternatively, potential visitors can book a sit at one of the many nearby campgrounds in the area.
2. Shepherd Hot Spring (12.5 Miles)
The Shepherd Hot Spring is Another fantastic primitive hot spring located only a 15-minute drive from Mammoth Lakes. The small rustic bath is relatively easy to access and features panoramic views of the surrounding meadows and towering mountains on the horizon. While an unregulated site, the springs are maintained by volunteers for a comfortable and safe soak.
While rustically designed to appear like a natural spring, the Shepherd Hot Spring is made of concrete and features built-in ledges which soakers can sit on as a bench. While the pool is artificial, the spring water itself is straight from its natural underground source, which averages a balmy 135 degrees Fahrenheit.
Luckily, the water is cooled to a more bearable 100 degrees by the time it is put in the tub. The pool also features a control valve for further adjusting the water to a comfortable temperature.
Dispersed camping zones and regulated campgrounds are found within the region for visitors wishing to spend the night near the springs.
3. Hill Top Hot Springs (12.5 Miles)
Also known as Pulkey Hot Springs, the Hill Top Hot Springs near Mammoth Lakes is a simple thermal pool complex in the Long Valley Caldera about a 15-minute drive from town.
Though one of the smaller hot springs in the region, the Hill Top Hot Springs is famous amongst locals and tourists thanks to its serene setting and soothing waters.
The Hill Top Hot Springs is a man-made pool but features geothermal waters that excrete from the ground at 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Transported from their source via a pipe, the waters cool off throughout their journey to a more comfortable soaking temperature averaging between 100 and 110 degrees before entering the pool.
Like many hot springs on this list, no camping is permitted around the springs. Instead, visitors seeking to spend the night in the region should head to one of the nearby dispersed camping areas or book a site at Brown’s Owens River Campground nearby.
4. Wild Willy’s Hot Springs (13 Miles)
Also nestled in the Long Valley Caldera and heated by the same geothermal activities as the previously mentioned hot springs, Wild Willy’s Hot Springs is again only a 15-minute drive from Mammoth Lakes. However, this hot spring boasts a slightly larger pool to enjoy while admiring the breathtaking vistas of sweeping meadows and glimmering mountain ranges on the horizon.
Also known as Crowley Hot Spring, visitors are led from the parking lot via a boardwalk to the springs. The area features two unique soaking pools that average between 95- and 105 degrees Fahrenheit. The first pool is about 10 feet wide and fits up to 3 people. Meanwhile, the second pool is much larger and can fit 15 to 20 soakers.
The hot springs are best enjoyed during sunrise or sunset. During this time crowds tend to be slightly thinner, but visitors are rewarded with some of the best views as the golden-hour light reflects off the surrounding mountains for a truly breathtaking display.
5. Benton Hot Springs (42 Miles)
Located slightly further from other springs in the region, the Benton Hot Springs near Mammoth Lakes is just under an hour away from the city and provides the nearest thermal pool facility that boasts a wide array of onsite amenities and services.
Operated by The Inn at Benton Hot Springs which is a part of a 1,255-acre ranch that features an onsite natural hot spring water source that excretes from the ground at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Luckily, these waters are cooled off before entering the onsite hot tubs, in which soakers can further heat or cool the water to their preferences.
Tucked away in the community of Benton, even closer to the Nevada Border, this hot spring complex is far less visited than other regional thermal pools. Instead, it rewards guests with a quiet setting with a serene ambiance as visitors bathe in the mineral waters.
6. Keough’s Hot Spring (51 Miles)
One of the most historical hot springs near Mammoth Lakes, Keough’s Hot Spring is about an hour south of the city and was first established over a century ago, in 1919. Visitors today can still soak in the two historical pools that have serviced the area since the facility’s opening.
From the source, the spring water is a scorching 130 degrees. However, thanks to the facility’s spray system, the water is significantly cooled off before entering the pools. The main pool features water temperatures averaging 90 degrees throughout the year.
The second pool of the complex is maintained at slightly warmer temperatures and averages 104 degrees.