Hot Creek Geothermal Area

Mammoth Lakes, California 93546

Hot Creek Geothermal Area

Hot Creek Geothermal Area Professional Review and Guide

"A series of hot springs feeding a cold water creek in a national forest. The hot springs vary widely in temperature, but a few warm spots at this popular spot allow perfect mixing of water. A popular place for those visiting the Mammoth Lakes area, Hot Creek can be quite busy on weekends, particularly in summer. Although the road may be closed during winter, you can ski into the springs if you are so inclined. Most of the springs feeding the cold creek are extremely hot, which you can see by the vast amount of steam produced. In the main bathing area there are several springs bubbling up on the creek bottom. These also are quite hot, but mixed with cold water they can make an exhilarating bath. Be extremely careful here, since most of the springs are boiling temperature at the source and will scald you. Bathe only in the main beach area, and take caution. Hot Creek is not the place for seclusion, but it is worth an hour or two for a bath."

Hot Creek Geothermal Area Reviews

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Hot Creek is currently CLOSED until further notice due to heightened geothermal activity. I guess there was some gysering in June 2006 and they havent opened it yet (as of Sept 2007). You can still visit, but there are fences put up all along the creek to prevent swimming. I imagine you could still hike into the canyon and find a place to go swimming anyway, but its officially closed. When it opens again (if?) it is a great place for a fun swim! Cold creek + hot springs= nice.
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The Hot Creek area is beautiful, but the creek itself (at least the hot springs part) was closed indefinitely when we visited, due to increased geothermal activity in the area. If you are planning on going with the intent of sitting in the river like most of the guides say you can, you'd better call the national forest service first to see if it is open.
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I have been to this spring many times, always in winter. The road is mostly closed and therefore the visit in winter involves a 2+ mile slogin the slush, ice, and postholing. Snowshoes, but not skis, are recommended. Well worth the trouble though, as the hot spring is enormous and comparatively unstinky. People there are very nice but there is some sort of after-dark closure I don't understand so the rangers could be nasty. Be sure to bring along very warm clothes for the hike back out as you will be a little moist and the winter chill is brutal. Once I hiked out in -5 and some of my companions never warmed up the whole way home.

Hot Creek Geothermal Area Photos

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Trail Information

Mammoth Lakes
Nearby City
Best: Spring, summer, and fall. The road to the springs may be closed in winter.
Hot Springs
USGS, Benton Range, CA-NV
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018