Camp and Photograph Hot Creek
Yosemite › Hot Creek Geological Site
Added by Gregg Boydston
Bring your pole for great trout fishing, then spend the evening enjoying the hot springs and river for a swim. Since this area is on BLM land, you can camp almost anywhere -- just remember to camp 200 feet from water.
Hot Creek Geological Site is a must see when you are in the Mammoth Lakes area. It is just West of Highway 395 and only minutes form the town of Mammoth Lakes, which has great food, a ski resort, world class mountain biking, and a brewery. Bishop is about 40 minutes South which is well known for its world class climbing and bouldering along with the great fishing.
Hot Creek runs a good length from the 395 until it runs into the Owens River. The actual marked Geological Site is a site to see. From boiling water, winding canyons, and teal water, it is always a spot to have your camera. The area near the parking lot is usually a bit hot to swim and you will be warned by many signs and fences that were placed after a few injuries. Here is where you just want to look and take pictures, but when you are ready, you can move down river a bit and the water temperatures will be a bit cooler for a nice warm water wade. While driving to the location, you will notice a fish hatchery to the North. The fishing is great here! As mentioned above, almost all of this area is BLM land which means you are welcome to camp anywhere you'd like. The sunsets are killer and the sunrises are always fantastic.
This area is littered with natural hot springs if you are looking for the tub setting compared to the river.
THINGS TO KNOW:
- The area is frequently traveled
- The river does have some extremely hot areas!
- Some areas along the river can require a vehicle with ground clearance
- Phone signal is not always available in the area
- Bathrooms are open year round at the Geological Site
- Family friendly (occasional nudity in hot springs)
- Fish are catch and release out of season
- Camping Gear
- Photography Equipment
- Swimming Attire
- Beverages of Choice
- Fishing Supplies (seasonal if you plan to keep)
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
Camping, Chillin, Fishing, Photography, Swimming
Are we missing something?Suggest an edit
ReviewsLeave a Review
So as stated above, you definitely can't camp right next to the cool looking stuff. The Geological site is fenced off due to injuries in the past and is set up kind of like a part setting. (Bathrooms, tables, walk ways, etc.) Although you can't set up a tent in this area, Hot Creek flows a ways until it hits the Owens River. Lucky for us, it flows right through BLM land and you are able to set up camp just down a ways from the actual parking area. Close enough you can even smell the sulphur still. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out, as I only live 10 minutes from here.
Stopped by here during a cross-country roadtrip and enjoyed hiking around and along the hot springs. Had a hard time finding where we were allowed to camp and where we weren't after setting up camp and having some people tell us it wasn't allowed (there's a fish hatchery that seems off-limits, the geologic site itself which says "No Camping", and some fenced areas along the creek), so we eventually just drove over to Convict Lake and camped up at Mildred Lake.
More Adventures Nearby
Rock Climb Penthouse Cracks, Yosemite NP
Yosemite / Yosemite Lodge Parking Area
The Penthouse Cracks in Yosemite Valley are a great introduction to crack climbing, in a safe environment. With fixed protection above the routes, you are able to safely top rope these climbs.
Hike Panum Crater Trail
Yosemite / Panum Crater Trail
If you are visiting Mono Lake, the Panum Crater Trail is not to be missed! From 395, take highway 120 east for about 2.5 miles.