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

Pack List

  • Camping Gear
  • Photography Equipment
  • Swimming Attire
  • Beverages of Choice
  • Fishing Supplies (seasonal if you plan to keep)
Show More
Activities Chillin, Camping, Fishing, Photography, Swimming
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Features
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Food Nearby
Hot Springs
River
Scenic
Wildlife
Swimming Hole

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Amazing and Accessible

Don't miss Hot Creek; it's easy to get to and has an amazing view of the river leading to the mountains, with the steam from the hot springs making for a really killer shot. I didn't have trouble posting up with my tripod on a popular May weekend; I don't think a lot of people know about this spot (yet).

Great place and have been going here for years.

It's too bad they blocked off the swimming in the river but I guess the vent got too big. But it's still worth the incredible view of the Sierras and short hike.

Clarification

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.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

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

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