• Activities:

    Chillin, Swimming

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Year Round

Hot Springs

A steamy hot pool with an insane view of the Eastern Sierra. 

Mammoth’s volcanic valley floor is peppered with these natural steamy tubs with panoramic views of the Eastern Sierra. It’s pretty damn whimsical. 

My personal favorite is the Hilltop Hot Tub, which is a man-made stone pool fed by a bubbling, steamy creek. According to some corner of the web, it is sometimes called Pulkey's Pool, but I kinda prefer the emblematic nomenclature. 


Take Highway 395 heading either south or north toward Benton Crossing Road. Then turn toward the cute wee green church and continue 2.5 miles down the road, past two cattle guard crossings. 

Just as you drive by the second cattle guard, you descend a little hill. At the bottom of the that, turn left onto a dirt road and follow it, staying to the right, for about 300 yards to a primitive dirt parking area (which doubles as free BLM camping space—whatta score, am I right!?). 

Once you're in the parking lot, you'll look for a small footpath that leads to a bleached plank bridge which will carry you over the squishy marshland and deposit you right by the hot pool with a killer view of the Sierra. Literally one of the most rewarding 5 minute walks in California. 

These hot pools are open to adventurers all year long, but sometimes in the winter the county closes the parking lot. So if you encounter a locked gate on your journey, just park on the side of Benton Crossing Road and walk 300 yards down to the dirt lot you were supposed to drive to. 

Fair warning, it is customary to wear your birthday suit in these hot pools, so expect to share the tub with a lot of old naked cowboys and tourists en route to Reno. But also, going nude can get you a ticket, because sometimes Mammoth County is an uncanny, contradictory place.

Address: Off Benton Crossing Rd.; about 3 miles east of U.S. 395Mammoth Lakes, CA

Coordinates: 37.6455, -118.8001 

Pack List

  • Swimsuit
  • Towel
  • Sandals
  • Beer (kinda optional)
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Hilltop hot spring is one of the nicer and more convenient tubs off of Benton Road. A man made concrete tub, complete with a valve to control the temperature (kind of). But do be warned that it can get crowded, fitting at most 10 people at a time.

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

This is a great go-to spot, especially when Wild Willy's is too crowded. This is also the perfect spot to watch the sunrise, especially if you want the place to yourself! Also, just as an FYI, most people (especially a lot of the locals) like to enjoy this spot in the nude!

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

Ty Merkel

Ty is a California-born photographer and writer based in Los Angeles. After a stint living in van and working in the grape fields of New Zealand she moved back to America, and started making images full time.

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