Soak in the Sierras: Travertine Hot Springs
Yosemite › Travertine Hot Spring
Added by IdleTheoryBus
Post-hike PamperingUnreal soaking viewsGetting groundedDispersed Camping
After you’ve bagged an Eastern Sierra peak, you deserve a little soaking to soothe your aching feet and tired muscles. Luckily, our great Mother Earth provides what you need.
Travertine Hot Springs sits only a few dirt miles from highway 395. Before you head out, grab some local brews from the general store in the quiet valley town of Bridgeport. You can drive straight in to the first pools. Walk a short distance to take in majestic views of the jagged Sawtooth Ridge as you relax into thermal bliss.
There are pools of all temperatures, the hottest being right at the parking area. By hot, we mean do a toe dunk before stepping in; you could cook in that first one. Literally. We used the spring as free fuel for our camping pot. Above the magma-heated ground, we heated water to a bubbling boil for two cups of hot tea.
If the first pools are all occupied, don’t fear. There are typically enough “tubs” to go around. Head out east through the slick maze of travertine rock and you will find four small, private pools in a grassy meadow.
The biggest perk of this front country spring is that that floor of the pools are mud; no concrete orderliness here. We believe in the healing power of the springs, and direct contact with the earth is crucial to the magic it can work. Rub the earth over your skin and get grounded in the steady vibrations.
Because the land surrounding the thermal springs is Forest Service Land, you can legally camp for free in any of the pullouts along the back roads. It is primitive camping, with no facilities of any kind, so be prepared to be self-contained. Arrive late afternoon, set up camp, and walk a half-mile for a sunset soak. Then, rise before daybreak to enjoy the empty pool of your choice before anyone has even turned over in bed. It’ll be all yours for those precious few hours.
Heading south from Bridgeport on Highway 395, make a left onto an unmarked paved road just before the Forest Service Office. Follow straight road between a quarry work site for a very short distance till it reaches a dirt road that curves first right, then left up into the hills. Keep on this well graded dirt track up to the parking lot. There is a pit toilet in the parking lot for your convenience. Please be sure to be courteous to others and pack out all trash you brought in. The locals here are incredibly kind and friendly, and this can only continue through good stewardship on the part of us transients.
- Optional Swimming Suit - Use Discretion for Natural Soaking
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Come at sunset!
First off - the natural structures of these hot springs are just so intricate. I haven't seen anything quite like it. Crazy to think that these have been forming for thousands of years. The colors and textures are very cool. Perks - it's free. Parking is easy. There is a bathroom there. Sunset over the mountain ridge is beautiful. Con - small hot springs so you may share a pool with some folks. Everyone is friendly though. Went on a Saturday and there were maybe 8-10 people dispersed in 4 pools.
Came here after a day exploring the Bodie Hills. It was a cold, windy day out in the hills, and the hot springs were an awesome way to finish it! It was a little crowded, but the crowds cleared out as it got darker. Great camping out in the Bodie Hills as well- it's all BLM land, so camping is free!
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