Soak in the Sierras: Travertine Hot Springs

Travertine Hot Spring

Post-hike Pampering. Unreal soaking views. Getting grounded. Dispersed 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.

INSIDER TIP:
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.

DIRECTIONS:
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.

Pack List

  • Towel
  • Coffee
  • Optional Swimming Suit - Use Discretion for Natural Soaking
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Activities Chillin, Camping
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Features
Adult Beverages
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Handicap Accessible
Hot Springs
Picnic Area
Romantic
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

The Views

First of all, there will be people here in the nude, so if that makes you uncomfortable, I would recommend Buckeye Hot Springs on the other side of Bridgeport. Otherwise, Travertine has 4 or 5 hot springs for soaking, and when that bores you, you can always take a hike on any number of trails in the area, all with a full view of the valley and town, along with the very mountains who separate Bridgeport from Yosemite. This is a must try experience for anyone in the area.

Really Crowded

These hot springs are awful, super crowded, and they could be a lot hotter. Tons of hair in the sand and I've heard of people pleasuring themselves there.

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.


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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