Soaking in a Hot Spring

Hot Creek in Mammoth

Overview before descending down to Hot Creek

How comforting is it to sit outside in the cold and soak in a hot tub!  We’re not talking about a traditional “jacuzzi” kind of hot tub, but a hot spring .  Close to Mammoth you will find pockets of waters bubbling to the surface. You can usually see the steam rising on a cold night.   One of the more famous locations is  Hot Creek near Mammoth over by the airport.

Hot Creek in Mammoth  is home to a large amount of geothermal activity and Hot Creek is actually a cold creek that is warmed as it mixes with water that is heated by the lava / earth that is under the Eastern Sierra. Boiling hot springs, fumaroles and geysers are found here.  Some of these pump hot water into the water flowing down from Mammoth Creek warming the water into what is called Hot Creek. Swimming is officially not advised but the many soakers will tell you, “come on in, the waters fine”,  and it is. What makes Hot Creek so spectacular is the view, and the way the water mixes. Melted snow and ice fall into cracks which is heated by the earth. It bubbles up boiling hot in the ponds and mixes with  melted snow somehow making the temperature just right for a soak.  Now don’t get too excited and grab your bathing suit and start driving.  Hot Creek isn’t always open.  It was shut down when the water starting mixing at the wrong amounts and the hot water was just too hot.  It also started “geyser” like flowing and shooting straight into the air like “old faithful”.  The forest service controls this so you should check with them before you go to soak. There are signs telling you not to swim, and especially not to suck down the water as it is full of sulphur.  Even the smell may be a bit overwhelming, but the locals will all tell you, it is one beautiful place.

Located, three miles south of Mammoth Junction on US 395 and three miles east of the airport (the last 1.5 miles is unpaved). You take the Airport Road and drive past the Hot Creek Fish Hatchery. Hot Creek is a phenomenon of live hot springs and fumaroles (gas vents) that heat a cold mountain stream. Parking lot and restrooms. Open sunrise to sunset; no charge.

My 2 cents. – If it is open, you have to go for a soak.  Bring your own everything especially towels, bathrobe, shoes. Please leave glass bottles  and cans at home.  When the glass breaks it ruins the party for everyone as everyone is walking barefoot. It is really disgusting to see people chuck their beer cans into this beautiful environment.

Rolling in the snow!  Somehow soaking in a jacuzzi or hot tub and hoping out and rolling in the snow seems to be a phenomenon that everyone has to try once.  It won’t kill you, but be advised it burns like hell!  It is almost laughable when people come to visit  and they hop out of their Mammoth lodging jacuzzi and roll around or make a snow angel.  It stings.  On the other hand, some people like it.  Go figure.

Tell us what your experience has been like and where you like to go soak.

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