The Travertine Hot Springs are famous hot springs for those visiting Mammoth Lakes or Bridgeport, and it is no surprise that they are so popular.

They are known for the rejuvenating powers of its many thousands of-year-old smaller pools scattered amidst meadows offering fantastic views of the Eastern Sierra Nevada and the White Mountain Range in California.

Thanks to easy access and its close location to the nearby Bridgeport and Mammoth Lakes towns, it is one of the most visited hot springs in the region.

After a packed day of exploring the attractions, soaking in the pool surrounded by the stunning wilderness views is the best way to end a day feeling relaxed on your trip.

You can reach it via a short drive from Mammoth or Bridgeport and stop for a quick soak. You can combine these two attractions since they are also the nearest hot springs to Yosemite National Park.

I’d highly recommend spending time enjoying a relaxing dip taking in the splendid views of the panorama comprising of the magical wilderness of the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains, preferably spending a day or two camping and exploring other springs.

Whether you are only here for a quick stop on your California road trip or here for a weekend getaway to Mammoth Lakes, I would highly recommend a hot springs visit. 

In this guide, I have put together all you need to know to find these hot springs and enjoy relaxing soaks while considering their delicate ecosystem.

Before you begin, check out the complete guide to all Mammoth Lakes Hot Springs to know about all those nearby ones you can include.

WHAT TO EXPECT AT TRAVERTINE HOT SPRINGS?

While the main pool of Travertine Hot Springs is well-known, if you venture further away, there are six pools of varying sizes and temperatures offering different splendid panoramic views of the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains.

Travertine Hot springs

The first hot spring is next to the parking lot, which is also an ADA-accessible cement-walled tub. It is not the main pool, but it is easily accessible and is one of the hottest springs.

Due to its close location to the parking, you will usually find this tub occupied, especially during the afternoons and busy holidays.

MAIN TRAVERTINE HOT SPRINGS

Hot, steamy, geothermal water moves up from its underground source, running along a naturally-created ridge in the travertine rock and trickles down into the pools below, forming the primary Travertine Hot Spring source, which has four pools.

Since most of the heated mineral water runs down into the first pool, it is the hottest. Also, the first pool is the largest and ideal if you are in a big group.

OTHER TRAVERTINE HOT SPRINGS

The other hot springs are located beyond the main pools of Travertine Hot Springs, which are all natural hot springs with healing properties. 

So do not be bothered much by the sulfuric mud and the dirty floor you soak in these pools.

These surrounding hot tubs are best if you are looking for seclusion, although they may not be for you traveling in large groups. 

Travertine Hot Springs

Each pool would only fit 1-2 people comfortably, so if you find the initial ones occupied, keep walking further as you may get lucky to find the others empty.

If you walk for about 2 minutes from the main Travertine Hot Springs, two small pools are the first in the set beside an elevated stream.

One is hotter than the other, so depending on how hot you like the water to be, you can choose between these two. But both offer surreal mountain views that you should not miss admiring.

Both pools are not more than 2 feet deep, so you get to sit comfortably and enjoy soaking while taking in the views.

If you take a walk from these two pools ahead for about 2 minutes, you will land in front of another hot spring, one big enough to hold at least four people, and another tiny pool that does not look that comfortable, although the views are unparalleled.

It is a bit more secluded, with the cement walls adding more to the isolation, making it a perfect choice if you want to soak away from the crowds.

The smaller of the two is shallow and warmer. Depending on the season you are visiting, you may encounter bugs as they are not much seen, so take this account if you want to avoid the nuisance, a common occurrence, especially in the summer months.

Travertine Hot springs

Keep walking ahead from this pool for about 300ft, and you will find a small and shallow pool, which is warmer relative to the others around and can accommodate up to three comfortably.

The final hot spring in the surrounding area at the end of the parking lot is easy to find as it is located opposite the other pools.

Not only is it quite hot, but it is also bigger and an excellent tub for watching gorgeous sunsets.

WHERE IS THE TRAVERTINE HOT SPRING?

The US 395 Highway is a blessed surreal stretch of a vast expanse of wilderness, from Death Valley to the stunning Alabama Hills and the lovely Sierra Nevada mountains.

Bridgeport, a sleepy town, is located off this highway, which is worth a quick stop for its history, downtown, and the hot springs.

Travertine Hot Springs consists of a group of geothermal hot tubs in Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest, nestling amidst the Sawtooth Sierra Mountains outside historic Bridgeport.

They are located in the Long Valley Caldera outside Bridgeport, about a 10-minute drive.

Travertine Hot springs

Since these hot springs are famous in general, despite being offbeat, be prepared to share the tub with others unless you time your visit early in the morning before sunrise, which has the slightest chance of fellow travelers to be there. 

Also, it is one of the clothing-optional hot tubs, so do not be surprised if you see people soaking in their birth suits.

WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT TRAVERTINE HOT SPRINGS?

The best times of the day to enjoy Travertine Hot Springs is before and around sunrise and sunset, when the views get spectacular and temperatures will be pleasant.

If you manage to be here before dawn, you will probably enjoy seclusion, with a few to no other tourists around you. 

It is my favourite time for a soak as not only are the rising golden rays of the sun form a spectacle in the sky against the white backdrops, but you get to privately(mostly) experience the views.

If you are a night owl, you will love a night soak for its pleasant breeze and stunning star-bed in the sky, making stargazing from the heated pools under the moonlight a magical experience, especially if you are here in the summer or the spring.

BEST SEASON TO VISIT

The Mammoth Lakes region is known as the winter destination, thanks to its many snow-powdered mountains and cold, snowy winters that make it one of the best ski regions in California.

In general, the best time to visit Travertine Hot Springs is between late May to early October, the summer months.

It is the busiest and the most favourite season of the year, which is no surprise given the weather.

Travertine Hot springs

With pleasant temperatures throughout the day, you will have the most comfortable daytime and morning temperatures during this season.

October and April are the most popular months for winter travel, with temperatures frequently dropping to freezing.

Although winter is the ideal time to enjoy hot baths surrounded by magical landscapes, most dirt roads remain buried under thick layers of snow, making them inaccessible.

It may be too cold once you get out of the pool, and the surrounding snow adds to the freezing weather.

However, if you are used to cold weather, you will love enjoying taking dips in the hot pools.

The best time to visit Travertine Hot Spring and the surrounding area for many is spring, as the temperature is pleasant, and there are few bugs.

The landscapes look unique and surreal as thin layers of snow remain, while most of them start to melt away, bringing in freshwater filling the streams, rivers, and waterfalls.

The fresh wildflower blooms carpet the Eastern Sierra Nevadas, painting the landscapes in different colours treating the senses.

If the wildfire will spare this part of California and pleasant weather prevails, fall can also be great for all of the same reasons as spring to enjoy your trip to Travertine Hot Springs.

I prefer spring or fall to plan a trip to Mammoth Lakes Hot Springs for a few reasons.

I find summer crowded to enjoy peaceful soaking, while fall is fantastic to enjoy the glorious fall colours in Mammoth and fewer tourists.

As I mentioned before, spring is my preferred season. With pleasant temperatures, you can witness the magical wildflower blooms and the lack of mosquitoes and other bugs in the evening, which is a common nuisance in summer.

WHAT IS THE TEMPERATURE AT TRAVERTINE HOT SPRINGS?

At the main Travertine hot springs, geothermal water at a temperature of over 110°F emerges from the ground, which is transferred by a pipe into a tub made of rocks and cement. 

The temperature in the other tubs is of varying degrees, some less hot, varying between 100 and 105°F or 38-43°C depending on the weather conditions, while a few are slightly hotter.

You can adjust the temperature by gate valves on the pipes that transfer cold and hot water.

HOW TO REACH TRAVERTINE HOT SPRINGS?

BY ROAD

If you live within driving distance or plan to arrive by road, I’d recommend planning a road trip to explore all the hot springs near Mammoth Lakes and the tons of things to do in and around Mammoth.

You can also explore the nearby town of Bridgeport if you have more time.

FROM LOS ANGELES – You need first to drive 300 miles northeast of Los Angeles to reach the US 395 Highway, which will take about 5 hours. 

FROM SAN FRANCISCO – Drive about 330 miles southeast of San Francisco to arrive at the 395 US highway, which takes about 5.5 hours.

RENTING A CAR FOR YOUR TRIP

If you fly into Mammoth Lakes or need to rent a car to make your road trip, I would highly recommend doing it online on Discover Cars.

Some rental companies do not allow their cars to be driven off-road, and you can be sure of not getting any such when you book online on Discover Cars.

You can compare availability and prices across many companies. 

They also provide fantastic deals if you book in advance or take cars for more extended hire. Compare the prices and check the availability here.

BY FLIGHT

If you’re not within driving distance, you can alternatively fly in. Mammoth Yosemite Airport, located in Mammoth Lakes, is one of the nearby airports to arrive at Mammoth. 

But the flights from other cities to Mammoth are not many, more expensive, and not frequent.

It is best to fly into a bigger airport for better airfare options. You have the option of flying into Los Angeles, which is about 4 hours and 40 minutes away from Mammoth Lakes.

Alternatively, you can fly into Las Vegas or San Francisco, over 5 hours away from Mammoth Lakes.

The main Travertine Hot Spring can be easily accessed following the trail close to the cement pool. Other pools as mentioned above lie further ahead.

One of the best things about visiting is the walk to the springs is gorgeous—your first glimpses of the majestic snow-capped peaks at the horizon and pine forests around you. Make sure to admire the views as you arrive at the hot spring.

From these airports, rent a car for your whole trip, or book a car again, preferably a high-clearance vehicle, once you arrive at Mammoth Lakes to explore Travertine Hot Springs and other attractions around since you will be driving on many dirt roads on your trip.

GETTING TO TRAVERTINE HOT SPRINGS FROM US 395 HIGHWAY

From Mammoth Lakes, take the US Highway 395 North or from Bridgeport, take the US 395 South. 

Turn right if coming from Mammoth or left if coming from Bridgeport onto Jack Sawyer Road.

Continue on Jack Sawyer Road for about 0.2 miles, and then turn left onto a dirt road indicated by a sign to the springs.

Keep driving on this dirt road for about 1 mile, which will lead you to a bare parking lot with a wooden rail where you’ll park.

You will first come across a cement pool in the parking lot. Follow it down to the left for some time to reach the main Travertine Hot Springs pool.

Unlike other hot springs in the region, you do not need a high clearance vehicle to go past the dirt road as the road is in good condition.

WHERE TO STAY WHEN VISITING TRAVERTINE HOT SPRINGS?

The nearby town of Bridgeport is the closest option for accommodation if you are in this area only to explore Buckeye Hot Springs. Note that this is a small town, so accommodation options are limited. You can check more here.

If you want to base yourself close to a more prominent city centre, I recommend Mammoth Village, as it is the best area and has many excellent resorts and hotels.

It also makes sense to stay in Mammoth if you plan to visit all the places in and around.

The Village Lodge is the most popular choice as it is ideal for couples and people with kids looking for spacious rooms. You can choose from studio to two-bedroom units that also come equipped with a kitchen. 

There is also a heated outdoor pool and several hot tubs. And the views from the hotels are splendid. Check prices here to book.

If you love heritage properties as I do, I would highly recommend Tamarack Lodge, a historic lodge located on the shore of Twin Lakes and surrounded by mountains and skiing.

About 10 minutes drive away from downtown, this lodge has maintained its old heritage with a neat blend of modern times.

Along with cosy rooms coming with a kitchen and fireplace, you can also enjoy dining at their Lakefront restaurant. You can also sign up for mountain bike lessons, guided hikes and fly fishing classes. Book here.

Innsbruck Lodge is located near the Village Gondola that. I prefer its secluded and stunning location. 

This lovely lodge offers apartments with kitchens to simple rooms, and they have an on-site hot tub and spa. It is worth staying here if you love quieter stays.

The Westin Monache Resort is next to the Village Lodge and beside Mountain Center in the Village, another excellent choice. 

This pretty place comes with condos comprising spacious rooms and balconies offering beautiful views. The property features a heated outdoor pool and hot tubs. Book a stay here.

If the popular ones do not appeal to you, check out Sierra Lodge, centrally located, which offers spacious rooms with kitchenettes. The hotel features a hot tub, free parking and a barbecue.

Juniper Springs Resort, located in Mammoth Lakes, is ideal for a winter trip as it is close to the ski lifts and winter activities.

Check below for information on the available campsites if you are looking to camp.

CAMPING AT TRAVERTINE HOT SPRINGS

Depending on your preferences, you can choose from a few locations if you plan to camp on your trip to Travertine Hot Springs.

The area is managed by the National Forest Service and there is limited dispersed camping on the road leading to Travertine Hot Springs. 

Although dispersed camping is permitted, you cannot camp within the primitive parking lot. Also, you will not find any drinking water or toilets facilities.

Make sure you don’t camp close to the fragile meadows. There are many signs indicating the prohibited spaces around the hot spring so ensure you adhere to fines otherwise.

You will find a few pull-offs on the way to the hot springs, any of which you can camp at.

If you plan to visit other hot springs in the area, many others are in the surrounding BLM land, like the Rock Hot Tub, Whitmore Tubs Road, or the Hot Creek Hatchery Spur Road.

If you are looking for campgrounds with better amenities, check out some of the closest ones to Travertine Hot Springs, including Paradise Shores, Bridgeport Reservoir, and Willow Springs Motel & RV Park.

Apart from comfortable camping amenities, excellent locations, they also offer full RV hookups at comparable rates.

As the National Forest Service manages the region, campers are expected to follow leave-no-trace principles, although free camping is permitted.

If you are unsure, check with the local office at (760) 872-5000 to confirm whether camping is permitted in the area you choose to make sure you do not end up paying a hefty fine.

WHAT SHOULD YOU PACK FOR HOT SPRINGS?

As I mentioned earlier, most of the hot springs near Mammoth Lakes are remote without the standard facilities, shops, or eateries. 

Although you don’t have to bring a lot of things to visit Travertine Hot Springs, below are some of the items you should consider packing.

A swimsuit – Although many hot springs in the area are clothing optional, carry a swimsuit with you if you are not comfortable being nude when there are other people around.

A reusable water bottle – Bring plenty of water to avoid dehydration in a reusable water bottle. You will be sweating a lot, and also, high altitude sickness is best avoided by drinking lots of water.

Travel Towel – Bring a quick-drying, easy-to-pack travel towel. An additional oversized towel will come in handy to sit on in the car en route to the next hot spring as there are no changing rooms. 

Extra clothes – Bring a set of spare clothes that you can change into once done with soaking in the pools.

Travel Cooler  If you are here during the summer, carry a compact cooler to keep your water, beer, juices, and snacks cool.

Dry bag – Bring a dry bag to pack all of your electronics, including our camera, tripod, cell phones, towels, food, drinks, and other essentials that you can carry around without having to go back to your vehicle.

Jacket – One of the essential layers is a light, packable jacket, better suited for a slight breeze and windy weather.

Flip flops  You need to walk on gravel paths or hike along steep trails to access some hot springs from parking lots. I’d recommend carrying good walking shoes/hiking shoes for this purpose.

But along with this, also carry a pair of flip flops to change into before and after stepping out of the pools. You can also alternatively bring water shoes.

Sunscreen may not be too sunny except for the summer months, but it is best to apply sunscreen in high elevations. 

Snacks – Bring enough snacks for the way and picnic near the hot springs as there are no shops nearby.

SOME USEFUL TIPS FOR HOT SPRINGS

Travertine Hot Springs are popular spots for both locals and tourists. So it is essential that we do our part to protect them.

Travertine Hot springs

Here are some of the things to consider while planning your trip to make it an enjoyable and safe experience.

  • The high elevation and its effects – Many people do not consider that many places in the Mammoth Lakes area, including most of its alpine lakes and hot springs, are located at high altitudes.
  • High elevation affects different people in various ways. It is best to acclimate accordingly no matter how fit you are or have been to high altitude regions before, as anyone can get AMS(Altitude Mountain Sickness).
  • While altitude sickness is unlikely to have much effect until you’re above 8,000ft or 2,500m, you may feel breathless or dizzy at the hot springs, especially if you’ve recently arrived in the area. 
  • Watch if the symptoms persist for longer, and if you feel sicker, it is best to move to lower altitudes or wait until you feel better before entering hot springs as the heat of the pool combined with the higher altitudes may cause you to feel dizzy sooner than you may expect.
  • Although summer is the best time to visit, there is also a higher chance of bad air quality due to wildfire smoke. If you stay in late summer, check the air quality before planning your trip.
  • Mosquitoes can be problematic, and other bugs gang up during the evenings if you plan a summer trip. 
    • Ensure you use a natural bug repellant that will not affect the natural hot springs when you take a dip.
  • If you plan a winter trip to Shepherd Hot Springs, know that the road leading to the hot spring may be impassable due to snow.
    • If that happens during your visit, you can park along Benton Crossing Road and walk or snowshoe down the road to the parking lot, which will add to your adventure.
  • If you are camping, make sure you’re on the BLM land and not close to the prohibited areas around the pools, as that could attract huge penalties.
  • Please follow all leave no trace principles if you plan to camp.
  • The hot springs are located in a fragile ecosystem, and it is essential to keep the sensitive habitat in mind that needs to be preserved that way.
  • There are no amenities near Travertine Hot Springs – no changing rooms or public toilets, pit toilets or drinking water. 
  • Make sure to carry enough water, snacks, and other beverages. You may have to go out in nature for bathrooms and change near or inside cars or secluded places.
  • Nudity is common in most hot springs near Mammoth Lakes, and you should expect the same at Travertine Hot Springs, too, as it is clothing-optional. 

So you may initially feel uncomfortable if you are not used to seeing others in their birth suits, but it gets less awkward after a while. 

  • Bring one or two pairs of a swimsuit if you are not comfortable going nude, which is perfectly fine as well.
  • It is an area where cows freely graze, something you may have to take into account if you plan to take a pet with you as they may startle the livestock.
  • One of the things you should do on your visit to the hot springs is head there or spend time at night, especially when there is little or no moon. 
  • Camping means you will get to see some of the best night skies in California, but even if you do not camp, soaking in the night admiring the starlit skies and the stunning mountains accompanying you on the horizon is a dreamy experience.
  • The closest grocery store is Crowley Lake General Store, which is 20 minutes away from the hot springs.
  • But I would recommend rather going to the closest town Mammoth Lakes, which is about 25 minutes away and has many supermarkets.
  • Mammoth Lakes is also the best location for restaurants and gas stations.
  • Like all hot springs, make sure to test out the water temperature with your fingers or toes before planning to soak your whole self so that your skin does not get burnt.
  • Cell phone coverage in the area is intermittent, so ensure you download offline maps on your Google Maps app before heading to Travertine Hot Springs.
  • The springs become busier as the day progresses, especially during the peak months, holidays, and weekends. It turns into a soaking party with many travelers gathering for relaxing and taking in the views.
  • If you want some privacy, you need to plan your visit accordingly for those hours with lesser or no tourists.
  • Honestly, it is difficult to expect that as it is one of the most easily accessible and hence a trendy spring attracting tourists visiting Mammoth Lakes.

TRAVERTINE HOT SPRINGS MAP

Below is the location of Shepherd Hot Springs on Google Maps which you can bookmark or save.

Address – Off Jack Sawyer Road, about 1.5 miles southeast of Bridgeport.

Travertine Hot Springs is one of many hot springs near Yosemite and Mammoth Lakes in Mono County.

Check my guide to Mammoth Lakes hot springs for everything you need to know about visiting the rest of the stunning hot springs, ideal to add as part of a California road trip.

If you have visited the hot springs in this area and if any of the information is incorrect or out of date, please let me know in the comments below and I will update.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Travertine Hot Springs makes an ideal day trip or camping trip from Mammoth Lakes or Bridgeport.

You can also plan a bigger trip including the hot spring with Lake Tahoe, or combine it with a visit to Yosemite National Park, which in itself is worth a few days.

Check these detailed guides to plan an itinerary including Mammoth Lakes and the other hot springs.

OTHER GUIDES TO MAMMOTH LAKES AND AROUND

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT TRAVERTINE HOT SPRINGS 

Are dogs allowed at Travertine Hot Springs?

Although dogs are allowed on a leash at Travertine Hot Springs, they cannot get into any pools.

Can you swim in Travertine Hot Springs?

You can comfortably soak in Travertine Hot Springs as they are too small and also shallow for swimming.

Is Travertine Hot Springs open in the winter?

During the late spring, summer, or early fall Travertine Hot Springs are ideal for a visit as the ground is free of snow or ice. If you do not mind the snow-cold weather, you can visit Travertine Hot Springs in the winter as they are open, although you may have to navigate through the unplowed snow.

How hot does Travertine Hot Springs get?

The temperature at the source can get really hot, up to 180°F or 82°C.

And the temperature of the main pool at Travertine Hot Springs goes around 100°F or 38°C. But the other hot springs have various degrees of temperature, with some being warmer.

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TOP TRAVEL TIPS & RESOURCES

Below is the list of the travel resources you can use to organize your travel – from flights to insurance and everything. These are the resources I use myself, which is why I recommend you for a hassle-free travel planning experience and fantastic trips.

Booking Flights: To score flight deals, search on Jet Radar, Kiwior 12go.Asia (for Asia planning). Book and fly mid-week, taking red-eyes flights or those in the early mornings for better deals and lower prices. Avoid check-in bags on a budget airline.

Booking Trains: The best websites for booking trains anywhere in Europe are Rail Europe and TrainLine. Both are easy to manage online and track your journeys.

Booking Cars: For the best prices and easy handling of renting a car for road trips and day trips, I’d recommend Discover Cars or Rental Cars, available throughout the world.

Accommodations: I typically use HotelsCombined or Booking.com to book hotels. There are special getaway deals with amazing discounts(over 50%!) for this year on Booking.com, and you can find them here.

I use Hostelworld and Agoda to book hostels as the deposit is low, easy change/cancellation is available and reviews are excellent on both. Depending on the destination, I love staying in VRBOs/homestays.

Travel Insurance: No matter whether it is a short trip or longer trips abroad, I strongly recommend buying travel insurance for international trips. I recommend either World Nomads or SafetyWing for international travel insurance.

Tours: Being a solo traveler, one of the best ways to optimize my time, budget, and super importantly, meet amazing people from all over the world is by joining tours, especially food tours, walking tours, day trips, culture, and history tours.
You will get a local’s perspective, the best opportunities to experience places and people closely. I book using GetYourGuideKlookViatorand Voyagin.

Reshma Narasing

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