Tucked away on Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest land, Travertine Hot Springs offer a range of geothermal pools that have long been relished for their proclaimed healing powers. For over 10,000 years, people have been visiting these natural hot springs and they continue to provide an incredible experience in the present time.
While the Travertine Hot Springs themselves are no secret, there are several other hot springs close to the main pools that most visitors miss. We’ve put together this guide to ensure you can find all the hot springs, have the best possible time, and enjoy these natural wonders responsibly.
Melt into the pools and let the warmth of the naturally-heated mineral water soothe aching muscles while admiring views of the Sawtooth Sierra Mountains.
Before you read on, you will want to open our complete guide to all the hot springs near Mammoth Lakes to ensure you don’t miss out on any!
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Travertine Hot Springs Overview
After exploring the six hot springs in Mammoth Lakes, we couldn’t resist heading further afield to what many people had told us were the best hot springs in the area; Travertine Hot Springs. Having just visited so many wonderful springs already, we weren’t sure that the Travertine Hot Springs would live up to expectations. Instead, it far exceeded them!
We visited on a Saturday afternoon in July and, as we’d anticipated, the main hot springs were busy upon our arrival. Even on a busy weekend, however, we still managed to get one of the pools to ourselves right from the start.
As more people arrived closer to sunset, we ventured a little further on and soon discovered several other secret hot springs that were all completely empty! The main pools remained occupied by people coming and going until around 10:30pm, at which point we were finally able to enjoy them to ourselves under moonlight.
The Travertine Hot Springs had a far more natural feel than some of those in the Long Valley Caldera further south. While stones have been placed to contain the water, there are no pipes in sight and you’ll be sitting directly on mud and grit! Along with the hot springs being natural, you can also expect to see some visitors au natural. In other words, clothing is optional here and many soakers choose to enjoy the pools completely nude.
Coupled with beautiful surroundings, Travertine Hot Springs makes an ideal evening or overnight trip from Mammoth Lakes or Lake Tahoe, or as part of a bigger road trip that includes Yosemite National Park.
The main hot springs are conveniently located just a short walk from the parking lot. The secret pools require a bit more walking, but all are within a half-mile.
Do not be dismayed from visiting if you have physical limitations as there is a cement pool right at the parking lot. While the views are not quite as nice as some of the other nearby springs, the water is nice and warm and the cement provides a more pleasant surface than the gritty bottoms of the other pools.
Travertine Hot Springs Facts
Location of Main Travertine Hot Springs: Off Jack Sawyer Road, about 1.5 miles southeast of Bridgeport
Coordinates for Main Travertine Hot Springs: 38°14’43.3″N 119°12’18.8″W (open in Google Maps here)
Parking coordinates: 38°14’44.6″N 119°12’14.8″W (open in Google Maps here)
Elevation: 6,750 ft (2,060 m)
Size: Fits 10-15 people in the main pools, more at the other secret hot springs
Temperature: Varied (100°F+ / 38°c+)
Services: Drop toilet
Hiking distance: 0.15 miles
Road Access: Any vehicle
How to Get to Travertine Hot Springs
The main Travertine Hot Springs are easy to access and find, though the bonus secret pools are a little trickier. This section will cover how to get to the parking lot and main springs, while information on the secret springs will be included in their own sections further down.
Most of the drive is on major roads and only the last 1.1 miles will be unpaved. Fortunately, you don’t need a four-wheel drive or high clearance to make it! The road was in pretty good condition with just some mild washboard driving in spots.
Map of Travertine Hot Springs
The map below shows the exact location of the main Travertine Hot Springs and each of the secret hot springs that we’ll cover below. Click here or on the map below to open an interactive Google Map in a new tab. You’ll find driving directions from Mammoth Lakes, Bridgeport, and Buckeye Hot Springs (which we highly recommend visiting as well!).
We’ve also added rough walking routes to each of the secret hot springs to give you an idea of where they are and the trails to follow. The trails are unmarked but well-trodden, making them easy enough to follow. Please stick to the trails as the surrounding environment is very delicate!
Directions to Travertine Hot Springs
The Travertine Hot Springs are located along a dirt road off of Jack Sawyer Road.
- From Mammoth Lakes take the US-395 N, or from Bridgeport take the US-395 S.
- Turn right if coming from Mammoth or left if coming from Bridgeport onto Jack Sawyer Road.
- After 0.2 miles, turn left onto a dirt road indicated by a sign to the springs.
- Continue for 1.1 miles. You will then reach the parking lot.
- The trail begins beyond the first cement pool in the parking lot. Follow it down to the left for 700ft and you will reach the main Travertine Hot Springs geothermal pool.
Different Pools at Travertine Hot Springs
While most of the photos you will find of Travertine Hot Springs will be of just the main pool, there are actually a wide collection of options that provide varying views and temperatures to enjoy. Below is a list of options of geothermal pools to enjoy.
Parking Lot Hot Spring
The very first hot spring you’ll come across is literally right next to the parking lot. It is an ADA-accessible cement-walled tub and is one of the hottest springs. While it was a very comfortable temperature on our visit, it is worth dipping a toe in cautiously first as it has been known to reach boiling temperatures.
Although its setting is not quite as idyllic as the other Travertine Hot Springs, its easy access makes it one of the most popular.
Main Travertine Hot Springs
The main Travertine Hot Spring is comprised of four pools, although only the first three are deep enough to soak in at about 1-2ft deep. Thermal water bubbles up from its underground source and runs along a naturally-created ridge in the travertine rock before trickling down into the pools below (see below). Mineral deposits and algae have helped to create colorful striations in the rock face.
The majority of the heated mineral water runs down into the first pool, making it the hottest. As the water flows from one pool to the next, the temperature of the water progressively decreases.
As well as being the hottest, the first pool is also the largest and will fit 4-6 people comfortably. The second pool will fit 3-4 people and the third pool 2-3. Although the last pool is too shallow to soak in, it does add a beautiful extra dimension to the view and photos from here.
The natural hot springs are rock-walled and have travertine mud bottoms. The mud has a sulfuric smell to it but is touted for its remedial properties. It’s not uncommon to find people wearing only their birthday suits with mud rubbed all over them!
Secret Travertine Hot Springs
The additional hot springs that you’ll find beyond Travertine Hot Springs are not the best-kept secret, but they are still nowhere near as well-known or visited as the main ones near the parking lot. Most other visitors to Travertine have no idea there are more hot springs in such close proximity. We don’t want you to miss out, so we’ve detailed all the pools we’ve found!
All of these natural hot springs have travertine mud and gravel at the bottom of them. This mud may feel a bit slimy, but it is claimed to have rejuvenating properties!
Secret Travertine Hot Springs 1 & 2
These are the best of the “secret” Travertine Hot Springs. Located just 700 ft from the main hot springs, there are two small pools next to each other tucked just beyond a ridge. This discrete location provides a feeling of seclusion and privacy that you won’t find at the main pools. Each pool would only fit 1-2 people comfortably.
As you’re looking out to the mountains, the pool to the left is much hotter than the one on the right. While we didn’t have a thermometer, I would guess the temperature was 110°F+ (43°c+). It takes a moment to completely submerge due to the heat and we only managed about 15 minutes before getting too hot and switching to the other pool!
The other pool is a much more comfortable temperature, probably around 100°F (38°c), and is a little shallower, gently sloping down. In the deepest part, the pools are probably no deeper than 2ft making it an ideal depth for sitting in and admiring the views.
Secret Travertine Hot Spring 3
Just a short 300ft walk from secret springs 1 & 2, you’ll find another wonderful hot spring! While it could technically be considered two springs, only one is warm enough or deep enough to soak in. Nestled into a bit of a dip and with a high natural wall to the north of it, this hot spring feels well concealed and creates a wonderful feeling of isolation.
Travertine Secret Spring #3 is large enough to fit 4-6 people comfortably in it, although we did see a group of about 8 people sat around enjoying it with canned beers in hand!
The smaller, shallower pool had quite a few little beetle-like bugs swimming in it. They weren’t bothersome and were seemingly harmless. However, you may wish to avoid this pool if you’re squeamish when it comes to bugs.
Secret Travertine Hot Spring 4
This hot spring is only another 300ft from Travertine Secret Hot Spring #3, so it’s worth having a wander over to look at it. Rocks have been placed around this natural thermal water source to create a very shallow pool.
Although incredibly scenic, the pool itself is very small and shallow, and had a lot of little beetles in it. It’s also a bit cooler than some of the others. We found Secret Hot Spring #4 pleasant when the air was still warm, but it was definitely not hot enough to enjoy as it gets cooler… plus the bugs are a nuisance!
As much as I wanted to soak in and enjoy the view a bit longer, I definitely didn’t last as long in this pool as most others in the area.
Secret Travertine Hot Spring 5
Back near the parking lot is the final secret hot spring. A short 0.1 mile walk will bring you to this hot spring. It is a large pool with an amazing view of sunset. During our visit, however, we found it too hot to get into comfortably.
When to Visit Travertine Hot Springs
The best time to visit Travertine Hot Springs is early in the morning when you can enjoy watching the golden light spill onto the pools as the sunrises above the mountains. The air is still cool, everything is quiet, and it’s your best chance to have the pools to yourself!
If you are a night owl, you should also consider a night soak. While this may not be comfortable in the winter months, stargazing from the pools under moonlight was a magical experience in the summer.
We visited Travertine Hot Springs in the summer and found the evenings and mornings cool enough to enjoy a soak. However, during the day it’ll likely be too hot to be able to really enjoy such hot water! Unlike some of the other hot springs nearby, we didn’t find the mosquitoes too bothersome here.
With that said, spring and summer are perhaps the best seasons to visit Travertine Hot Springs. During these times, the weather will be cool enough to enjoy the hot springs throughout the day and the Sierra Mountains should have a little snow dusting to add some extra sparkle to the scene.
While visiting the hot springs with a blanket of fresh snow in the winter sounds truly magical, the road into the hot springs is not maintained in the winter and snowfall can make the road impassable for driving. If you’re visiting in winter, make sure you check local road conditions and have a suitable vehicle for the drive, or be prepared for a 1.5 mile hike (each way).
Where to Stay near Travertine Hot Springs
The closest town to the hot springs for accommodation is Bridgeport. With a population of less than 550 people, it’s fair to say it’s a pretty small town! Options for accommodation here are limited but those available all have good reviews! You can find current options for accommodation in Bridgeport here.
The hot springs also make a great stop off on your way south to Mammoth Lakes, north to Lake Tahoe or west to Yosemite, where you’ll find plenty more options for accommodation.
The area is managed by the National Forest Service and there is limited dispersed camping on the one mile road leading to Travertine Hot Springs. Be aware, however, that camping is not permitted in the parking lot at the springs!
You will find a few pull offs on the way to the hot springs, any of which you can camp at.
Camping is primitive and you are expected to protect these public lands by packing out all waste with you. You can find out more about camping on public land on the National Forest Service website.
There are a few developed campgrounds nearby if you require the additional amenities. Those closest to Travertine Hot Springs include Paradise Shores, Bridgeport Reservoir, and Willow Springs Motel & RV Park. These are all within 10-15 minutes drive from Travertine Hot Springs, have excellent reviews, and offer full RV hook ups at comparable rates.
It’s also worth noting that gas in Bridgeport is very expensive (around $5/gallon when we visited July 2021). Try and fill up elsewhere on the way if possible!
Hot Tubbing Etiquette and Tips
Due to their easy access, the Travertine Hot Springs are regularly enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. To ensure they remain open for future visitors please be respectful of the area. Read the following section carefully to help protect this natural marvel!
Travertine Hot Springs, like the other hot springs locally, are considered “clothing optional”. As such, you will likely encounter visitors enjoying the hot springs in the nude.
While you’re welcome to wear a swimsuit, there is something special about experiencing the hot springs in your birthday suit and connecting with nature. Most nude visitors are respectful and discrete, but it is worth keeping this in mind if you’re planning on visiting with kids or aren’t comfortable with nudity.
Leave No Trace
Please follow all leave no trace principles. Leave the hot springs as good or better than you found them! There is not trash collection at Travertine Hot Springs, so ensure you take all trash with you.
Please do not bring any glass containers to the springs! Cleaning up broken glass is a nightmare and will inevitably end up with someone being injured.
Finally, the area surrounding Travertine Hot Springs is a very delicate environment. Please stick to trails to reach the various hot springs
The mosquitoes weren’t quite as aggressive here as some of the other hot springs in the summer, but they are definitely still around.
Chemical insect repellants are not recommended as they will pollute the water source! Additionally, once you’re in the water the repellant will wash off anyway! It might be worth applying some natural insect repellant, such as this plant-based option, to your face during the summer (you can submerge the rest of your body into safety!).
If you’re visiting in cooler months you are far less likely to encounter any pesky bugs.
In some of the pools, particularly secret pools 3 and 4, there were some small beetle-looking bugs. They were probably less than 1/4 inch in size and seemingly harmless but a little offputting if you’re trying to relax!
While we highly recommend taking a few canned beers with you to the springs to enjoy at sunset, do not forget to also take plenty of water with you! You will be sitting in 100-110°F (38-43°c) water and can become dehydrated very quickly without noticing, particularly if you’re also drinking alcohol. It is recommended to take a gallon of water per person.
Travertine Hot Springs is located at an elevation of 6,750 ft (2,060 m). While altitude sickness is unlikely to have much effect until you’re above 8,000ft (2,500m), you may feel short of breath and dizzy at the hot springs due to the higher elevation, particularly if you’ve recently arrived in the area. This will usually pass within a couple of days. It is, however, worth keeping in mind as the heat of the pool along with the higher elevation may cause you to feel dizzy sooner than you may expect.
You don’t need to bring too much with you to enjoy Travertine Hot Springs. However, I would recommend the following:
- A swimsuit if you’re not comfortable going nude or if there are families around!
- Flip flops or sandals that you don’t mind getting wet and possibly a bit muddy.
- A travel towel.
- Warm layers for before/after if it’s cold out.
- Ecofriendly/reef-safe sunscreen, our favorite is Stream 2 Sea sunscreen. As you’re at higher elevation, the UV rays are stronger here.
- Plenty of water! (Ideally in a reusable water bottle to protect the world from unnecessary plastic!). As mentioned, it is easy to get dehyrated due to the heat and elevation. A gallon per person is recommended.
- A small cooler of canned beer or your beverage of choice. Just please do not bring anything in glass.
- A camera! These hot springs are beautiful and you’ll likely want to capture the moment. All our photos were taken with our Sony a7riii.
The natural hot springs are for soaking, NOT for bathing. They are located within a fragile environment and the water from the various springs feed into this. Therefore, please do not use soaps in any of the hot springs. Similarly, rinse off any insect repellant or lotions before entering the hot springs to help protect the environment.
Depending on your cell provider, you may pick up some service at the parking lot or nearby, but it is limited. Be prepared to be without service and download offline maps to ensure you can get about with ease.
Things to See Near Travertine Hot Springs
Travertine Hot Springs is just one of many hot springs in Mono County near Mammoth Lakes. To discover all the different hot springs nearby and how to find them, you’ll want to check out our guide to Mammoth Lakes hot springs.
If you are stopping by Travertine Hot Springs as part of a great California road trip, there are a lot of other things to see and do nearby. Be sure to queue up some of these regional guides and learn about other local treasures:
- Buckeye Hot Springs
- Hilltop Hot Springs (Pulkey’s Pool)
- Shepherd Hot Springs Guide
- Rock Tub Hot Springs Guide
- Whitmore Hot Springs Guide
- June Lakes Loop
Yosemite National Park
- Yosemite Itinerary for 1-3 Days
- Yosemite Day Trip Guide
- ULTIMATE Guide to Yosemite Firefall
- Yosemite Photography Guide: Tips For Photographing Yosemite Valley
Final Thoughts on Travertine Hot Springs
Visting Travertine Hot Springs should be added to everyone’s California bucket list. Soaking in the thermal baths in the golden light of sunset or sunrise as you admire the views of the Sierra Mountains is a magical experience that you’re unlikely to ever forget.
We hope this guide has provided you with everything you need to know for an enjoyable and safe visit to Travertine Hot Springs. Most importantly, we hope you will do your part to protect these natural wonders.
If you find that any of the information is incorrect or out of date, please let us know in the comments below. We also just love reading nice things if you found this guide to Travertine Hot Springs useful! 🙂
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