Whitmore Hot Springs Explained: EVERYTHING You Need to Know ⋆ We Dream of Travel Blog

Whitmore Hot Springs Explained: EVERYTHING You Need to Know

Whitmore Hot Springs: Everything you need to know blog cover graphic.  Text overlaying an image of a snaking hot river with distant mountains

There is a lot of confusion about where and what Whitmore Hot Springs is. If you try to use most navigation options, including Google Maps, you will be delivered to a long dirt road outside of Mammoth Lakes, California, with no hot spring in sight.

Is it Rock Tub Hot Spring? Or Whitmore Pool? Or is it the name of the entire region? Are all the hot springs in Mammoth Lakes part of Whitmore Hot Springs?

This short guide has been created to clear up the confusion on where to find Whitmore Hot Springs, explain the discrepancies you’ve likely encountered, and answer every question you probably have.

What is Whitmore Hot Springs?

Aerial photo of the Whitmore region where Whitmore Hot Springs is located.
Aerial view of the Whitmore region where Whitmore Hot Springs is located.

Technically speaking, Whitmore Hot Springs is the source of all the geothermal heated water in the Mammoth Lakes region, occurring as a result of volcanic activity more than 760,000 years ago. Accordingly, it is not an individual location, nor is it a region. It is simply the name of a large spring that feeds into the many small tubs and pools nearby.

Where is Whitmore Hot Springs?

Understanding that Whitmore Hot Springs is not an individual tub but rather the source of the superheated water that circulates throughout the region, you cannot “drive to” or “soak in” Whitmore Hot Spring. Rather, you are soaking in it every time you ease into one of the many natural and artificial hot tubs near Mammoth Lakes. Many of these are located off of Whitmore Tubs Road, aptly named after the spring.

The region is located east of Mammoth Lakes in the Eastern Sierra, surrounded by the Inyo National Forest.

You will find if you type “Whitmore Hot Springs” into Google Maps that you will arrive at Whitmore Pools, a public swimming pool and despite there being a “Whitmore Tub” listed, it is disappointingly not a hot spring. We made this mistake on our visit and ended up on a dirt road with no tub in sight!

Is The Rock Tub Hot Springs the same as Whitmore Hot Springs?

A photo of The Rock Tub which is often referred to as Whitmore Hot Springs, causing some confusion.
Is this the tub you’re looking for? The Rock Tub is often referred to as Whitmore Hot Springs, causing some confusion.

Many blogs and individuals will use these names interchangeably. Officially, they are not the same (as described above) but if you have seen photos of Whitmore Hot Spring and are wondering where to find it, you are likely actually looking for The Rock Tub Hot Springs.

You can find all information for finding and visiting The Rock Tub in this comprehensive guide.

Is Whitmore Pool and Whitmore Hot Springs the same thing?

Whitmore Pool is not a hot spring at all, but rather a public pool nearby.

While some people and travel blogs use the two names synonymously, they are not the same thing. Whitmore Pool is essentially a public swimming pool for use by local swim teams and the general public of the Mammoth Lakes region.

You can find more information, including entry fees and times, at the Mammoth Lakes government website.

As mentioned above, Rock Tub Hot Springs is also often referred to as “the” Whitmore Hot Spring. If you have landed here in search of a specific spring, you are likely looking for this one.

General Information about the Whitmore Hot Springs

Now that we’ve answered most of the FAQs, we can discuss what Whitmore Hot Springs actually is! This large spring is located in the Long Valley Caldera, east of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The waters that are sourced here are mineral-rich and naturally heated by geothermal activity deep in the earth. This entire region was created as a result of volcanic activity more than 760,000 years ago.

Locals have built several hot tubs in the area to contain the heated water that comes from Whitmore Hot Spring. In total, there are currently 5 active, accessible hot springs in which visitors can enjoy a soak. You can read all about these, as well as other thermal areas of interest, in our comprehensive guide to the hot springs in Mammoth Lakes.

As of August 2021, the “soakable” hot springs include:

You may find Crab Cooker Hot Spring in some of your searches, however that tub no longer holds water. Additionally, you may read about having a dip at Hot Creek Geological Site but due to rapidly changing, potentially life-threatening temperature variances, swimming there is no longer permitted.

Whitmore Hot Springs Map

The map below shows all the local hot tubs sourced by the Whitmore Hot Springs. Click here or on the image below to open the map in a new tab.

Other Regional Guides

Sunset at Hot Creek in Mammoth Lakes, California.
This incredible view in Mammoth Lakes is a must see for photographers! Find out more in our Mammoth Lakes Hot Springs Guide.

There is so much to see and do in the Mammoth Lakes area, including a plethora of other hot springs and scenic destinations. Before you go, have a look at some of these other regional guides and make sure they find a place on your California itinerary:

Mammoth Lakes and Nearby Destinations

Yosemite National Park Guides

Final Thoughts

One of many snaking creeks in the Whitmore Hot Springs surrounded by the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountain range.
One of many snaking hot creeks surrounded by the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountain range.

This travel guide was created upon encountering so much misinformation on our most recent visit to Mammoth Lakes. I hope it has helped clear up any confusion and I really hope you don’t end up on the same barren dirt road as we did.

If you have found any of the information to be inaccurate or outdated, please kindly let us know in the comments below! We appreciate all feedback, positive or negative, as long as it is constructive.

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**All photos contained in this photography-based travel blog are copyright of Adam Marland & Sophie Clapton. 
They are not to be used for any purpose without the expressed, written consent of their owners.**