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Hot Creek

Hot Creek Pic

Hot Creek is a truly amazing and very popular hot spring. It is located in the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains of California. Marjorie Gersh-Young, in Hot Springs and Hot Pools of the Southwest calls this area the "Mother Lode of the Eastern Sierra", because there are about seven or so natural hot springs, suitable for soaking, in the an area of about eight square miles.

The hot springs in Hot Creek are located in the middle of a cold stream, so you have to swim through what seems like freezing water to get to them (note that everyone is gathered around the same general area in the picture), but it's more then worth it. Hot water bubbles up like a great soup pot, and washes over you in warm waves along with bursts of volcanic sediment from the mouth of the spring on the bottom.

Hot Creek has many other interesting and beautiful geothermal assets to look at. Scalding hot springs flow out of the ground and fumeroles burst forth. As in all areas of extreme geothermal activity, the Hot Creek area can be dangerous, so use caution. Ground can be unstable. One area where swimmers used to sit on the banks has since collapsed to reveal an inhospitably hot area that is now fenced off for safety. Despite this, Hot Creek is a popular family recreation area, and as long as you are prudent, it should be benign.

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Hot Creek is located in a remote area, a few miles outside of the town of Mammoth Lakes. From US 395, go east on Hot Creek Hatchery Rd/ Airport. After less than a mile, you will see a sign to "Hot Creek Geothermal Area". The last mile or so, before the parking lot, is unpaved. The park provides changing rooms and primitive toilets only. Bathing suits are required.

Buckeye Hot Springs

Buckeye is also located generally in the Mammoth Lakes area, but north just outside Bridgeport. Looking for camping in the area, I was advised by the Toiyobe National Forest ranger station that the only campground that wasn't full was Buckeye, because no one wanted to take the rocky dirt road up the mountain. Either Buckeye is a well kept secret or people have got their priorities all screwed up, because I made it up there in my Honda no problem and Buckeye Hot Spring is beautiful.

There are several Hot Pools located right next to Buckeye Creek. Springs flow out of the side of the mountain there, and rock pools by the side of the creek at the bottom collect hot water. The water is to hot to touch when it first emerges from the spring, however, the trip down cools it to a lovely soaking temperature. One of the pools is located in a small cave.

Buckeye is located about a mile from Buckeye Campground. From Bridgeport, take Twin Lakes Road West. When you come to Doc & Al's Resort, make a right. After you go over a couple of bridges, you will see the sign to Buckeye Campground, which points left. Go right here until you see a flat parking area on your right. Down the hill from there, beside the creek, are the spring pools. Buckeye is clothing optional, and there are no facilities.

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