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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.
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
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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