Crab Cooker Hot Springs is situated on the east side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains among other hot springs emerging from the ground of the volcanically active Long Valley Caldera. Besides the relaxing soaking, this location offers a stunning view of the meadow and mountains with tan, brown, white, and dark gray colors spread through the natural landscape.
Made of solid rocks and mortar, the primitive hot springs pool is approximately 2 feet deep. Extremely hot water is transferred to the pool from the nearby cement well located a few feet away. The water in the well is extremely hot - over 150°F - enough to cook crabs! The pool temperature depends on the weather conditions and can be adjusted by turning on or off a valve on the pipe just outside of the pool. The pool has enough room for three to four people.
Crab Cooker Hot Springs is the hottest of all available soaking tubs of the Long Valley Caldera. For this reason, consider visiting the Crab Cooker during colder weather.
No camping is allowed near the hot springs but you can camp a few hundred yards away. There are no facilities near the springs. Please help to keep the springs area clean by packing out all your trash.
A high-clearance vehicle is recommended for the last 0.5 miles. The easiest way to get to Crab Cooker is an easy 0.4-mile hike from Shepherd Hot Springs.
Crab Cooker Hot Springs | Facts
Location: 12 miles east of Mammoth Lakes • California • USA
Amenities: No services are available
Hiking distance: Short
Road Access: Four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended
Day-use fees: None
Elevation: 6,900 ft (2,103 m)
From the junction US-395 and Benton Crossing Road,
- Travel 1.1 miles northeast to the gravel Whitmore Tubs Road
- Turn left onto Whitmore Tubs Road and drive about 1.7 miles to the rough dirt road on the right (between the road to Rock Hot Tub and the road to Shepherd Hot Springs)
- Turn right and then in 0.4 miles to the left and continue 0.5 miles.
This road is rough and tricky. If you are not sure, your vehicle can make this drive, you can drive to Shepherd Hot Springs and hike 0.4 miles to Crab Cooker Hot Springs.