Situated on the plateau near Mammoth Lakes, Hilltop Hot Springs, also known as Pulky's Pool, is one of many other hot springs in Long Valley Caldera that offers great soaking opportunities and fantastic 360 degree panoramic vista of the meadow and the snow-capped Sierra Mountains.
Geothermal water at over 130°F emerges from the ground and is transferred by the pipe into a rock and cement tub that was made by humans, for humans to enjoy. The temperature in the tub varies between 100 and 110°F depending on the weather conditions and can be adjusted by the gate valves on the pipes that transfer cold and hot water. The soaking tub is about 2 feet deep and can accommodate up to six people. As other soaking tubs of the Long Valley, it contains a drain plug on the bottom to make cleaning easy.
Local custom is clothing optional, so expect nudity here.
The hot springs is located 400 yards or 5-6 minutes easy hike from the small parking area through the alkali field on a gravel trail and then wooden bridge that cuts up the soggy gold marshland. However, the dirt road and parking area may close off during heavy snowfall. For this case of a scenario, leave your car near the Benton Crossing Road and your trip to the soaking tub will be about 0.5 miles.
Hilltop Hot Springs is day-use area, no overnight camping is permitted. There are a few campgrounds nearby and public land where camping is allowed.
Hilltop Hot Springs is one of the best place to soak - just expect lots of tourists at weekends and a possible lack of privacy.
There are a few other hot spring tubs within driving and walking distance in the Mammoth Lakes area including Shepherd Hot Springs, Crab Cooker Hot Springs, Rock Tub Hot Springs, and Crowley Hot Springs.
Hilltop Hot Springs | Facts
Location: 12.5 miles east of Mammoth Lakes • California • USA
Hiking distance: 0.25 miles
Road Access: Any vehicle
Day-use fees: None
Elevation: 6,900 ft (2,103 m)
From the junction US-395 and Benton Crossing Road,
- Travel 3.4 miles northeast to a dirt road to Hilltop Hot Springs on the left
- Turn left and drive about 0.2 mile to a parking area.
Hike approximately 0.25 miles through the alkali field to the soaking tub.