Situated on the plateau near Mammoth Lakes, Hilltop Hot Springs, also known as Pulky's Pool, is one of many other hot springs in the Long Valley Caldera that offers great soaking opportunities as well as a fantastic 360 degrees panoramic vista of the meadow and the snow-capped Sierra Mountains.
Geothermal water at a temperature of over 130°F emerges from the ground and then is transferred by a pipe into a tub that was made of rocks and cement 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 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. Like other soaking tubs of Long Valley, it contains a drain plug on the bottom to make cleaning easy.
The local custom is clothing optional, so expect nudity here.
The hot springs are located 400 yards or 5-6 minutes of an easy hike from the small parking area The gravel trail runs through the alkali field and then a wooden bridge cuts up the soggy gold marshland. However, the dirt road and parking area may close off during heavy snowfall. In this case of a scenario, leave your car near the Benton Crossing Road and hike for about 0.5 miles to the soaking tub.
Hilltop Hot Springs is a day-use area; so, 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 places to soak - just expect lots of tourists on weekends and a possible lack of privacy.
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 miles to the parking area.
Hike approximately 0.25 miles through the alkali field to the soaking tub.