Owens Valley Warm Springs, also known as Three Dish Warm Springs, is located between Big Pine and Bishop near the Owens Valley Radio Observatory.
The warm springs have gained attention because of the scenic beauty of mineral ponds surrounded by hills with snow-capped mountains in the background. This hidden oasis in the middle of the uninhabited hot desert provides excellent opportunities to soak and swim in an oblong pond filled with clear emerald water.
The warm springs emerge from a hillside with a surface temperature of about 85°F (29°C) and feed two ponds. The water cools down a little, coming to the upper pond near the hill at a temperature of 80-82°F. The lower swimmable pond receives water from the upper one and its temperature is a few degrees lower and ranges between 76°F and 80°F that is perfect for refreshing dips on a hot summer day. The pond has a sand bottom, contains numerous small fish, and is a waist- or chest-deep.
The warm springs are located on private land. Be sure to pack out all trash and do not abuse the privilege of accessing the area. There are no facilities on the premises.
The best time to visit is spring, summer, and fall. During wet seasons, the road can become impassable. A high clearance vehicle is recommended.
Owens Valley Warm Springs | Facts
Location: 10 miles northeast of Big Pine • California • USA
Open: Year-round, the best time is spring, summer, and fall
Hiking distance: Short
Road Access: A high clearance vehicle is recommended
Elevation: 4,000 ft (1,219 m)
From Big Pine,
- Drive 0.6 miles north on US-395 to CA-168
- Turn right onto CA-168 and go 1.9 miles to Leighton Line (you will cross Owens River)
- Turn left and head toward the Owens Valley Radio Observatory for 2.2 miles to the dirt road on the right
- Turn right and continue 4.5 miles to the warm springs
- On the last segment of the route, after 0.6 miles bear left to stay on the same road.