Right outside of Bridgeport, California on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada range is Travertine Hot Springs. Stunningly gorgeous, the springs are a great stop on the way to, or from Mammoth.
The beautiful rocks playfully undulate with color and set against the mountain backdrop (white in winter) it is a monument to nature’s church.
The bottom of the pools are a soft layer of silt that you will see people rubbing on their arms and faces. It is chalky white and will hang about your clothing (if worn) and flip flops until they are washed.
We ran across a wiry nomad by the name of Oliver soaking naked in the pools who once was an ER nurse. He left the fast-paced life behind and was studying the wisdom of the ancients by living close to the land following agrarian cultures. He espoused a diet high in fat and without flour — before this was all the rage. Once a devoted vegetarian, he was surprised to be cut down by a heart attach before he was 50. It was a turning point in his life, and an interesting conversation for us.
- Price: Free
- Clothing and Non-Clothing optional (but mostly clothing, except for Oliver)
- Drive by, not really an overnight site
- No reservations needed, though very popular with tourists
What we liked: The location and incredible rock formations.
What we didn’t like: Since this is very close to the highway, and easy to access, it was very popular with drive-by tourists. While we soaked for about two hours several families stopped by, and it seemed to have a tourist feel to it vs. camping feel.
There was a bathroom there, but it was locked when we arrived. Someone was cleaning it when we were getting ready to leave, but it was locked again after they left.
According to Wikipedia: the beautiful Travertine is a form of limestone deposited by mineral springs, especially hot springs. Travertine often has a fibrous or concentric appearance and exists in white, tan, cream-colored, and even rusty varieties. It is formed by a process of rapid precipitation of calcium carbonate, often at the mouth of a hot spring or in a limestone cave.
Just south of Bridgeport, on Highway 395. Left on Jack Sawyer Road.