Last summer hubby read about some natural hot springs near Bishop, CA so we added them to our list of stops this fall. Our original plan for last night was to stay at Convict Lake State Park which is very near the Hot Springs but at 7000 feet it would be cold overnight and there is a chance of snow at that elevation. Instead we decided to stay in Bishop, which is 4000 feet, and drive the half hour to Whitmore Hot Springs.
We have been told the locals like to keep the hot spring locations quiet so I won’t give you directions but hubby found them on Google and had no problem getting detailed directions. Many, many, many years ago a massive volcano exploded in the Mammoth Lake area leaving behind a network of natural hot springs. These natural springs, surrounded by the Inyo National Forest, have been corralled into various rock tubs and are maintained by volunteers.
We also read that most of the hot springs are “clothing optional”, although everyone we ran into had bathing suits on.
The first spring we visited was Rock Tub, which is considered a very romantic tub as it is hidden by rocks and is very small. When we drove up we saw another couple entering the spring so we decided to move on to another tub. There are smaller tubs that are considered closed tubs and you are asked to respect people’s privacy and move on to another tub if they are occupied.
The next spring was Shepard and we arrived just as a couple was leaving so we had the tub all to ourselves. This tub has a tap that you can use to regulate the water temperature, if the tub is too cool you turn on the tap and run in very hot water, if the tub is too warm you turn the tap off and let the water cool down. We really enjoyed our time in this tub, just the two of us surrounded by majestic scenery!
We spent about fifteen minutes in Shepard Tub before another car pulled up so we moved on to Wild Willies Tub which is larger and considered an open tub, meaning you can join others as long as there is room. Wild Willies has a large tub, hip deep with fine gravel on the bottom, and another smaller tub hidden behind rocks. When we pulled into the parking area there were five other vehicles but we decided to walk along the boardwalk to the tubs and see if there was room.
We first came across the small tub hidden behind rocks but as we got closer we could see it was full.
A little further at the end of the boardwalk was the large tub with three other people in it and lots of room for more so we jumped in. Shortly after we arrived another group of four joined us and even with nine people there was still lots of room. About twenty minutes later the people in the smaller tub started to leave so hubby and I and the group of four moved over to that tub where we spend an enjoyable half hour talking and watching the sun set.
I wasn’t fully on board with hubby’s plan to visit these hot springs. I was actually a little nervous about being alone sitting in a hot spring and was imagining all kinds of things that could happen, but it turned out to be the total opposite! It was a very safe Epic Adventure and I am so glad hubby found this place.
Until next time …