Travertine is one of the most popular natural areas along scenic US highway 395 because it features numerous hot springs and amazing views of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
We visited Travertine as part of a west coast road trip in November 2021. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about the hot spring including tips for your visit.
What Are The Travertine Hot Springs?
- Location: About 2.0 miles southeast of Bridgeport
- Parking: Google map location
- Price: Free
- Open: Year round
- Clothing: Optional
- Features: Many different pools, closest hot spring to Yosemite National Park
- Services: Drop toilet
- Temperature: Varies depending on the pool
Travertine hot springs is a collection of primitive rock pools featuring epic views of the surrounding Sierra Nevada mountain range.
One man made tub is located directly next to the parking lot. While the other pools in the area are located within a half mile walk from the parking lot.
But what makes this area unique is the large travertine terraces which guide warm mineral water through deep channels into the surrounding pools.
Travertine is a great place for several groups to visit without feeling as if they are on top of one another because there are pools in multiple areas.
For years, the springs have been popular with locals and now have become extremely popular with tourists. Travertine is one of the best road trip stops you can make in northern California.
At Travertine hot springs, clothing is optional. During our visit, there were both nude and clothed bathers. If nudity makes you uncomfortable, you may want to skip this one.
Is Travertine Hot Springs Worth It?
Before we get into the details, we want to tell you that visiting Travertine Hot Springs is absolutely worth it!
Most people visit the springs as part of a larger California road trip or after visiting Yosemite National Park.
Best Time To Visit The Pools
If we could pick the best time of year to visit Travertine, it would be sunrise in the late spring or early fall because this time of year has the best weather conditions for soaking and safety.
Travertine hot springs is open all year, but visiting in the summer and winter can bring additional challenges.
If you visit in summer, you run the chance of sharing the hot springs with many other people. The mosquitos can be quite bad this time of year and a warm sunny day might also make it difficult to fully enjoy a soak.
If you visit in winter, the roads may be impassable because the road which provides access to the hot springs is not well maintained during the snowy months.
Be sure to check weather conditions and have the appropriate vehicle if you plan to visit during the winter season.
Because Travertine hot springs is easily accessible, it can be extremely crowded. For the best experience, you want to plan your trip when the crowds are minimal.
We believe sunrise is a better time to visit compared to sunset because there will be fewer crowds and you can watch the sun rise over the mountains.
Travel Tip: If you want to try something different, try a night soak to see the stars on full display. This is on our bucket list for next time we are in the area.
Travertine Hot Springs Directions
The Travertine hot springs are located about two miles from Bridgeport, California. This is about an hour north of Mammoth Lakes and about an hour north of Yosemite National Park if you leave from Tioga Road.
Most of the drive to Travertine will follow a well maintained highway, but the last mile on Jack Sawyer Road will be along an unpaved road. This does not require a high clearance vehicle but you may experience some potholes.
For the sake of this guide, we are going to assume you are coming from nearby Mammoth Lakes or Bridgeport, California for these driving directions.
- From Bridgeport follow US-395 S for about 1.0 mile and turn left onto Jack Sawyer Rd.
- From Mammoth Lakes follow US-395 N for about about 50.0 miles and turn right onto Jack Sawyer Rd.
- After about 0.2 miles, the road will interest with Travertine Rd. Look for a wooden sign saying Travertine Hot Springs and take the left to continue along Jack Sawyer Rd.
- Follow Jack Sawyer Rd for another 1.1 miles and the road will end directly in the parking lot.
- You should be able to see the ADA-accessible pool to your immediate right and then follow the wash just a short way to the main triple pool.
Parking at Travertine hot springs is free. There are many spaces available at the end of Jack Sawyer Road. A drop toilet is also located right near the parking lot.
The Pools Of Travertine Hot Springs
Depending on your source, there are up to seven different pools at Travertine hot springs. This means if several groups are visiting, everyone can find a spot in a different hot spring.
In our opinion, the best pool at Travertine is the main triple pool because this is the hottest and most unique spring. But this also means its the busiest pool.
The most popular hot spring pools are very close to the parking lot including the ADA-accessible tub as well as the main triple pool located just a short walk away from the parking area.
If this main pool is occupied when your first arrive, there are a few other smaller pools located in the close vicinity. Look for well beaten paths leading to other single pools.
During out visit, we found the other pools were not as warm as the main pool and some of them had very gritty bottoms.
Travel Tip: Stay on the well beaten paths when looking for springs at Travertine. This helps to preserve the area for future generations.
1. Parking Lot Hot Spring
The very first pool you will see at Travertine is located next to the parking lot. This hot spring features a man made cement tub which is ADA-accessible next to a picnic table.
However, be sure to check the temperature before getting right in because this tub can be extremely hot. It is one of the hotter springs in the area.
We like this tub because it is often the cleanest but unfortunately it does not have the great natural setting like many of the other pools. And if the parking lot is busy, it’s hard to enjoy the serenity.
2. Main Triple Pool
The main triple pool is without a doubt, the star of the show. This section is actually comprised of four pools, but the forth pool is not deep enough to sit in comfortably.
If you like your hot spring warm, the first pool on the right will be the one you want. Most of the heated mineral water runs down from the travertine terrace into the first pool which can fit about 6 people.
We estimate the second pool fits about 4 people and the third pool could fit about 2 people. The pools also get colder the farther you get from the main terrace run off.
All the hot springs in this section have man made rock walls with a travertine mud bottom. If you plan to wear a lighter colored bathing suit, keep in mind the mud may stain it.
We recommend you make a beeline for this pool when you first arrive because the best spring at Travertine is the main triple pool.
If this pool is full, there are many other options so use your time to explore the other pools. We tried to keep these locations a bit hidden in this guide because searching for a new pool is half the fun.
3. Additional Pools With A View
After we soaked in the main triple pool, we decided to explore the Travertine region. We found a few additional springs located past the main triple pool which would fit about 2 people comfortably.
These pools were smaller compared to the main pool. However, they did offer some amazing views and were relatively secluded. The first pool is much hotter than the second pool in this section.
We estimate these two additional pools are about 700 ft away from the main section. Even if you don’t take a dip in these pools, it is worth the short hike to see more of this beautiful area.
4. Hidden Pools In The Area
As we kept hiking, we found a few more pools just by walking a little further which ranged in temperature from cold to very hot. They were located off the main wash and pretty easy to find.
However, some of these other pools had a lot of bugs either swimming in the pool or flying around. Depending on the time of year you visit, this might be very uncomfortable.
Travel Tip: Look for steam above the ground surface to locate other springs at Travertine.
Pros and Cons To Visiting Travertine Hot Springs
We certainly recommend you add Travertine hot spring to your California itinerary, but here are a few pros and cons to sway your decision:
- Amazing scenic views
- Sulfur from springs is said to relieve pain
- Soaking in the springs can naturally detox your skin
- Travertine springs are relatively easy to access
- Pools may be crowded and busy
- Soaking for long periods can cause dehydration
- Springs can be extremely warm
- Bugs can be a problem
Travertine Hot Springs Camping
The lands surrounding Travertine hot springs are managed by the Bureau of Land Management and dispersed camping is allowed in the certain areas.
There are no services and you are expected to pack out all waste since this is public land. Camping space is very limited and not permitted anywhere near the springs or in the parking lot.
Be sure to pay attention to the signs indicating where camping is allowed. Do not camp in the meadows to help preserve the environments and maintain the wild setting for others.
Tips For Visiting These Remote Pools
It’s important that every visitor practice the seven principles of Leave No Trace so everyone else can enjoy this amazing hot spring.
Here are a few important things to consider before your trip:
- If you plan to wear a swimsuit, avoid light colors. While the sulfur water does not typically affect swimsuits, unfortunately the mud may stain your suit.
- Pack any trash out. It’s our responsibility to keep these natural places beautiful and you should always leave the place better than you found it.
- Be respectful of others. People visit hot springs to reduce stress and relax. This is not the place to play loud music or host a party.
- Sharing is caring. Be considerate of others and invite them to soak if there is room. Just because you arrive first does not mean you hog the hot springs for hours.
- Avoid bath products. Keep in mind natural hot springs do not drain. Bath products can be harmful to the hot springs because they disrupt the balance of minerals.
- Arrive Early. Try to visit early in the day to maximize your chance of enjoying this beautiful place to yourself.
- Dogs are allowed at Travertine hot springs, but must be kept on a leash at all times. Please pick up after your pet and be considerate of other people in the area.
Travertine hot springs is one of the busiest hot springs near Bridgeport, CA. We visited the hot springs mid-morning around 11am and we had some of the pools to ourselves for a short period.
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Essentials For Your Visit
You won’t need much when visiting Travertine but here are a few essentials for your visit:
- Swimsuit – If you don’t want to bathe in your birthday suit, be sure to bring a suit.
- Wallaroo Hat – This area sits at a high elevation and the sun will be strong, you may want a hat to help protect you from the UV rays.
- Robe – We used robes when we visited Travertine and received so many positive comments. For us, this was a necessity because it kept us warm and helped to protect us from the wind.
- Towels – A big fluffy towel is just what you need for the ultimate spa experience.
- Trash bag – Be sure to carry out everything you carry in which includes dog poop.
- Water, beer and snacks – And don’t forget please pack out all trash. Unfortunately, we found trash when we visited and carried it out with us.
Most pools at Travertine are only a few feet deep making them perfect for kids. However, we recommend you check the temperature of the pools before allowing kids to enter.
Keep in mind you can wear whatever you want when visiting Travertine hot spring because clothing is optional and there may be nude bathers.
If nude bathers make you uncomfortable or you are visiting with kids, you may want to consider skipping this area.
More From Mammoth Lakes
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- Guide to visiting Crab Cooker Hot Spring
- Exactly how to visit Wild Willy’s Hot Spring
- Tips for visiting Hilltop Hot Springs
- Best hotels in Mammoth Lakes California
- The perfect Yosemite National Park itinerary
- Where to stay at Yosemite on any budget
Want more California content? Head to our California Travel Guides to explore National Parks, popular road trips and things to do in major cities of the sunshine state.
We hope this guide to Travertine Hot Springs in Bridgeport, CA helps with planning your visit to this beautiful area!
Please let us know if you have any questions about the Travertine Springs or any northern California hot springs in the comments below.
Mark and Kristen
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Mark and Kristen Morgan are travel, hiking and photography experts. Over the last 6 years traveling full time, they have explored more than 40 countries and 30 US states.
Their work has been featured in USA Today, Gestalten, Get Your Guide, CityPASS and Condé Nast Traveler along with various other publications.