Hilltop Hot Springs

How To Visit Hilltop Hot Springs In Mammoth Lakes

Mammoth Lakes is known for having several amazing natural hot springs that are easily accessible all year long. If you’re planning a trip to Mammoth and are looking for a stunning hot spring in the area, we recommend putting Hilltop Hot Springs on top of your list!

With expansive mountain views, fresh air, and rejuvenating mineral qualities, visiting Hilltop Hot Springs is a must-do activity in Mammoth. This is an especially great winter destination if you’re looking for something relaxing to do in the area after skiing or snowboarding.

In this post, we share how to reach Hilltop Hot Springs, what to expect, what to bring, and other visitor tips for a fun and relaxing outdoor adventure in Mammoth!

Table Of Contents:

Hilltop Hot Springs Location & Parking

Hilltop Hot Springs in winter

Hilltop Hot Springs is located in a volcanic geothermal area about 15 minutes south of Mammoth Lakes town. This region is known for having several amazing natural hot springs all within a short drive from each other. A few other popular outdoor hot springs that you can easily visit nearby include:

  • The Rock Tub Hot Springs
  • Wild Willy’s Hot Springs
  • Crab Cooker Hot Springs
  • Shepherd Hot Springs

Hot Creek Geological Site is another interesting geological wonder that’s situated in the same area. You can easily combine a visit to several of these locations on the same day if you have the time to spare.

To reach Hilltop Hot Springs take Highway 395 and turn on Benton Crossing Road. Keep going on Benton Crossing Road for about 5 minutes (3.5 miles) and then turn on a small side road that will lead you directly to the Hilltop Hot Springs trailhead and a small designated parking area.

Closed gate to the visitor parking area in February

In the winter this side road might be closed due to snow and ice. If that’s the case, you can park along Benton Crossing Road and walk a few minutes to the trail starting point.

Parking along Benton Crossing Road

From there it’s just a short walk to the Hilltop Hot Springs. Many people come to Hilltop Hot Spring in the winter because it’s the easiest to access while the other hot springs require a bit of a hike and snowshoes to reach them.

Google Map Location: Hilltop Hot Springs

Our Experience Visiting Hilltop Hot Springs In Winter

During our latest visit, we arrived at Hilltop Hot Spring at around 11 a.m. on a Sunday after snowboarding in Mammoth Lakes. The hot springs were pretty crowded at that time so we waited in our campervan for a bit until people started to leave to enjoy it all to ourselves.

The best time to visit Hilltop Hot Springs is during the week or early in the morning if you want to avoid the crowds. This hot pool is man-made and can fit around 6 people so if you come here when it’s full, you may need to wait for your turn.

Hilltop Hot Springs in winter

From all of the hot springs in Mammoth, Hilltop is the easiest to access so it’s typically very busy. However, most people don’t stay too long and quickly stop by this hot spring on their way home from Mammoth Lakes.

From the Benton Crossing Road, you can follow the dirt path past the gate that leads to the trail starting point. From the trailhead, it’s only a 0.3-mile walk to the hot springs itself.

Hilltop Hot Springs Trailhead

The trail to Hilltop Hot Springs is short, flat, and straightforward forward making it one of the easiest hot springs to access in Mammoth Lakes.

In the winter I recommend using microspikes on your hiking boots to avoid slipping and falling on snow and ice.

Wearing microspikes will prevent you from falling and injuring yourself.

This is a pretty short trail and typically you don’t need snowshoes to reach the hot springs unless you go right after a storm with lots of fresh snowfall. There are also some narrow sections that pass through a sensitive meadow habitat so wooden walkways have been placed to assist with crossing.

Boardwalks to protect sensitive meadow habitat

Once you reach the hot springs, you can set down your bag and clothing on the fake grass mats next to it so your things don’t get dirty. The pool itself is made out of rocks and cement and has small steps placed in front of it to assist with getting in and out.

The hot mineral water flows to the pool through a system of pipes that can be adjusted for temperature and volume. This is one of the hottest springs in the area and I could only bear being in the pool for a few minutes at a time.

The steaming creek that flows next to the hot springs

The best part about visiting hot springs in Mammoth is that they’re free and the scenery is just unreal. Winter is an especially beautiful time to come here to enjoy the snow-covered mountains and landscape.

Once we were finished with our soak, we went back to our car the same way that we came.  

Sign at the trailhead

Other Hilltop Hot Springs Visitor Tips

  • This is a rugged outdoor area with no amenities, restrooms, or changing rooms. I recommend changing in your hotel room or car so you don’t have to do the awkward towel change at the hot springs.
  • Dogs are allowed at the Hilltop Hot Springs. Be sure to clean up after your pet and keep a close eye on them so they don’t jump into the boiling hot water.
  • Pack it in and pack it out. Please keep the hot springs clean and look around for any clothing items, trash, or glass that you might have accidentally dropped before you leave.
  • This area has very limited cell phone reception. I recommend looking up the hot spring location and directions ahead of time and downloading an offline map just in case.

Hilltop Hot Springs is one of the most beautiful hot springs in Mammoth Lakes!

What To Bring To Hilltop Hot Springs

Here are a couple of things that I recommend to bring for your visit to Hilltop Hot Springs:

  • Swimsuit. For visiting busy outdoor hot springs like this one, a bathing suit is essential. Outdoor hot springs often have minerals and dirt in the water so bring a bathing suit that you don’t mind getting dirty.
  • Towel. On winter hot spring adventures, bring a towel to dry off completely before putting clothes back on as anything wet can feel icy during cold temperatures.
  • Sandals. There are several fake grass mats set up around the hot springs to help people get in and out of the pool. Bring sandals to keep your feet dry and mud-free as you move around.
  • Change of clothing. Unless you plan to visit Mammoth Hot Springs during the warmer months, changing out of the bathing suit into dry clothing can make the walk back to your car so much more enjoyable.
  • Water. This hot spring is very hot so you can easily start feeling dehydrated after soaking in it for 10-15 minutes. Bring extra water to stay hydrated and to avoid overheating.
  • Bag to carry everything. Bring a backpack or a tote bag to avoid getting your clothes muddy or leaving something behind by accident.

Read More: California Winter Packing List (By a Local)

Where To Stay In Mammoth Lakes

Before you embark on your upcoming mountain adventure, these best hotels in Mammoth Lakes will ensure you’ll have a cozy experience.

The Village Lodge

Photo by The Village Lodge

The Village Lodge is an upscale hotel in Mammoth Lakes that puts guests right in the heart of the action. Guests can choose between one, two, or three-bedroom condo units to accommodate between four and eight guests.

Impressive amenities are a major draw at this contemporary resort and include a heated outdoor swimming pool, three gyms, and five hot tubs. There are also two restaurants onsite for convenient dining that serve American dishes and pizza.

Click here to book it!

Tamarack Lodge

Photo by the Tamarack Lodge

This lodge has a cozy and rustic atmosphere and is surrounded by fantastic views of the mountains and Twin Lakes. This historic Mammoth Lakes establishment was founded in 1924 and is an ideal choice for those who seek a more quiet locale immersed in nature.

There are many booking options available that include one or two bedrooms and the opportunity to book a cabin with a sofa bed. Most cabins at the Tamarack Lodge come equipped with a fireplace and a kitchenette.

Click here to book it!

The Westin Monache Resort

Photo by The Westin Monache Resort

For a relaxing and upscale experience, consider The Westin Monache Resort, Mammoth. This trusted hotel brand is ideally situated at the base of Mammoth Mountain and features luxury amenities such as airport pick-up and a 24-hour gym.

There are suites of differing sizes, but most can accommodate groups of four and six. On the hotel grounds, enjoy a soak in one of two hot tubs or take a lap in the heated outdoor swimming pool.

Click here to book it!

Read More: 10 Best Hotels In Mammoth Lakes, California

We hope this guide has helped you prepare for a wonderful visit to the Hilltop Hot Springs in Mammoth! Looking for more things to do around Mammoth Lakes? Check out these posts next:

This post is written by Laura Sausina. Hi, I’m a California local and the founder of the California Wanderland travel blog. I currently live in Ventura County and help 30,000 readers a month discover things to do in Central California! Read more about me here.

Some of the links used in this blog may be affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, I earn a small commission when you book through these links which helps me run this blog. Thank you!

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