Burrowed within the Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest of Bridgeport, California, is none other than Buckeye Hot Springs. This natural hot spring runs along the rushing Buckeye Creek and features piping hot, mineral-rich waters, which cascade down a calcium-rich hillside.
With the invigoratingly warm waters and the glorious sounds of trickling water, it’s an unforgettable experience that truly transcends any day spa.
Natural Hot Springs Pools
There are six marvelous pools of varying sizes awaiting you at Buckeye Hot Springs. The first two pools you’re greeted by are entirely natural and often referred to as the “Upper Pools.” These 2-foot-deep pools are not only spacious and inviting, but they offer the most majestic views of the mountains.
A short walk down the Buckeye Creek bed and you’ll find four smaller-sized pools. They are semi-natural, which means they’ve been minimally transformed by visitors that wanted to expand and add structure to hold in the delightfully hot waters.
The biggest draw to these pools is the primitive “waterfall,” which is an overhanging cliff that allows piping hot thermal waters to cascade into the pools below. At the source, the water is a sizzling 135-degrees-Fahrenheit, cooling to a pleasant 100°F to 110°F once it reaches the rustic pools.
If you find that the pools are too warm for your liking, you can always maneuver the rocks to allow for the cold Buckeye Creek waters to flow in. That, or simply dive into the Buckeye Creek for an instant cool-off before getting hot and steamy in the mineral pools once more.
While each pool is a different size, together, the capacity at Buckeye is approximately 30 people, allowing for plenty of spacious soaking room. Keep in mind that many soakers enjoy these pools in the nude.
Camping and nearby Accommodations
The first choice is camping, which many nature enthusiasts enjoy. In fact, there is a designated Buckeye Campground just 0.25 miles from the Buckeye Hot Springs. This is a first-come, first-serve campsite with 68 spots. The site includes four toilet options (one flush and three vault).
If you want a more rural experience, there are many “Freedom Camping” locations in the area. The three major rules include: leaving no trace (pack everything in trash bags, including human waste), no camping within 100 feet of the water, and no camping at the parking lot.
There are many accommodations surrounding Buckeye Hot Springs. Consider staying in one of the hotels or B&Bs in Bridgeport. Keep in mind that Bridgeport is a small town with limited options. If you want more choices, consider driving to nearby major cities such as Mammoth Lakes, Yosemite, or Lake Tahoe.
There is a short hike required to reach Buckeye Hot Springs. And although it’s a mere 150 to 300 feet from the parking lot, the descent is relatively steep. You’ll need to wear proper shoes and be careful when walking down the steep hill, especially during periods of inclement weather.
Much like the trek down to the hot springs, the drive to reach Buckeye is also quite bumpy. In fact, the 2.5-mile drive is solely on unpaved roads. Luckily, you do not need high clearance or be equipped with four-wheel drive to get there; just be prepared for a somewhat rough ride.
Here’s how to get there from Mammoth Lakes:
- Take the US 395-N
- Turn left onto Twin Lakes Road
- Continue for 7.2 miles
- Turn right onto Buckeye Road – it will turn into a dirt road in 0.3 miles
- Continue for 2.5 miles
- Turn right onto Buckeye Road
- Continue for 0.4 miles
- Park in the parking lot and hike down to the pools!
Address: Buckeye Road, Bridgeport, California 93517