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(Last Updated On: October 2, 2021)

Summary: Travertine Hot Springs is incredibly unique, free to visit, and easy to access. Tucked away in the Eastern Sierras, you’ll see why this place is a must visit. Complete guide on the location, what to expect, where to camp, and when to visit.

Land Acknowledgement: Northern Paiute, Western Mono/Monache, Washoe. Find what Native Land you are visiting by using the app Native Land! I encourage you to read the history and culture of the Indigenous people who’s land you are visiting!

Depending on when you’re reading this, there may be a stay at home order still in place for California. Please travel in accordance with the State’s Covid-19 regulations. Check the status HERE

VIDEO SERIES: California Road Trip

If you want a short visual of our time at Travertine Hot Springs, check out the YouTube Video my partner Johnathon DeSoto created! Subscribe if you want to see the complete mini series!

What’s the Deal with Travertine Hot Springs?

This place is absolute magic. It was my partner’s first time at a hot spring and Travertine definitely didn’t disappoint. Travertine is a geothermal mineral springs in the Eastern Sierras of California. Let me break down some pros/cons of this place!

Travertine Hot Springs PROS

  • It’s free!
  • There is free camping nearby
  • soft mud floors
  • 5 pools
  • Pet friendly (Leashed, and not allowed IN the pools)
  • ADA Accessible
  • Pools average 100 degrees in temperature

Travertine Hot Springs CONS

  • Crowded
  • Muddy
  • Road to get there is not maintained in the winter. Snowfall will block the road.

Getting to Travertine Hot Springs

Click HERE to open map
  • Distance from San Francisco: 5 hours
  • Distance from Los Angeles: 6 hours
  • And distance from Las Vegas: 6 hours

We used Google Maps and typed in ‘Travertine Hot Springs’ and had no issues getting routed directly there. The hot springs are in an area with very limited cell service, so I recommend loading the directions beforehand.

Closest town is Bridgeport, California which offers a few restaurants, hotels, and gas stations. There’s even a museum you can check out if you’re a history lover!

Directions to Travertine Hot Springs

Head South on Highway 395 from Bridgeport California. Make a Left onto Jack Sawyer Road. After a short distance (.2 miles) on this road it will fork to the left to continue on a dirt road for 1.1 miles. You will see a pit toilet in the parking lot.

The road is a dirt road, but is easily accessible for any vehicle (hence the crowds).

For the Science Nerds Like Me

I had no idea that Travertine Hot Springs was named for the rock that holds most of the geothermal pools. Travertine is a sedimentary rock formed by the accumulation of carbonate minerals from the ground and waters in the area. It was such a unique appearance with orange and red hues.

ALSO: My friend Allee went in with all silver jewelry and it came out bronze. Turns out the sulfur has a chemical reaction with this metal and causes jewelry to turn bronze or in some cases black! Good news: it can be reversed.

What to Expect at Travertine Hot Springs

I recommend that you first brush up on your Hot Spring etiquette. Maybe you’ve been to a few hot springs, but you might learn something that can help keep these hot springs around longer!

Read my Hot Springs Etiquette Guide HERE. Comment if you think anything needs to be added, or in general I would just love your opinion!

In summary:

  • Leave No Trace
  • No Glass
  • Clothing Optional
  • What goes in a pool, stays in a pool (don’t bathe or urinate in these)
  • Watch out for trash/glass (wear protective footwear down to the pools)
  • Be polite and keep your noise to a normal level.

Let me set the scene…

So when you roll up into the parking lot, there is one pit toilet. I have been blessed with a diminished sense of smell and I was the only one in our group to use the toilet as it apparently smelled pretty bad. There is plenty of space where you could duck out to pee in a bush if that’s more your style.

From the parking lot we initially went to the pool right next to the lot. This pool is the largest pool and is man made. This is generally the most crowded and accessible pool and the pool you’ll see the most often in pictures.

But there’s more (4 more to be exact)!

We continued past this crowded pool down the hill where we saw a few other private, smaller pools. We comfortably fit 4 people in one of the pools. There is a lot of mud and water leading to these private pools. So bring appropriate footwear.

This was the ultimate experience in my opinion. Uninterrupted views of the scenic Sierra Mountains with frosted peaks.

Best Time to Visit Travertine Hot Springs

photo by Daniel Fowler

Travertine Hot Springs is growing in popularity and once you visit it’s not surprising why! More and more people are showing up to these hot springs and it can make it challenging to get a private moment.

We knew we were wanting to photograph the hot springs so we made sure to seek out a private area where we would not make anyone else uncomfortable with out cameras out (as people often soak nude).

The great thing about Travertine Hot Springs is that there is dispersed, primitive camping right down the road. Makes getting there for sunrise a lot less painful.

We car camped at the camping area and set our alarms for an hour before the sun came up. This gave us time to shiver into our swimsuits, hydrate and find a pool all before the sunrise.

My advice: Wake up before the sun is up for your best chances of a private hot spring experience.

Even Better Advice: If you have a flexible schedule – go during the weekdays. Weekends are absolutely more crowded.

Time of Year to Visit Travertine Hot Springs

This will be more of a pros/cons list of when I went.


We rolled into Travertine Hot Springs the first week of December. There were a lot of good and bad things with this. [Insert photo that I didn’t take of my frozen hair and swimsuit]


  • less crowds
  • gorgeous views of snowy mountain peaks
  • the pools feel incredible in the cold air
  • no overheating


  • IT WAS SO COLD. We woke up to 9 F degree weather
  • getting out of the pool is incredibly difficult because the air is frigid

Where to Stay Near the Hot Springs

As mentioned earlier, there are primitive, dispersed camping spots available on the 1 mile long dirt road before you reach the parking lot! What this means is that it is first come first serve camping. They are obvious pull out spots (don’t pull onto land that does not already have a path going there), but no amenities exist outside of the pit toilet at the parking lot.

Bring in all the water and food you need if you are going to stay here! A lot of people always ask how I can afford to travel so often, and this is a HUGE part of why I can. FREE camping.

If you don’t want to brave 9 degree weather (and you really shouldn’t if you don’t know if your gear is adequate enough to keep you warm), book a place to stay nearby in Bridgeport, California.

Here are some options:

Get $65 off your first Airbnb stay using my link HERE

Hot Spring Packing List

  • Swimsuit (optional!)
  • Drinking Water (don’t get dehydrated!)
  • Towels/Blankets
  • Slip on Shoes/Sandals
  • Trash Bag & Gloves (for any trash created by you OR others)
  • Canned beverage (optional)

* I recommend packing a darker colored swimsuit. My white suite definitely was very dirty from the soft mud bottom of the pools (but it did wash out just fine).

Some Trendy and Functional Recommendations

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Hot Spring Obsessed?

Be sure to check out my post on Wild Willy’s Hot Spring Nearby!

Other Hot Springs nearby: Buckeye Hot Springs

Remington Hot Springs in California

Heading to Oregon? Check out my post on Umpqua Hot Springs!

Save for Later and Share! Let me know if you have been or plan to go in the comments below!

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  1. Ashley on January 27, 2021 at 11:37 am

    Wow, what a cool spot, I’ve never actually visited a hot spring before. Thanks for sharing such a detailed post about it because I never would have thought to look for a place like this. Your photos are beautiful as well!

  2. Hannah on January 27, 2021 at 1:07 pm

    I’m used to the European hot springs, where they have big facilities and buildings surrounding them! Travertine sounds rugged and lovely! Although I would definitely choose to visit during the week, or in low season – I hate crowds! Wild camping sounds fun too!

  3. Daphna on January 27, 2021 at 1:13 pm

    This place looks incredible! I would probably not visit when it’s cold out, but the snow sure does make for beautiful pictures!

  4. cass on January 27, 2021 at 9:12 pm

    the photos look AMAZING! and such a thing to do with a girl friend!

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