Home » 2018 Eastern Sierra

Bridgeport, CA

Tuesday, May 29, 2018 - 9:00am by Lolo
27 miles and 0.5 hours from our last stop - 1 night stay


Lolo on the Buckeye Creek TrailLolo on the Buckeye Creek TrailContinuing our journey up 395, we decided to grab a campsite at Bridgeport Reservoir Marina and Campground on the Bridgeport Reservoir, a pretty lake with nice views of the Sierra - or as they say, “Killer fishin, killer views.”

Next time, we’ll bring fishing gear, but for now, hiking was the activity of the day - as it had been for every day on this trip so far. The Buckeye Creek Trail sounded interesting, so we drove out to the Buckeye Campground where the trail began.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much “creek” along the Buckeye Creek Trail. I definitely had had visions of meandering alongside a lovely creek for the duration of our hike. Instead after 2.5 miles and still no creek, we bushwhacked down to it to have lunch.

Lolo soaking in Buckeye Hot SpringLolo soaking in Buckeye Hot SpringAfter our hike we decided to take a soak in the Buckeye Hot Springs, so we drove over to the parking area for the springs, just a short distance away at the top of a hill near the Buckeye Campground.

These pools are very different than Keough and Travertine in that they are directly next to a creek, separated from its chilly waters only by man-made rock piles. The source of the spring is on top of the grassy hillside that we were parked atop. The water emerges from the spring at about 140 degrees and flows down, cooling along the way, until it cascades over a cave into the largest pool, forming a nice little waterfall. Additional rock piles separate the hot water area into three separate pools, varying in temperature from 95 to 110 degrees.

Primitive pool at Travertine Hot SpringPrimitive pool at Travertine Hot SpringHerb and I grabbed our towels and scrambled down the short, steep trail to the pools. We weren’t the only ones with this idea, but there was still plenty of room for us in the middle one with the waterfall. It was nice sitting in the warm pool, listening to the babbling creek flow by.

That was until Herb’s watch starting beeping with a weather alert. We didn’t believe it at first, but within minutes the winds picked up and the sky darkened. We quickly dried ourselves off and scurried back up the steep hill to avoid being caught in a storm. Herb was quite impressed with his watch - it must measure a drop in barometric pressure.

Herb at TravertineHerb at TravertineLater that evening when the weather cleared, we drove over to Travertine, Herb’s favorite hot spring. They really are quite beautiful - fed from water trickling over the edge of a colorful, “travertine”-stained rock formation that rises above them. Rock piles separate the water into three separate pools, with water flowing from one pool to the next, decreasing in temperature as it goes along. The rightmost pool, which has stone sides to sit on, is about 105 degrees; the middle pool also has stone sides and is about 100 degrees; and the leftmost pool has a mushy mud bottom and is about 90 degrees. As usual, these pools were full of people - after all, it was a Friday night after work.

However, these are not the only pools to soak in. The whole area around the springs is very active geothermally, so new springs are continuously erupting forming new pools. Fortunately, Herb’s favorite pool-for-two, with the great mountain views, was still there, but unfortunately, it wasn’t very warm. That’s the challenge with natural hot springs - their status is always changing.
Oh well, the view was still good.


Buckeye Hot Springs, near Bridgeport, CA, are considered by some to be the most beautiful pools in the eastern Sierra. The pools are quite unique in that they sit directly next to chilly Buckeye Creek. The two main sources emerge from the side of a steep grassy hillside at about 140 degrees and flow downward, cooling along the way before cascading over a cave in a mini-waterfall formation into the largest pool. The hot water is captured by man-made rock piles alongside the creek, creating three pools of varying temperature in the 95 to 110 degree range. Since the creek water cycles through the pools, they are cleaner than those at Travertine. The trail down to the creek from the parking lot is quite steep. As with most hot spring pools in the Sierra, this one is clothing optional.

Travertine Hot Springs

There are many natural hot springs in the Sierra, but the Travertine Hot Springs are one of the prettiest and the easiest to get to. They are located just south of the town of Bridgeport along Route 395. To reach the springs, turn onto Jack Sawyer Road, then left again onto a marked, but somewhat rutted, dirt road.

There are several pools at Travertine. Right next to the parking area is a developed pool, which is the hottest of the pools in the area. There were even rugs placed around it to cushion the hard surface.

A short way down the trail are the lower three pools, which are fed from water trickling over the ridge of a colorful rock formation that rises above them. The beautiful tan, cream and rust colors of the rock are the result of a form of limestone, called “travertine” that is deposited by the mineral-laden hot springs. The water flows from one pool to the next decreasing in temperature as it goes along. The first pool is about 105 degrees, while the last, which is the largest and shallowest, is only about 90 degrees.

A little past the main pools there are a few more primitive pools that are much more private. The whole area around the springs is very active geothermally, and new springs are continuously erupting.

There are wonderful views of the Sierra while you bathe in one of its pools, sitting along a rocky ledge or in the mud that lines their bottoms. The mud is slightly sulfuric and soothing to the skin.

The area is designated “clothing optional,” but most people wear bathing suits.

Bridgeport location map in "high definition"

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