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Travertine Hot Springs: Everything You Need to Know

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Have you ever made a split-second decision that led to a cool adventure?

That’s exactly what happened to us on our trip to the Travertine Hot Springs, a breathtaking natural wonder tucked away in the serene landscapes of California’s Sierras.

This gem, with its warm, mineral-rich waters and stunning mountain views, is a must-visit for anyone looking to soak in the beauty of nature.

Here’s everything you need to know.

Travertine Hot Springs—Getting There

The journey to Travertine Hot Springs is an adventure in itself. Tucked away near Bridgeport, the road to the springs is a bit rocky and rugged, but fear not!

Nina sitting beside a campervan with it's roof extended up on a sunny day.
Nina sat beside Lucy.

Almost any car can handle it if you take it slow (if Lucy, our old-school ’74 VW Bus, can do it, so can you).

Just be mindful of the weather, as recent rain or snow can make the conditions a bit trickier. When you arrive, you’ll find a parking lot equipped with a vault toilet—a sign you’re in the right place.

A fairly empty Travertine Hot Spring parking lot with a mountain view and a toilet cabin.
Travertine Hot Springs parking lot.

Just route yourself here, and you’ll be soaking in no time!

This is a free hot spring to enjoy.

Travertine Hot Springs—Pool #1

As you step out of your car, the first hot tub you’ll notice is a man-made cement tub right in the parking lot. I can’t lie. It’s not a great first impression.

The bathtub looking pool 1 at Travertine Hot Springs.
Kinda looks like a bathtub…

This tub is too hot for a dip. During our visit, there were signs warning us not to touch it; it was literally boiling.

Following the Trail to the Other Pools

From the parking area, the trails meander in various directions, leading to numerous pools, but there’s no wrong way to explore. You’ll stumble upon a pool soon enough!

There are four main soaking spots at Travertine Hot Springs, but the first one doesn’t count, so let’s move on to the others…

A rock-lined trail heading through the foliage at Travertine Hot Springs with a mountain view.
The trail is well marked.

I’m referring to these pools as Pools #1-4; there are no real names, but I’ll be explaining them clockwise from the parking area.

Travertine Hot Springs—Pool #2

Heading to the left from the parking area, smaller, warmer tubs (not boiling!) await, ideal for dipping your toes and soaking in the tranquility.

We happened upon #2 quickly and found a few people soaking in a warm tub, seemingly right on the “trail.” There are gorgeous views overlooking a valley and then the mountains.

We didn’t want to disturb anyone with a photo, so we moved along…

Travertine Hot Springs—Pool #3

We then saw pool #3 in the distance, a cute, perfectly circular hot tub for soaking! We were shocked to see it available for the taking. The backdrop was incredible, something out of a fairytale.

Rocks encircling pool 3 of Travertine Hot Springs with a view across the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Pool 3 is very scenic!

We got up to the aesthetically pleasing, picture-perfect hot tub, ready for a soak and cute photos, and very quickly realized why nobody was in it. It was barely warm! Well, darn, what a shame.

A beautiful tub, but the water coming this way just wasn’t hot enough. We made our way back up and started coming back around to find Pool #4.

Travertine Hot Springs—Pool #4

The last tub is easily the most popular, hottest, biggest, and definitely the coolest one. You’ll notice where Travertine Hot Springs got its name once you make it to this one.

A group of people bathing in pool 4 of Travertine Hot Springs with a view over the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Tourists in pool 4.

You can more easily reach this one if you go toward the right from the parking lot (counterclockwise).

THIS is the tub you’ll want to chill at, if everyone else and their mom isn’t already here.

This tub at Travertine Hot Springs has perfect temperatures and is a sight to behold, with travertine formations and snow-capped mountains in the backdrop.

Nina inside pool 4 of Travertine Hot Springs on a clear day with a mountain view.
Nina enjoying her time in pool 4.

This multi-tub setup ensures everyone finds their sweet spot, from hot to warm waters. There are several little tubs in this area, so you can pick and choose your temp while enjoying the stunning landscape.

We got lucky during our arrival as the group that was here was just packing up to leave, leaving us and the spring to ourselves for a bit!

Tips for Visitors

  • To fully enjoy Travertine Hot Springs, timing is key. Early mornings are serene, with fewer visitors, but by midday, especially on weekends, the place buzzes with life.
  • Always check the water temperature for safety, and remember, the trails and tubs are part of a delicate ecosystem that we’re privileged to enjoy.
  • There’s one toilet out here and nothing else. Pack it out and respect the public lands!
  • Bring comfortable shoes to walk in since you will have to walk on some rocky and sandy terrain to reach any of the hot tubs.
  • Grab a dry bag to put all your stuff in, bring a towel, some water, and, of course, a swimsuit to enjoy a soak.
A pathways leading down past pool 4 of Travertine Hot Springs with a beautiful mountain view.
View over the Travertine Hot Springs compound.

Best Time to Visit:

  • Spring: Enjoy warming weather and melting snow, offering beautiful scenery but with potentially muddy trails.
  • Summer: Warm temperatures make for a popular time; visit early or late to avoid heat and crowds.
  • Fall: Cooler weather, fewer crowds, and stunning fall foliage.
  • Winter: Snowy landscapes offer a magical experience, though access may be challenging.

We were here in June, early in the morning, and it was still chilly enough out to enjoy the hot springs.

A dog sniffing around pool 4 of Travertine Hot Springs besides rocks covered in minerals.
Even dogs enjoy pool 4 in June.

Final Thoughts

We are really happy we accidentally stumbled upon Travertine Hot Springs; it was a well-worth-it visit.

And to think we almost didn’t come! We were on one of our many California road trips, and this spot popped up as I was looking at my map. I made Garrett immediately veer off the road towards the springs!

Even if you don’t plan on taking a dip, coming for the views and taking a peek is well worth it, too.

Where to next?

We hope this helped you plan your trip to Travertine Hot Springs!

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