If you're over California weather and feel like taking a trip to some beautiful mountain landscapes, there's no need to book an expensive plane ticket to the Alps! We found some gorgeous natural hot springs hidden deep within the valleys of Mammoth Lakes in Southern California.

To get there, you'll have to take an old dirt road and follow some seriously wacky-sounding directions. But it wouldn't be an adventure if it wasn't so hidden. Where else can you find a heart-shaped hot spring surrounded by snow-capped mountains year-round? Walk down the little wooden bridge to paradise and you'll see just what we mean.

Also known as Wild Willy’s Hot Springs, this heart-shaped pool has another larger pool right next to it.

Since the hot spring’s location isn’t posted on Google, it can be a little bit tricky to find. But that’s part of what makes it such a fun adventure! To find it, you’ll drive down Highway 395 and turn right on Benton Crossing Road.

If you’re going the right way, you’ll see a little green church on the street corner. The next part is where it gets tricky. You’ll drive over two small metal cow grates on the road (make sure to count them). When you get to the third grate, make a right onto a small gravel road.

Be careful driving through because cars are going both ways. If the road conditions are bad, don’t push it. We recommend visiting the hot springs before late fall and winter when the roads aren't icy. 

When you park your car, you’ll see a little wooden bridge that will lead you to paradise. Walk for about a quarter of a mile and you’ll get there. It’s a super easy hike. While it’s tempting to rush to the hot springs, we highly recommend taking your time to soak up the stunning views around you. The valley is gorgeous!

Both hot spring pools offer stunning views of the mountains as you soak in the soothing mineral waters and watch the steam rise off other small geothermal pools in the valley. You can come for a day trip or set up your tent anywhere along the valley next to it and go camping.

Backcountry camping is completely free here! Gas stations are a little far away, so make sure to fill your tank and grab plenty of food and drinks before you come out. 

Whether you’re looking to soak and crack open a cold beer or soothe your muscles after a long hike, this is the place to be. While the water is fairly shallow, it’s as warm and relaxing as a jacuzzi. Geothermal pools from above continually bring in warm water. Look closely and you may see small fish that have adapted to the water!

At night, the whole sky turns into a beautiful blanket of stars. Sometimes, you can even see the Milky Way Galaxy and shooting stars. Night photographers and stargazers, this is the spot for you!

Here’s a heads up though. Wild Willy’s is a clothing-optional area. So, you can bring your bikini or board shorts or feel free to leave them behind. During the day, the area tends to be more family-friendly. Why not go off the grid a little bit and explore some of California’s scenic wonders? This place is nature as it should be - left untainted for the world to enjoy.

Wild Willy's Hot Springs: Mammoth Lakes

Price: Free! 

Location: See directions listed above in the article. 

Why You Should Go: You can soak in beautiful heart-shaped hot springs surrounded by snow-capped mountains.


We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.



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