Mono Hot Springs – Lakeshore, CA

Nestled in the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains lies a hidden gem that offers a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Mono Hot Springs is a breathtaking location that boasts of stunning natural scenery, crystal-clear waters, and a rich history that dates back to the early 1900s. If you’re looking for a serene getaway that offers an array of outdoor activities, Mono Hot Springs is the perfect destination for you.

As you take the scenic drive along Kaiser Pass Road to Mono Hot Springs Campground, you’ll be enthralled by the breathtaking views of the mountains, lakes, and forests that surround you. The road leads you to a world of adventure that awaits you at the Mono Hot Springs Resort, nestled between the tranquil Doris Lake and the serene Edison Lake.

At the Mono Hot Springs campground, you’ll be greeted by the sound of the Mono Creek gently flowing nearby. You can set up your tent or RV at any of the campsites available, each equipped with picnic tables and bear-proof food storage lockers. You can also enjoy a refreshing dip in the hot springs or take a hike along the Mono Creek Trail, which offers stunning views of the valley and the mountains.

If you’re into mountain biking, you’ll be thrilled to know that the area offers some of the best mountain biking trails in the region. You can take the Kaiser Pass Road to Huntington Lake Campground or explore the Tule Lake and Edison Lake communes. For fishing enthusiasts, the area offers excellent fly fishing opportunities, with plenty of trout and salmon in the lakes and creeks.

As you explore the area, you’ll come across several historical landmarks, including the Ansel Adams Wilderness and the Florence Lake Dam. You’ll also get to experience the local culture, with the Mono Hot Springs Resort offering a variety of activities, including yoga classes, live music, and meditation sessions.

While the area may seem remote, you can rest assured that you’ll have access to all the amenities you need. The Mono Hot Springs Resort offers drinking water, hot showers, and laundry facilities, ensuring that you have a comfortable stay.


Mono Hot Springs – Lakeshore, California
Mono Hot Springs – Lakeshore, California

Mono Hot Springs, a beloved destination for over 8,000 years, was once frequented by the Mono Lake Paiute Tribe. It was not until explorer Jedediah Smith’s visit in 1822 that non-natives began to discover the area. Samuel Knight settled in the Eastern Sierra in 1868, and the hot springs became a retreat for him and his ranch hands after long days of work.

The hot springs remained a hidden gem until 1941 when brothers Leon and Philip Schattner were given permission to use a small cabin on the property. After Knight’s passing, the Schattner brothers purchased the land and opened it up to family and friends. In 1963, they established a communal retreat where visitors could experience a unique off-the-grid lifestyle.

One of the most famous visitors to Mono Hot Springs was Ansel Adams. The renowned photographer was attracted to the area’s natural beauty and captured it in several of his iconic images. The commune lifestyle also caught the attention of Sunset Magazine, which featured Mono Hot Springs in a 1971 article.

Today, Mono Hot Springs continues to attract visitors seeking a one-of-a-kind experience. The clothing-optional setting and natural hot springs provide a unique opportunity to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The history and natural beauty of the area make it a must-visit destination for those seeking a glimpse into California’s past.

What to Expect

Mono Hot Springs – Lakeshore, California
Mono Hot Springs – Lakeshore, California

The experience you have at Mono Hot Springs largely depends on your choice of accommodation. If you’re planning to camp, be prepared for a bit of roughing it. The campsite is a spacious field with fire pits and picnic tables, as well as portable toilets and cold water sinks nearby. Water is available for campers who bring their own containers, and everyone is welcome to enjoy the nearby hot springs.

For those seeking a more rustic experience, the resort offers two cabin villages with a total of eight cabins available for visitors. Each cabin can accommodate up to six people and boasts wood stoves, an outhouse, a small kitchen area with a propane stove, and real beds with mattresses. You’ll also have access to hot spring tubs with stunning views of Mono Lake.

Guests staying in the cabins have full access to all of the resort’s hot springs facilities, including the new swimming pool complex and historic bathhouse. Whether you’re looking to relax and unwind or explore the natural setting, there’s something for everyone at Mono Hot Springs.

Nestled in the mountains, Mono Hot Springs boasts gorgeous scenery and stunning granite landscapes. With a variety of accommodation options to choose from, you can tailor your experience to fit your needs and preferences. Whether you prefer camping or a cozy cabin, you’ll be surrounded by natural beauty and breathtaking views.

No matter what type of accommodation you choose, you’ll have access to the resort’s hot springs facilities and the opportunity to immerse yourself in the stunning surroundings. So pack your bags, grab your hiking boots, and get ready for a memorable trip to Mono Hot Springs.

Spas with Natural Hot Spring Bathtubs

Spa and hot tubes at Mono Hot Springs – Lakeshore, California
Spa and hot tubes at Mono Hot Springs – Lakeshore, California

Natural hot springs have been renowned for their therapeutic properties since ancient times, and Mono Hot Springs in California is no exception. Here, visitors can indulge in the curative effects of geothermally heated mineral water, which has been used by the Mono Indians for centuries.

At the Mono Hot Springs Resort, guests can enjoy a wide range of hot spring baths that are supplied with natural mineral water. The expansive bathhouse features multiple showers and soaking tubs, all of which are maintained at an ideal temperature of 100 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit for ultimate relaxation.

For those who prefer to soak in the great outdoors, the Bathhouse complex also boasts an outdoor mineral water spa. Surrounded by the stunning Sierra Nevada mountains, guests can unwind and rejuvenate in this serene setting.

Of the twelve pools at Mono Hot Springs, the Old Pedro pool holds the most historical significance. Constructed by the California Conservation Corps in 1934, this cement-lined pool features water from the Iodine Springs, which is typically around 107 degrees Fahrenheit. While the higher temperature may require more frequent breaks, the therapeutic benefits of the Iodine Springs make it a must-visit for guests looking to improve their health and wellness.

Natural Hot Spring Pools

Mono Hot Springs is a haven for nature lovers. The resort boasts a dozen open-air natural hot springs that are geothermally heated, providing guests with an authentic connection to nature. These natural pools are spread out across the property, allowing you to experience the serene beauty of the surroundings while you soak in the warm waters.

For those looking for a more secluded experience, Little Eden is the perfect option. Perched high on a ridge above Old Pedro, it offers breathtaking vistas to those willing to make the strenuous ascent. The natural log bridge over the San Joaquin River provides easy access to these more private pools.

Accommodations at Mono Hot Springs are varied, with options ranging from campsites to traditional cabins. The Historic Cabins, however, offer the highest level of comfort and convenience. They come equipped with kitchens, bedrooms, and bathrooms, and range in size from one room to two bedrooms. While there is access to electricity, the property does not feature any electrical outlets due to a restricted supply of energy. However, power outlets are available in the General Store for anyone who requires them.

If you’re looking for a more rustic experience, the Tent Cabins may be the perfect option for you. Constructed from heavy-duty canvas and without any furnishings, they provide a back-to-basics experience. Beds are provided without linen, and a community restroom is located nearby.

Experience the serenity of Mono Hot Springs and discover the natural beauty of the area while soaking in the warm waters of the dozen open-air natural hot springs. Whether you prefer the seclusion of Little Eden or the convenience of the Historic Cabins, there is an option for everyone at Mono Hot Springs.

How to Get There

Kaiser Pass Road, a bit difficult for big vehicles
Kaiser Pass Road, a bit difficult for big vehicles

Getting to Mono Hot Springs is not an easy feat, as there is no public transportation available. Visitors will need to have their own mode of transportation to get there. The closest airport is in Mammoth Lakes, which is about 70 miles away along Highway 395. The Schattners suggest renting a car from the Mammoth airport as it is quite difficult to find a rental car in Lee Vining and other towns along Highway 395.

To get to Mono Hot Springs, there are two routes available. The faster but more expensive route involves taking Highway 395 North until it intersects with Highway 120 West. From there, drivers should continue going West on Highway 120 until it intersects with Highway 395 South. Once on Highway 395 South, take it until it intersects with Highway 136 West. From there, take Highway 136 West until it intersects with Highway 120 East, and finally take Highway 120 East until it intersects with Highway 395 South.

The slower but cheaper route involves taking Highways 120 and 395 all the way to Lee Vining, then turning right onto State Route 120 (Donner Pass Road). From there, follow State Route 120 (Donner Pass Road) through the town of Mammoth Lakes and out of town. Continue driving past Minaret Summit Boulevard and stay straight at the Y intersection while on State Route 120 (Donner Pass Road). After driving about 3 miles past Minaret Summit Boulevard, turn left onto State Route 203 (Mammoth Scenic Loop Road).

From there, drive about 4 miles straight through the town of Mammoth Lakes and turn left at Thayer Ave/Forest Service Rd 203/Tioga Rd. Continue driving through the town of Mammoth Lakes, and this road becomes Forest Service Road 203 (Tioga Road) as you leave town. The road continues for about 20 miles up to Tioga Pass, where you can see Fish Lake Valley below you. Finally, turn left at Mono Hot Springs Road at a small turnout and drive down for about 4 miles to reach the hot springs access point.

Note that after turning onto Mono Hot Springs Road, visitors will need to drive on Kaiser Pass Road, which is a single-lane road that is not suitable for large vehicles. This road leads to the Mono Hot Springs Campground, and visitors should be cautious while driving on it. Additionally, Huntington Lake Road can be an alternative route for those who want to avoid Kaiser Pass Road. Overall, getting to Mono Hot Springs may be a challenge, but it is well worth the effort to experience the natural hot springs.

Accommodations, Amenities & Facilities

Rustic cabins. Photo: Mono Hot Springs
Rustic cabins. Photo: Mono Hot Springs

Mono Hot Springs Resort provides lodging that includes rustic tent cabins and RVs, and also features amenities such as a gift shop, a restaurant (seasonal), and restrooms and showers. The hot springs resort has a large swimming pool fed by an artesian well, but there is no running water.

Guests looking for a more traditional camping experience can find it at Mono Hot Springs Campground, located on the other side of the San Joaquin River. This riverfront campground offers 23 different sites, but only two operate on a first-come, first-serve basis. Therefore, reservations up to six months in advance are strongly recommended.

The wood-paneled camping cabins at Mono Hot Springs are a modest collection of accommodations that come complete with beds and linens. There is a shared bathroom for the community that is in close proximity to the cabins. If you plan to drive to Mono Hot Springs Resort, onsite parking is available, including accessible parking for those with a placard.

The resort also has a pavilion that can be reserved for special occasions. This pavilion seats 100 guests and includes a large stone fire pit, electricity, and water. For those looking to enjoy the great outdoors, the resort provides bear-proof food storage lockers and comfortable picnic tables – perfect for a picnic lunch after a dip in the hot springs. Looking to enjoy some food service? The resort’s seasonal cafe offers potable drinking water, and is a great place to grab a bite to eat.

Remember, Mono Hot Springs Resort does not have phone or internet connections, and there isn’t even cell phone service throughout much of the area. If you plan to visit during an off-season (generally from September to May), make sure to contact the resort ahead of time so they can make arrangements for your stay. With all of these great amenities, Mono Hot Springs is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy all of the beauty the area has to offer.


Activites at Mono Hot Springs – Lakeshore, California
Activites at Mono Hot Springs – Lakeshore, California

At the Mono Hot Springs Resort, guests have access to some of the most spectacular hiking trails in California’s John Muir Wilderness. The Range of Light is a stunning landscape of rugged granite scenery that will leave you in awe. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just looking for a leisurely stroll, there’s a trail for everyone. From lakeside walks to more challenging treks, the Mono Hot Springs Resort has it all.

But hiking isn’t the only activity on offer. The area around the resort is also renowned for its world-class trout fishing opportunities. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, you’ll find plenty of lakes and streams to explore. And if fishing isn’t your thing, there’s always the option of canoeing or boating on one of the many lakes in the area.

Of course, no trip to Mono Hot Springs would be complete without a visit to the hot springs themselves. These natural hot springs provide the perfect setting for a variety of relaxing and rejuvenating activities. Soak in the hot waters, sunbathe, or take a hike on one of the many trails that surround the springs. And at night, stargaze under the clear skies.

The resort is open year-round and offers a range of accommodation options, from cabins to RV sites with hookups and tent camping. Pets are allowed in most areas of the resort, as long as they are on a leash. And if you don’t feel like cooking, the resort offers a complete menu of breakfast and dinner dishes at their full-service restaurant.

During the winter months, the resort transforms into a winter wonderland. Enjoy snowshoeing on one of their two trails or cross-country skiing along the snowy roads leading up to the resort. And at night, take advantage of the clear skies for some stargazing.

Day hiking the wilderness, trout fishing, swimming at Doris Lake, Tule Lake, Givens Lake, Bear Creek, Florence Lake, Crater Lake, Edison Lake Ferry, and horseback riding are just a few of the many activities on offer in this beautiful part of California.

Rules & Regulations

One of the biggest challenges associated with visiting Mono Hot Springs is the 11-mile unpaved road that leads to its remote location. The road is often closed due to snow in the winter months, and it can be extremely difficult to drive during inclement weather. You’ll want to give yourself plenty of time and drive cautiously as potholes, washouts, and deer often roam along this rough gravel route.

The resort itself has a few simple rules:

There are no facilities at this clothing-optional retreat. There are outhouses and a small pavilion with picnic tables, but that’s about it. Showers are not available either, but you can rinse off in the hot springs.

The resort is only open from May to October. The last weekend in September is the annual “Hot Springs Folk Festival” when visitors can enjoy live music, dancing, arts and crafts, a campground full of colorful tents, and delicious home-cooked meals served up by the Schattner clan and their friends and family members.

Safety & Practical Tips

There are no services along the 11-mile road to Mono Hot Springs, so it is recommended that you make a full tank of gas one of your first stops once you reach the town of Lee Vining. The road offers beautiful views of Mono Lake and several interesting points of interest like the New York Mountains, but it is not suitable for RVs or low-clearance vehicles.

Four-wheel drive is not necessary as the road is wide and well-maintained, but do note that you will be driving through a wilderness area with wildlife, so drive at a safe speed and exercise caution at all times.

There are no restrooms along the way, so make sure to stop at the gas station in Lee Vining or pack out what you need from home. There are no water taps along the road, so you will need to bring your own drinking water and pack out any waste. Make sure to bring appropriate outerwear for changing conditions as there can be extreme temperature variations along the drive.

Mono Hot Springs is open year-round, but it can get very busy during summer holidays and weekends in spring and fall. Fall through winter sees significantly fewer visitors; however, conditions can be extreme due to snowfall and dropping temperatures. Make sure to check weather conditions before you leave home as hypothermia can become a serious risk at these altitudes with prolonged exposure.

Nearby Attractions

 Bodie State Historic Park
Bodie State Historic Park

The Mono Hot Springs is within driving distance of several major attractions in Inyo County, California. The closest is Bodie State Historic Park, which preserves the remains of a 19th-century ghost town. You can visit the site and take a self-guided tour of the buildings that were restored by the state after it was acquired in 1967.

California’s largest lake, Mono Lake, is also nearby and is worth a visit if you are a nature lover. You can take a boat tour during the summer months to learn about the migratory waterfowl and other wildlife that depend on it for survival.

If you are more into modern history, you can visit the town of Mammoth Lakes that allows visitors to experience four distinct seasons while enjoying some interesting sites. Among them are the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame and the National Ski Area Museum at the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area.

Bottom line

Mono Hot Springs is a great vacation destination for anyone looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With its breathtaking natural beauty, magnificent lakes, and hot springs, Mono Hot Springs is the perfect destination for relaxation and rejuvenation.

Whether you are looking for adventure or simply want to take in the scenery, Mono Hot Springs has something to offer everyone. With its unique combination of activities and attractions, it is sure to make your vacation a memorable one. So if you’re ready to explore one of California’s most beautiful and remote destinations, head to Mono Hot Springs – Lakeshore, California!

Weather forecast for next 5 days

[simple-weather latitude=”37.326842″ longitude=”-119.017876″ days=”5″ night=”yes”
units=”imperial” text_align=”right” display=”block” style=”large-icons”]

Local information

Address: 62804 Huntington Lake Rd, Lakeshore, California 93634
GPS: 37.326842,-119.017876
Phone: 559-325-1710
Season: Spring-Late Fall




Anne loves to explore the world and share her experiences through her blog. She loves to travel to places that are off the beaten path and find unique experiences to share with her readers. She also loves to share tips on how to make the most of a trip, from budgeting to activities. She hopes that her blog will inspire others to explore the world and enjoy the beauty of nature.