Tucked away high into the west slope of the central Sierra, Mono Hot Springs Campground takes a bit of effort to reach. The long drive along Kaiser Pass Road, dubbed "Cheap and Nasty" during its construction, is a rough road with many blind corners. Large RVs and trailers are not recommended. But with the effort to reach this remote Sierra destination comes plenty of reward.
Directly across the South Fork of the San Joaquin River lie the steaming pools of Mono Hot Springs. The springs, which are open to the public, are the main attraction in this small slice of the Sierra. Open between June and late September when Kaiser Pass is most likely to be snow free, the campground is a popular destination for both hot spring soakers and anglers looking to hook rainbow or brown trout in the adjacent river or nearby Mono Creek waters.
The campground is split into two sets of sites that are a short walking distance from each other. Both groupings offer sites along the river, although the lower-numbered larger group of sites situated further west have the best river views. The higher numbered sites provide better access to the hot springs and sit directly across from Old Pedro, the hottest of the Mono Hot Spring pools.
In addition to the campground, a small rustic resort occupies the land across the river from the hot springs. Mono Hot Springs Resort rents cabins and runs a store and restaurant that is open to the public, which is helpful if you forgot supplies or run out of any key camping provisions. The resort is typically open late May through mid-October. Potable water is available at the resort.
During summer and holiday weekends Mono Hot Springs can draw a crowd, and the relatively small campground is known to fill up. Look at making reservations in advance for peak weekends.
In addition to fishing and hot spring soaking, there is some excellent hiking in the area. The campground sits on the edge of Ansel Adams Wilderness and trails lead directly to Doris Lake, Tule Lake, and Mono Creek from the campground. Head up to Lake Thomas A. Edison for additional hiking, access to the John Muir Wilderness, and more lake recreation options.