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East Fork Carson River Hot Springs

Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California

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East Fork Carson River Hot Springs
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  • You start the hike by going down this dirt road.- East Fork Carson River Hot Springs
  • A Great Basin skyline from the trail.- East Fork Carson River Hot Springs
  • Lupine along the trail in Spring.- East Fork Carson River Hot Springs
  • East Fork Carson River near a nice gravel beach by the spring.- East Fork Carson River Hot Springs
  • Near the source upstream of the tubs.- East Fork Carson River Hot Springs
  • The upper tub is warmer, and the flow can be diverted from the hot stream.- East Fork Carson River Hot Springs
  • The upstream pool looking South.- East Fork Carson River Hot Springs
  • The source creek just before the first pool.- East Fork Carson River Hot Springs
  • The lower tub hovers over the East Fork of the Carson River.- East Fork Carson River Hot Springs
  • There are many small springs upstream of the tubs for you to find.- East Fork Carson River Hot Springs
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Beautiful setting. Riverside soaking. Room to camp.
Cons: 
Tricky to find the trail. Diversion pipes occasionally in disrepair.
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Region:
Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, CA
Access: 
Hike-in
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Distance: 
4.80 mi (7.72 km)
Number of pools: 
2
Year round: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
None
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Fall
Water temperature: 
103.00 °F (39.44 °C)
Current Local Weather:
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Hot Spring Description

Hot Spring Description

Contributor

There are three ways to make it to the East Fork Carson River Hot Springs, four if you include the occasional buckaroo that passes by on horseback looking for a warm soak. In the spring, rafts can put in at Hangman's Bridge near Markleeville and beach themselves overnight near the hot springs before continuing the next day into Nevada. During the summer and fall months when flow is low, four-wheel drive vehicles with high clearance can access the hot springs by snaking down narrow dirt roads and fording the river. This description focuses on accessing the hot springs by foot.

The parking area is a stand of ponderosa pine trees equipped with a few fire rings for trailhead campers. Start your trek by continuing north on the road that you drove in on. The road will quickly deteriorate, and you will see a ridge to the east. Keep bearing left through the first several road splits until you've passed to the west of a hill with a notable rock outcropping. After you pass that outcropping, start to bear right at the next trail intersection to begin an ascent of the greater ridge. If the trail is lost at any point, cross-country travel in a general northeast direction to reach the top of the crescent-shaped ridge will likely land you back on the trail.

Once you make it to the trail on top of the ridge, continue following that trail up and down several hill tops. You will have big views of the countryside with the Great Basin meeting the Eastern Sierra. The trail will eventually descend into the canyon that contains the East Fork of the Carson River. The hot spring tubs will be easily visible as you descend.

Camping is plentiful near the hot springs with beachside and forested options. The most striking pool hovers over the river, and river dippers can experience a hot spring waterfall while wading nearby. A second pool exists just upstream of the riverside pool and is therefore warmer. The source of the hot spring continues into a nearby canyon. Additional hot springs exist about a mile upstream and downstream along the East Fork of the Carson River and require some exploring to find.

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Nearby Camping + Lodging

(14 within a 30 mile radius)

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(58 within a 30 mile radius)

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