Anything but extinct, the Long Valley Caldera’s subterranean presence is evidenced by evolving geothermal activity at Hot Creek Geological Site. Once a popular swimming hole, the runoff of Mammoth Creek joins scalding waters heated by magma roughly 3 miles from the surface at Hot Creek.
Shifting turquoise pools and unpredictable geysering events with waters reaching up to 200 degrees have led to closure of the immediate area to bathers. Overlooks from the cliff top and a walkway into the gorge offer closer views of the steaming pools while maintaining a safe perimeter. At least 14 incidents of serious injury or death have been recorded at Hot Creek; please adhere to the safety restrictions.
Upstream from the geological site is Hot Creek State Fish Hatchery, the most prolific of its kind in the popular Eastern Sierra.
Like neighboring Owens River and Crowley Lake, Hot Creek is a fly fisherman’s mecca. One estimate suggests a trout concentration of 11,000 per mile on Hot Creek. In addition to brown and rainbow trout, the stream is also home to two unique native species, the Owens tui chub and the Owens sucker.
Anglers can find public segments of the mostly privately owned shoreline marked with bulletin boards and small parking areas along Hot Creek Hatchery Road. Catch and release fishing is permitted with artificial flies and barbless hooks only.
Hot Creek Geological Site is open sunrise to sunset year round and is free of charge. Hot Creek Hatchery Road is accessible by snowmobile, Nordic ski, and snowshoe when auto passage is not possible.