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Hot Creek Geological Site

Inyo National Forest

Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, California

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Hot Creek Geological Site

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  • The geothermal activity at Hot Creek is unpredictable. People have been burned by geysering events.- Hot Creek Geological Site
  • The White Mountains live up to their name with a fresh dusting of September snow.- Hot Creek Geological Site
  • Looking west to the Sierra Nevada from Lower Hot Creek.- Hot Creek Geological Site
  • Hot Creek Geological Site.- Hot Creek Geological Site
  • Hot Creek Geological Site.- Hot Creek Geological Site
  • The sulfuric pools of Hot Creek are heated by magma 3 miles beneath the Earth's surface.- Hot Creek Geological Site
  • Cattle graze near Lower Hot Creek.- Hot Creek Geological Site
  • Hot Creek is unsafe for bathers due to scalding waters.- Hot Creek Geological Site
  • Lower Hot Creek at Owens River Road.- Hot Creek Geological Site
  • Hot Creek Geological Site.- Hot Creek Geological Site
  • Hot Creek is known for amazing trout fishing.- Hot Creek Geological Site
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
World-class fly fishing. Geothermal activity.
Cons: 
Waters are too hot to bathe in.
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Region:
Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, CA
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

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.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Map

Field Guide + Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(11 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(45 within a 30 mile radius)

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