Hike-in Required
Open Year-round
Water Temperature
105.00 °F (40.56 °C)
Sensitive Habitat
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Located near Mammoth Lakes, Crab Cooker Hot Springs is one of several hot water springs in the area that are suitable for soaking in. The pool consists of a manmade cement tub with water piped in from a mineral spring about 30 feet away. Though the water at the source is too hot to bathe in, or even to touch, the tub has been outfitted with a valve that allows for the control of hot water. At the right time of day it's possible to notice the numerous other steam plumes that mark the locations of other hot water springs across the nearby meadows. While many of these are muddy bogs with no tubs and are not suitable for soaking, Crab Cooker is robust enough to accommodate a small group of approximately six people. That said, if people in the group aren't already acquainted with each other, anything over four may be a bit uncomfortable in the small space.

The spring is located on land owned by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, which forbids camping at the spring. Camping is fine on nearby public land not far west of the spring, however. Custom seems to indicate a clothing-optional etiquette. Springs in this area seem to be pretty well known and pretty well visited. Be prepared to wait awhile or plan on coming during the off-hours for a better chance of finding the area empty. There are no bathrooms, trash cans, or facilities of any kind located near the springs. 

The springs require a 0.2 -mile hike down a rutted doubletrack road from the parking area that lies at the end of a rough unpaved road. High-clearance cars are recommended, though a two-wheel drive car can make it out if you take your time. In wet conditions the dirt roads may be hazardous for two-wheel drive cars. In snowy conditions the unmaintained roads may be impassable altogether. Also, accessing the springs requires several turns down unsigned dirt roads, and cell service is spotty in this area. Be prepared to navigate using off-line resources before you embark on your trip.

Logistics + Planning



Parking Pass

Not Required


Beautiful location. Near different hot springs options.


Can be crowded. Limited parking. Difficult navigation. Rough road.


Sensitive Habitat

Number of pools



Nearby Adventures

Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, California
Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, California


After our easy walk on the snow to Hilltop we decided to take on Crab Cooker also. We again parked on the main road since the roads was inaccessible. The walk to Crab Cooker was a bit more challenging. The snow was very thick and gave way every couple of steps. We walked for about 30 minutes before we were rewarded with the most amazing pool with the most amazing view of the snow covered surroundings. The tub was cold when we arrived but it quickly heated up when we opened the valve.
Great tip
Nice spot! The valve to regulate the temp is great. Be careful of the water coming out of the pipe as it's really hot!
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