One of the most beautiful places for outdoor adventures in California in the Eastern Sierras. The Sierras stretch from Lone Pine in the south to the Nevada border in the north. While Lone Pine, Big Pine, And Bishop are very popular for hiking and other outdoor activities, you can find many other amazing places just north. A Mammoth Lakes to Bridgeport road trip will take you hot springs with killer views, lakes that are out of this world, scenic hiking trails, and more.
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Mammoth Lakes to Bridgeport Road Trip
Stop #1: Mammoth Lakes
The first stop on the Mammoth Lakes to Bridgeport Eastern Sierras road trip is of course Mammoth Lakes. Mammoth Lakes is fun at any time of the year but it’s highly popular in summer and winter. The summer is a great time to hike, swim, and go mountain biking. And the winter brings in those who love winter sports. It’s one of the best places to play in the snow in California so if you love to ski or snowboard this is the place.
Things to Do in Mammoth Lakes
Biking and Snow Sports at Mammoth Mountain
Mammoth Mountain is known as California’s highest four-season resort with a summit at 11,053 feet above sea level. The resort is especially busy in the summer and winter. You can ski, snowboard, bike, and more at Mammoth Mountain. During the summer their bike park is open with lift access.
Soak in the Hot Springs
Wild Willy’s Hot Springs
Wild Willy’s has become more and more popular over the years. What was once a gem is now more widely known so it does draw in a crowd so arrive early or go late. The hot springs are warm so any time of the year is good! I recommend going in the early morning and nighttime when the temperatures are lower and you can enjoy the warmth. There’s a valve that controls that hot water. And the pools closest to the valve are the hottest.
Punch in “Wild Willy’s Hot Springs” into Google Maps, it’s about a 10-minute drive off Highway 395. There is a parking area and you’ll take a short walk on a wooden boardwalk.
Hilltop Hot Springs
Hilltop Hot Springs has a bit of a secluded feel as it’s just a single tub. However, the tub is quite small and can comfortably fit about five people at a time. It does have a stunning view of the mountains and is a nice place to enjoy the sunset.
Punch in “Hilltop Tub” into Google Maps, it’s about a five-minute drive off Highway 395. There’s a parking area and it’s a short walk to the tub.
When visiting the hot springs remember to be respectful of other visitors and of the area. Please, leave no trace!
Hot Creek Geological Site
Hot Creek Geological Site is a scenic oasis that has dozens of natural hot springs within the walls of a river gorge. This place looks inviting but temperatures fluctuate rapidly and swimming is illegal. However, it’s still a beautiful place and you can admire it from the trail. You have a stunning backdrop of the Eastern Sierra mountain and turquoise pools rimmed by layers of travertine rock.
Stop #2: June Lake
June Lake is known as the Switzerland of California and is made up of four lakes. The lakes are all along one highway, the 158 which loops around and puts you back onto highway 395. Highway 158 is known as the June Lake Loop. In the summer you can swim in June Lake Beach. Fall is a popular time to visit for leaf-peeping. Winter is a beautiful time as lakes start to freeze and the town gets covered with snow. And also the spring wildflowers start to bloom along the hiking trails. There are tons of things to do in June Lake.
Things to Do in June Lake
Visit All Four Lakes
Be sure to visit all the lakes: June Lake, Gull Lake, Silver Lake, and Grant Lake. You can go fishing, kayak, swim (if the weather permits), in most lakes. They’re all so beautiful in their own way and great to photograph.
There are tons of hiking trails on the June Lake Loop. From shorter strolls to hikes with views that have a big elevation gain. Be sure to check out my June Lake Loop guide for more information on the best hikes in the area.
Kayaking or Boating
Kayaking is popular in the summer of course but also in the fall and spring (weather permitting). Silver Lake Resort has kayak rentals and you can easily launch from there. You’ll rent by the hour and there’s so much to see within the lake that you can easily spend a half-day there. And if you want to take a boat ride Silver Lake has small boat rentals but Gull Lake Marina has more size options.
Stop #3: Mono Lake
The Next stop from Mammoth Lakes to Bridgeport is Mono Lake. Mono Lake is known for its iconic Tufa Towers that are a result of limestone deposits. They were formed from a chemical reaction caused by freshwater springs and the lake’s high alkaline water. It’s one of the oldest lakes in North America which began forming about 750,000 years ago. There are many things to do at Mono Lake and it’s worth a stop if you’re visiting the Eastern Sierras.
Things to Do at Mono Lake
Watch the Sunset/Sunrise
Sunset and sunrise are the best times to take in the beauty of Mono Lake. The dramatic skies really add a beautiful backdrop to the lake. It’s a popular time for photographers. Be sure to arrive early as the sun will set into the mountains.
Mono Lake is popular for birdwatching. And fall is a great time to see the birds on the Pacific Flyway migratory route.
Stop #4: Bridgeport
Bridgeport is a small town located in the heart of the Eastern Sierras. It’s a great place to fish and there are two creeks that are great for fly fishing. They even host an annual Fishing Season Opener and Trout Tournament every April and June. There are tons of hiking trails and it’s a stunning place to visit during the fall season to see the colorful leaves.
Things to Do in Bridgeport
Virginia Creek Settlement
Stay at Virginia Creek Settlement if you feel like staying in a cozy cabin or camping in a covered wagon. The property has a stream running through it and there’s plenty to do in the area. There are fire pits so you can enjoy a campfire and even make some s’ mores at night.
Buckeye Hot Springs
Buckeye Hot Springs is a cool spot that everyone can enjoy. There’s a creek that runs through so you get the best of the cool and hot water. This spot can get quite busy but there’s plenty of room. There’s also a campground if you’re up for camping.
Punch in “Buckeye Hot Spring” into Google Maps. It’s about a 20-minute drive from the main part of town and you’ll have to go down a dirt road. Park in the parking area then take a short hike up.
Travertine Hot Springs
Travertine Hot Springs offers spectacular views of the Eastern Sierras. Sunset is especially magical. The hot springs do have a strong surfer smell, so it’s something to keep in mind if you don’t do well with potent smells. There are a few small tubs you can soak in.
Travertine Hot Springs is easy to get to. Just punch in “Travertine Hot Springs” into Google Maps, it’s less than 10 minutes away from the main part of town. It’s just a short walk from the parking lot.
Bodi State Historical Park
If you want to see what was once a lawless Gold Rush town then head to Bodie State Historical Park. This once-thriving town is now a ghost town for your viewing pleasure. The population quickly grew from 500 to 10,000 by 1879. It had 65 saloons, 50 mining companies, and even a prosperous red light district.
I hope this helps with your Mammoth Lakes to Bridgeport road trip!