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Backcountry Sierra hot springs?

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Backcountry Sierra hot springs?

Postby maiathebee » Sun Jan 03, 2016 4:58 pm

I love a good soak in a hot spring after a long day on the trail! So far I have only managed to do this in the backcountry once (Kern Hot Springs). I have heard rumors and rumblings about various other hot springs, but I couldn't find much by searching this forum. If anyone has any advice or specific info on the locations of some, I'd be really interested. If you PM me hot spring locations, I'll mail you homemade strawberry jam! I promise not to tell anyone where they are ;)
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Re: Backcountry Sierra hot springs?

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Jan 03, 2016 5:40 pm

Iva Bell is the best of them, IMO, because there are more tubs than any other backcountry springs out there. It seemed to me to be the cleanest -- no piles of TP everywhere.
Willetts and Sespe are very popular despite being a long hike out (winter or spring is probably the best time to go, but the closer trailheads are at the end of dirt roads that close for winter). Neither of these is in the Sierra, also. But they are nice and hot, with a little development to provide ease of use.
I haven't been to Jordan in Golden Trout but it seems to be one of the less trampled ones.
Sykes over on the coast is a 'do not recommend' -- far too many people and hundreds of pounds of trash left behind by rude hot spring seekers without a clue about LNT. I have been twice and would not drink the water from the river there without boiling it thoroughly. UGH. What a trashed, filthy place.
There are a lot of others on the east side of the Sierra, in varying states of overuse. And then there are those that have been made into resorts - like Mono Hot Springs.
All of the ones I mention are on maps - Iva Bell can be reached from Reds Meadow or from Mammoth Lakes trailheads via Duck Pass.
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Re: Backcountry Sierra hot springs?

Postby maiathebee » Sun Jan 03, 2016 7:08 pm

Awesome, thanks! Yeah, I've been to several out in the desert east of the Sierra, but was hoping there were more in the mountains themselves. Seems like Iva Bell and Kern are pretty much it?
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Re: Backcountry Sierra hot springs?

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sun Jan 03, 2016 10:17 pm

Blayney is the only other one that could be considered in the backcountry but it's still by the Muir Trail Ranch and tends to be a very crowded place.
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Re: Backcountry Sierra hot springs?

Postby The Other Tom » Mon Jan 04, 2016 6:45 am

I've noticed several on the Tom Harrison JMT map, say, within 5 miles or so of Red's Meadow. They're noted on the map with an icon but its small and you really have to study the map. I can't vouch for the "goodness" or "badness" of these hot springs.
If you decide to look, start at Red's and go 5 miles or so N or S on the JMT and look about +/- 1 mile on either side of the trail. Get out your magnifying glass :)
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Re: Backcountry Sierra hot springs?

Postby hjldennis » Mon Jan 04, 2016 6:06 pm

You will have to bring me into the circle once you find out!

But seriously it would be very cool to soak in during the winter. My wife and I did it about 15 years ago, somewhere in mammoth area (I'm guessing hot creek?), against the danger sign, but I think now the "do not go in" is no longer a recommendation but mandated.

Anyone know if any of these are somewhat easily accessible in winter and if camping is allowed near by? We're pretty good with LNT =)

Speaking of remote hot springs, here is one from Oregon. Very beautiful, but far from LMT with bunch of drunken naked hippies, but we went there during our happy hour before sunrise to avoid all that.
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Re: Backcountry Sierra hot springs?

Postby Cloudy » Mon Jan 04, 2016 7:46 pm

I've been to the one at Blayney Meadows. I only ran across one pool but I really was too tired to look for others and it was situated in a meadow which just seemed a bit odd to me :-) I remember it having a soft bottom and as I was the only one there, it was nice. It would have been a bummer with other folks around though since it really wasn't all that big. I seem to remember having to cross a river to get there which would be iffy in early season.
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Re: Backcountry Sierra hot springs?

Postby RoguePhotonic » Tue Jan 05, 2016 7:16 am

Blayney has 3 pools that I know of. You probably went to one of the smaller ones because the main pool most people go to can fit a dozen people at least.
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Re: Backcountry Sierra hot springs?

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Jan 05, 2016 11:11 am

I have an earlier version of this book.
http://www.amazon.com/Hot-Springs-Pools ... ot+springs

It is a wonderful book, but as books on such things can be, some of the information is out of date in my copy. I am tempted to get the kindle version of the new update.

It does a nice job of balancing information with not being so revealing about locations that everyone will show up.

When springs are marked on maps, I take it with a grain of salt - the actual spring may be cold, or so laden with minerals that it makes your coffee salty. Or undrinkable for obvious reasons. Earthquake or landslide action can make springs vanish, or change location. When Willetts was buried in mud in a slide, the accompanying freshwater spring that formerly came down in a pipe to provide a clean shower at the end of your hot spring experience vanished -- now there is just a tub of hot water that seems less hot than it used to be....
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Re: Backcountry Sierra hot springs?

Postby maiathebee » Tue Jan 05, 2016 8:40 pm

I wonder if there is anything we don't know about in here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/149599323X/
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Re: Backcountry Sierra hot springs?

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Jan 05, 2016 10:05 pm

maiathebee wrote:I wonder if there is anything we don't know about in here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/149599323X/


The back of the book says the route takes one over Triple Divide Peak. Thinking there is a huge section in their designated route without hot springs....
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Re: Backcountry Sierra hot springs?

Postby Cloudy » Wed Jan 06, 2016 8:21 pm

Lol. I'm thinking so too. I've been to the Iva Bell Hot Springs and enjoyed them after a long hike to get there. I shared a pool with an individual that worked for Thorlo which just happened to be the socks that I was wearing (or at least before I stripped naked...). It was an interesting coincidence that we shared somewhat similar stories about Budweiser beer incidents. I would have to say that although it really isn't anything fabulous, I enjoyed the soak in the mossy Kern Hot Spring tub most of all because it was there when I needed it and there was no one else around at the time. What bliss, soaking in the warm water and gazing on the Kern River when I was really footsore. :-)
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