Mono Hot Springs resort, nestled between the Yosemite and King’s Canyon national parks, offers an original rustic experience in the middle of the Sierra National Forest; a place where you can truly get away from it all. Go hiking, swimming, horseback riding or trout fishing, then soak away your hard-earned aches in their spring-filled open-air hot tub, or more privately in their clean bathhouse, before lighting up a campfire to share stories and memories around. This family-run resort is steeped in history and healing vibes that just beg to be enjoyed. Such vibes are not exclusive to Mono, though. Check out these other California hot springs for more soaking inspiration.
A quarter-mile hike away from Mono Hot Springs are riverside hot springs pools which need a careful eye and resort map to get to. Discover more about those below.
|Address||Kaiser Pass Road, California 93634|
|Location||Near Lakeshore (Huntington Lake), Sierra National Forest, California|
|Open||8 am – 9 pm (seasonal – check before going)|
|Clothing||Required on site, Optional at the off-site pools|
|Road Access||Unpaved road – caution needed|
What To Expect
The remote Mono Hot Springs is as rustic and homely as it gets. Wake up for an early soak, grab a breakfast burrito, and spend a day adventurin’ in the local wilderness, then come “home” to your tent or original electricity-free cabin, buy your ingredients at the onsite general store, and cook up dinner for you and the family on a campfire or outdoor grill. If you’re great with a rod, you may well have caught your dinner that day in the local river! Before bed, relax in hot mineral water surrounded by spectacular scenery, and maybe consider grabbing a professional massage the next day to seal the relaxing deal.
The resort is run by a family that excels at offering a down-to-earth, warm welcome and ensuring a fun, informative and comfortable stay for all.
“It is said the hot mineral water comes from a fracture so deep in the earth that it was snow about the time of Christ”– Mono Hot Springs
The Mono Hot Springs resort owners pump local natural mineral water into the bathhouse for the soaking tubs, showers and the spa, as well as to the 8-person outdoor hot tub (our favorite for the spectacular views of the 12,000-foot Mount Hooper!). Inside the bathhouse, pick from a long claw-foot cast iron tub or a tiled bath that is shorter and deeper. Hot mineral water temperatures here range from 100 to 104°F, with a mineral content likened to Japanese hot springs (and they claim that before World War II, many people of Japanese descent stayed at Mono Hot Springs during the summer months enjoying the familiar therapeutic benefits).
Alternatively, cross the cold river or take the ¼ mile hike down the road, over the log bridge, and through the (sometimes deeply muddy, and definitely rocky) meadow to a selection of different pools which boast the same minerals and a more natural and hotter feel. These are open 24/7 and are well worth a night-time visit for the star-gazing, though as the trail can be hard to find and sometimes hard to navigate, and there are bears in the vicinity, perhaps refrain from venturing out at night alone. These pools overlook a breathtakingly beautiful wide stretch of the San Joaquin River, with the Sierra mountains on the one side and a wildflower meadow all around. Start with the “Rock Pool,” then head up to cool off in the “Mud Bath”.
There are also some 95°F pools right on the banks of the river, the “River Rock Springs,” with cleverly placed rocks you can use to open or close the pool to the cold water, adjusting your natural soak to your comfort. These pools can become murky if the silt is stirred up – go with it and treat it as a mineral mud bath, or avoid, if it’s not to your taste.
The man-made concrete pools (the Iodine Springs), remnants of a bath house built by the California Conservation Corps in 1934, are great for a deep soak in, at over 5-feet deep. They are also totally natural, so don’t be surprised to see some algae growing.
Head further up the trail to everyone’s favorite, the steaming hot, man-made 105°F “Old Pedro.”
Also near the resort are the more challenging to get to Little Eden and Rose Garden hot springs. Check out the resort-made video below to guide you around all the area’s hot springs, or head over to the official site for more details about how to get to the various springs, and their mineral content.
The area is great for hiking. Doris Lake is about 1 mile out and is great for swimming, cliff jumping, and fishing, while Tule Lake is just under 2 miles from the resort and is ideal for fishing (not so much for swimming). From there, more advanced hikers should definitely head up to the Devil’s Table for the photo opportunities!
“The forest is a variety of different coniferous trees like redwoods and giant sugar pines. There are giant granite mountains and rock formations everywhere, and even lush alpine meadows. If you visit May-July, the tops of the mountains will probably still have snow on them”– Eric S. [Yelp review]
The General Store (open 7.30 am – 9 pm) sells a variety of good quality staples, among them milk, fruit and veg, ice, frozen meat, ice cream, soft drinks, wine, beer, and candy. You can also grab some fishing supplies, souvenirs, and other things adventurers and campers may need.
Hungry? The River Rock Cafe offers dinner from 5 pm – 8:30 pm, while their breakfast /lunch burritos are sold in the store. We recommend the giant Buffalo Meat Burrito, and while the menu overall is largely meat-based, they do offer a great Vegetarian Spaghetti Dinner and House Salad for non-meat eaters.
|Adults (age 12+)||$20*|
|Children 11 and under||$10|
|Registered campers||50% discount|
|Cabin guests||No charge|
|Shower (children 11 and under)||$3.50*/use|
7-Day Soaking Pass For Campers
|Family of 2||$85*|
|Family of 3||$105*|
|Family of 4||$125*|
|Family of 5||$145*|
|Family of 6||$160*|
Consider scheduling a massage therapy session with their experienced Mono Hot Springs expert masseuses.
Good To Know…
- Pet friendly, but no dogs are allowed around the bathhouse facilities.
- No alcohol or smoking.
- No nudity in the spa.
- Be prepared to get spiders or even scorpions in your room – and take care when removing them.
- Bears have been known to wander into camp. Don’t leave food out.
- There have been complaints of litter around the riverside hot springs. Always pack out what you pack in, and if you can, help tidy up any mess you see.
The Mono Indians, already well versed in the benefits of hot springs water, in the 19th century, took white men to the Mono Hot Springs on horseback to treat their arthritis, rheumatism, and other illnesses.
The Mono Hot Springs Resort story began in 1935 when general contractor Walter Hill, at age 60, picked up that first rock and laid the foundation of the first building. He was a fan of Mono Hot Springs and often went there for hunting, fishing, and the therapeutic benefits of the mineral water. He involved his two daughters and sons-in-law in the construction, and in 1937, with a general store and a number of wooden cabins ready, the resort opened with great aplomb. The cobblestone cabins were started soon after, using stones collected from the river (it was slow work – just one cabin took all summer to build!)
By 1949, there were 24 cabins, a café, and a general store.
Frank Winslow and Sons bought the resort from Walt Hill in 1963, having themselves been fans of the resort and its nearby trout-fishing since 1951. They have regularly upgraded the interiors of all the cabins, and added a cobblestone bathhouse and tent cabins, always looking to keep the original character of the resort, which in 2000 became eligible for a listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
How To Get There
From Fresno, it’ll take you around 2.5 hours (89.3 miles) to get to Mono Hot Springs. Take the CA-168 northeast to Lakeshore (Huntington Lake), then turn right onto Kaiser Pass Road. The next 18.6 miles will take you 56 minutes, and while certainly scenic, at some points it can be gnarly – a 45-minute one-lane section on the edge of a steep cliff drop being one of the “highlights.” Drive with care!
IMPORTANT NOTE: Rancheria Enterprises (closes at 6 PM) at Huntington Lake is your last stop for gas. You should fill up at either Shaver Lake (24/7) or Rancheria. No gas is sold at Mono Hot Springs or anywhere past Huntington Lake.
Can I Stay There?
The Mono Hot Springs Campground is run by California Land Management and is off-site, on the banks of the San Joaquin River. There are 23 shaded campsites, each with a picnic table, grill, and bear-proof food storage locker. There are vault toilets but no drinking water (just head along to the general store at Mono Hot Springs Resort for this and other essentials). Reservations can be booked six months in advance, here. Campsites fill up fast in summer, so you should reserve ahead of time.
Free dispersed camping is also an option beyond the campsite. Be sure you are not on private property before you set up your tent!
Alternatively, why not go with the “rustic experience” and rent out an early 20th-century cabin nestled among the granite boulders? The Mono Hot Springs Resort promotes an outdoorsy atmosphere, one where you can enjoy outdoor activities and evening campfire fun without modern distractions. That’s right – no TVs, no phones – just wood ‘n’ relaxation. Don’t panic, though – there is Wi-Fi for the workaholics among you who will no doubt be bringing your laptops along, and there is AT&T cell service and a public cell phone in the general store!
For cabin reservations and information, call 559 325 1710. Scroll to the bottom of the accommodation page on the resort’s website for pet policies, minimum stays, cancellation policies, and more.
Every overnight guest gets free use of the hot springs spa and bathhouse.
About The Cabins
Historic Stone Cabins 15, 17, 18, 19, 20, and 21 – are two-bedroom housekeeping cabins for up to 6 people and feature a living room with a fireplace, an indoor toilet, a kitchen and a dining table for 5.
Their fully equipped kitchens have a four-burner gas stove with an oven, a refrigerator, a sink counter, and everything eager chefs need to feed the family.
Bedrooms have a full bed in one room and two twin beds in the other, and there is also a futon available. All bedding and towels are provided and can be changed-out at the general store.
In keeping with the rustic vibe, cabins are solar-lit (no plug-ins) and have a gas heater. Firewood is delivered daily for the fireplace/outdoor campfire. You also get your own picnic table and chairs.
If you want use of private baths and showers, head to the Hot Springs bathhouse and spa just a short distance away.
Rate: $209/night/5 people
Historic Stone Cabins 14 and 23 are one-bedroom with a kitchen for up to 3 people. They also come with a full kitchen and futon, and boast electric lighting provided by a generator (no plug-ins). Other features include a toilet and shower, a wall heater, and a large outdoor picnic table, a fire pit/grill for a campfire or BBQ use.
To go a step closer to wilderness life, opt for the smaller, solar-lit (no plug-ins) Wooden and Stone Cabins – one room for two to five people, with double, queen and/or twin bunk beds, lit by a solar light and heated in cooler months by a gas wall heater. NOTE – In some cases, only the double bed comes with bedding, so check ahead of arrival to see if you need to bring your own! Other features include a toilet, and a table and chairs.
Some come with a kitchenette, others set you up for a lovely rustic cooking experience, with a fire pit, grill, hot water sink and large picnic table outside the door. NOTE – Bring your own cooking equipment, utensils, paper (or reusable) plates and cups, fridge and camp stove.
If you want use of private baths and showers, head to the Hot Springs bathhouse & spa just a short distance away.
$155-160/nightOur favorite cabin is the totally unique and super special Honeymoon Cabin. Check it out here.
Some fun and budget-friendly accommodation options are the “tent cabins” ($89/night*) and the “camping cabins” ($109/night*). Find out about those here.
Check-in: After 4 pm
Check out: Before 10:30 am
What Else Can I Do In The Area?
The Mono Hot Springs area offers fishing, birdwatching, mountain biking and Ansel Adams and John Muir Wilderness hiking opportunities, as well as the chance to try out the numerous local hot springs.
Trailheads in the area count Devil’s Table (5 miles) and Doris Lake (2 miles). The Mono Creek Trail connects Mono Hot Springs to Edison Lake, a round-trip hike of about 10 miles.
For more great hiking and fishing options, check out the local experts’ advice here.
Try out some other California hot springs we’ve discovered. Check out the azure, secluded but close-to-civilization Montecito Hot Springs; Surprise Valley Hot Springs, like Mono promising digital-free relaxation; the family-owned Franklin Hot Springs, also great for lovers of fishing, deep inside California’s wine country. For those who are happy to hike to their soak, try the Sespe and Willett hot springs in the Californian wilderness. Other destinations we recommend are Sykes Hot Springs in the Big Sur, Breitenbush Hot Springs, and the desert gem Benton Hot Springs. California has a lot to inspire hot springs lovers, so don’t miss out – search “California” in the Traxplorio search bar to see which mineral soaks land on your next vacation route.
The ideal destination for a “rough at the edges” rustic experience in the granite-strewn meadows near Yosemite, Mono Hot Springs is a place packed full of hot springs of various styles and temperatures, ideal for adventurers of all ages!
Discover more California hot spring gems here:
The Dos And Don’ts Of Visiting Hot Springs
Every hot springs has its own quirks. Visitors to Mono Hot Springs, for example, should be ready for a dramatic ride in, and should take care when heading to the natural pools beyond the resort as the trails are rocky and muddy. For more general and very important “hot springs etiquette,” we highly recommend you take a moment to check out our carefully compiled easy-to-read list of “dos and don’ts” here. And always, always respect our nature – pack out what you pack in and LEAVE NO TRACE.
Frequently Asked Questions
Mono Hot Springs is some 45 minutes northeast of Lakeshore (Huntington Lake), in the Sierra National Forest, California.
From Fresno, it’ll take you around 2.5 hours (89.3 miles) to get to Mono Hot Springs. Take the CA-168 northeast to Lakeshore (Huntington Lake), then turn right onto Kaiser Pass Road.
Mono Hot Springs is at 6,700 feet.
You’ll see coniferous forests containing redwoods and giant pines, as well as huge granite mountains and rock formations, and lush alpine meadows.
While we at Traxplorio do our very best to give you the latest information about these hot springs sites, life happens, weather happens, and property owners happen. We always recommend you go to the official hot springs’ web page and/or the relevant state authority page to check conditions, times, and prices (where relevant) before you head out. Thanks for understanding, and enjoy your soak!