Crab Cooker Hot Springs - Hot Springs in California


This is my personal favorite spot in Long Valley Caldera.

The water temp, which is noticeably higher than that of nearby wild hot springs, is attractive.

Distinctive source well

To get close to Crab Cooker Hot Springs, you will have to drive more than a mile on a rough dirt road from Benton Crossing Rd.

The ruts are quite deep in the latter half of the course, so vehicles with high road clearance are recommended.

Snow 01

If you are not comfortable driving, you can also visit on foot from Shepherd Hot Springs, which is easily accessible.

In that case, walk 0.4 miles southeast across the mortared plain.

Snow 02

This land facing the Little Alkali Lake is private property of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, so camping is prohibited.

Well 01

The source was solidly protected by a concrete structure.

The wire mesh at the top was broken, so I reached in and measured the temperature of the water surface, which was 156 degrees F.

Well 02
Careful not to fall off.
It's dangerous when it snows.

I was surprised by the water temp, which was noticeably higher than the temperature of other wild hot springs within walking distance.

Monopolize the caldera?

A short distance away from the source was a hot pool that looked like it could accommodate four soakers.

Pool 02

It was an oval shape, made of rocks and concrete.

Beside it was a single wooden bench.

Bench 02

Piping was exposed on the muddy ground.

Twisting the red valve, boiling water was thrown vigorously from the bottom of the pool.

Bench 01

The water quickly becomes too hot, so be careful not to overdo it.

It is an unwritten rule here to ensure that the valve is closed before leaving.

Pool 01

The slightly yellowish water was accompanied by a faint volcanic odor.

It was a peculiar phenomenon in this region, where many hot springs are colorless and odorless.

Soaking 01

Clothing was optional.

I was overwhelmed by the tremendous sense of openness, as if I had the caldera all to myself.


Crab Cooker Hot Springs, Mammoth Lakes, California, U.S.

My rating

Type: Undeveloped

Rule: Clothing optional

Chemical use: No

Water temp: Up to 156 degrees F

  • Writer

Hot Springer Ken

A hot spring enthusiast based in Japan. Toured over 300 North American hot springs while working in Texas from 2016 to 2022. For updates, visit X or Instagram!

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