Hot Creek Geologic Site

Inyo National Forest, Near Mammoth Lakes, California

Hot Creek Geologic Site does not offer reservations through Recreation.gov. Please take a look at the area details below for more information about visiting this location. Enjoy your visit!

Overview

Hot Creek is a place to marvel at geology in action. Boiling water bubbling up from the creek bed, fumaroles and periodic geyser eruptions at Hot Creek attest to the chamber of hot magma which lies about three miles below the surface of the earth in this area. 

The steam you see along the Hot Creek drainage is created when water percolates deep into the ground and enters a complex underground plumbing system.  The water is heated and pressurized before it rises to the earth's surface.  It is believed this journey takes around 1000 years. 

Earthquakes can cause sudden geyser eruptions and overnight appearances of new hot springs at Hot Creek.  Water temperatures can change rapidly, and so entering the water is prohibited.