Tour de Eastern Sierra: Hot Springs & Other Shenanigans

Eastern Sierra lake dip

Albeit hard to leave our beloved Tahoe basin, we like to get out to explore on the weekends and on one such weekend, we made our way South towards the Mammoth Lakes region. This roadtrip from Truckee, CA is nothing but nonstop views, starting with the drive down the East shore of Lake Tahoe. Uninhabited and scored with rocky beaches that sidle up to the turquoise waters of big blue, the start of the drive is a showstopper. It only gets better as you wind through the Eastern Sierra.

Your next stop is in Bridgeport at the Burger Barn where you’ll need to grab a milkshake and sweet potato fries alongside one hell of a burger. Keep on driving South to Mono Lake where you can float in the ancient saline lake and admire the world famous tufa-towers to break up the drive. Now, on to Wild Willy’s hot spring where you’ll find a concentrated amount of hot springs set in a sagebrush-filled plain. There's even a heart-shaped spring for the romantics out there. You will find a ton of parking spots if you’re in a van or RV. We opted to set up our tents with the mountains as our backdrop because… well, see below photo for explanation.

Camping at Wild Willy's

With your coffee in hand, wake up to hike, fish, and dip in Convict Lake, which is a quick 5-minute drive from Wild Willy’s. The crystal clear waters are contrasted by Mount Morrison, which towers above at 12,241 feet. After you’ve had your fill of alpine lakes, get yourself an organic smoothie and burrito at Stellar Brew. For anyone who happened to sip too much whiskey around the campfire the night before, this spot will perk you right up. 

Morning coffee at camp

While we were in town, we had the last of the season’s Spring skiing at both Mammoth Mountain and June Mountain. Go big at Mammoth or enjoy the small, laidback family vibe at June. We particularly loved ripping corn at June and making our way to June Lake Brewing for poke bowls at the food truck (a must try) and a SplatterHorn IPA. Wrap the day up by catching sunset on the June Lake beach and soaking in the immense beauty of the magical Sierras.

Photos by the talented Yvonne McKenna.