How to really soak up fall

Autumn's a great time for a road trip to natural spring waters in California's Eastern Sierra

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Check in at the Bridgeport Inn (from $79;, then start your amateur balneologist journey at Travertine Hot Springs (free; 760/872-5000).

From Bridgeport, take U.S. 395 a half-mile south, turning left onto Jack Sawyer Rd. Follow the graded road on the left about 1 mile to a parking area. Next stop: Buckeye hot springs (free; 760/932-7070).

From Bridgeport, go north on U.S. 395 and turn left onto Twin Lakes Rd. After 7 miles, turn right after Doc & Al’s cabins. Cross a bridge, and pass Buckeye Campground.

A parking area is at the top of the hill. A route leads down to the creek. On the way back, stop in at Twin Lakes to see the fall colors.


Take a drive to Mammoth Lakes, 60 miles south. En route is Tioga Toomey’s Whoa Nellie Deli ($$; closed Nov–Apr; 22 Vista Point Dr.; 760/647-1088), inside a Mobil station.

White-coated chefs serve dishes like venison cutlets and ahi sashimi. Or hold out for a mahimahi burrito at Roberto’s Cafe ($; 271 Old Mammoth Rd.; 760/934-3667) in Mammoth Lakes. Rent a cabin at Tamarack Lodge & Resort (from $119; two-night minimum;


Soak in the natural Rock Tub (free; 760/872-5000). From Mammoth Lakes, take U.S. 395 about 8 miles south to Benton Crossing Rd. (look for a green church).

Turn left at Whitmore Rd., and go for about a mile. As the road rises and bears right, take a sharp right onto an unmarked dirt track; it ends at the tub.

More:  Great fall trips in California


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