Keough’s Hot Springs hasn’t changed a whole heckuva lot since 1919, when Phillip Keough bought the land, envisioning a health resort. The heyday of the hot spring, in the 1920s and ‘30s, saw the resort as a hub of Owens Valley society. It’s the largest hot springs pool in the Eastern Sierra, featuring a 100 x 40 foot pool fed by a sprinkler cooling system which delights the young and old alike. It’s also got a smaller soaking tub, kept at 104 degrees, for those who prefer to sit back and relax. The large pool is kept at 86-89 degrees in the summer and 90-92 in the winter, making it an idea spot for those seeking to escape the chill of the high sierra during the cold months.
Phillip Keough once touted the 27 different minerals in the water, which flows from the ground at 130 degrees and at 600 gallons per minute.
Though far from chichi, it’s the old west style that gives Keough’s its charm. Keoughs’ signature blue-green paint is sometimes chipping and the changing rooms smell a little musty, but the whole place just oozes nostalgia, from the ice cream available in the store to the old-fashioned life preservers dotting the edge of the pool.
There’s also a picnic area outside the grounds of the pool, where residents of Mammoth venture down to get a respite from their snowbound town, and Owens Valley kids celebrate birthdays. Lodging and camping are also available at the resort, with 10 sites that include water and electric, and multiple dry camping sites. Keep in mind that fire pits are not available to guests of the campground. There are also several “luxury tent cabins” and “modular retreats” available for guests who are more into “glamping” than camping.
Keough’s Hot Springs is located between Big Pine and Bishop off of Highway 395. 760.872.4670. The resort open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday (excluding Tuesdays, when it is closed), 11 a.m.-8 p.m. on Fridays, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m.-7 p.m. on Sunday. keoughshotsprings.com
Sarah Rea is a freelance dirtbag-turned-journalist who has been living in the Sierra on and off for twenty years, with eight spent in Yosemite National Park and five in Mammoth Lakes. She likes dogs, rocks, good food and jumping into cold water.