Happy Memorial Day! I hope you are enjoying time at a pool somewhere… Everyone that knows me knows I LOVE pools. Maybe it’s the Midwest in me – but I just love pools. The ocean…eh… not so much. So, of course one of my favorite places to go in the spring is Keough’s Hot Springs. Just South of Mammoth Lakes on 395 only 40 miles separate snow, skiing, and cold weather from a relaxing summer day. The best seasons to go to Keough’s, in my opinion, are spring and fall. The winters are a little too cold for me (even though they’re open year round), and the summers are way too hot. If you like 100 degree weather, then you may disagree. I love to get out of Mammoth for just a few hours in the spring, head down to Keough’s and enjoy perfect 70 degree weather, sunshine, pool time, and pure relaxation.
Just a few miles South of Bishop is Keough’s Hot Springs Road. When coming from Mammoth, make a right from 395 and you’ll turn onto what seems like a road that doesn’t have anything at the end. It is deceiving, but once you take it you’ll drive through a small trailer park and it dead ends right into the entrance for Keough’s Hot Springs.
A little history about Keough’s, it was built in 1919 as a health and leisure resort. Back then it wasn’t only a soaking pool, but people could dine, fish, and stay in a cabin. Since then, it’s changed owners a couple times but the main concept is the same – soak and swim in natural hot spring water. Keough’s is the largest natural hot spring in the Eastern Sierra. Now Keough’s is equipped with two lap lanes, a pull up bar, plenty of kick boards and pool noodles, and it is filled with natural hot spring water. There is no chlorine…none. When you walk in it looks like any old pool, there’s a Snack Bar, lawn chairs, and crystal clear blue water. But, at Keough’s you’ll notice a big spout at the shallow end of the pool spraying water through the air. This is flowing hot spring water that is cooling as it goes into the pool, making the pool a warm 86 to 89 degrees all the time (and even warmer in the winter).
If you’re looking for something even hotter, there’s a tub in the shade that is also filled with natural hot spring water but is kept at 104 degrees. Perfect if you have sore muscles and want to soak. Both pools are natural free flowing hot spring water all day long. Keough’s is closed once a week (on Tuesdays) to drain and clean each pool, and re-opens the following day.
My favorite thing to do is arrive at Keough’s when they open. I like to snag one of the few lawn chairs in the sun before they’re gone. I relax, read and soak up some sun for an hour or two. Then, we walk outside to the picnic tables and eat our sandwiches we made and brought from home. After my food settles, it’s time to swim. When I’m done swimming, if it’s really warm I’ll lay back in the sun until I dry off. If it’s cooling down, I’ll sit in the hot tub and soak before heading home.