A 42 mile round trip adventure through the Sierra Nevada mountains to Iva Bell Hot Springs. There are two main ways of accessing these hot springs. One is from the north from the Mammoth Lakes area or from the west near Minarets Road on the Bass Lake Ranger District in the Sierra National Forest. If you are driving from the San Joaquin Valley, the northern route may take just as long to drive around the Sierra Nevada mountains to Mammoth Lakes. Hence the western route may be the better option.
Trip can be done aggressively in 2 nights and 3 days. Push hard the first day (21 miles) and then recover in the hot springs on day 2. Day 3 is a trek back to the vehicle and then the drive home. Otherwise the trip will last 5 days and 4 nights with more manageable miles of 10 to 11 miles a day and a rest day at the hot springs.
It will be a work out to get there, but the way back should not be as “bad.” The destination will be worth the hike as well as the journey there. We will hike through meadows, canyons, forested landscapes, and climb over pass for panoramic views. Then the descent down to Iva Bell Hot Springs. Approximately an 8,200 feet elevation gain with a 7,700 feet elevation loss for the one way trip there. Click on the elevation profile below for a bigger image.
Iva Bell Hot Springs trip will take hikers down into the San Joaquin river near Miller’s Crossing (4500 feet). Then the trail hikes up and out of the San Joaquin canyon and ends at Rube Meadow (8,000 feet). Here the trail grade is not as steep when continue on towards Iva Bell. There is a 2 mile steep climb up to 10,300 feet. From there the hike dives down to Iva Bell where a day of rest is well deserved. The hardest parts leaving will be hiking back up to 10,300 feet and out of the San Joaquin River canyon.