Travertine & Buckeye Hot Springs
Many natural hot springs are located within a short drive of Bridgeport. The closest one to our camp and also the most popular is Travertine Hot Springs. This hot spring offers several soaking opportunities and presents intriguing geology in a beautiful setting. The upper hot spring is the most enjoyable one with temperatures of about 105°F and a small concrete pool. The view of the snow capped Sierras completes this tranquil experience. Just be aware that Travertine is the most popular spring in this area, so it is often occupied by other people. However, typically people are more than happy to share the tub and we've even had folks sharing beer with us once, so access shouldn't be an issue. Additionally, there are also several pools in the lower area with water temperature from 105 to 90°F. The bottom of these pools consist of natural mud.
Directions: South on Hwy 395, turn left onto Jack Sawyer Road one mile out of Bridgeport. Continue for about ¼ mile and bear left onto a dirt road. Follow this road for two miles until you reach a parking area. The upper, left fork takes you to the pool.
Another popular Spring that is located just a short drive from Bridgeport is Buckeye Hot Springs. Buckeye Springs consist of three tubs that all have natural sand bottoms and temperatures ranging from 95° to 110°F. The largest pool is situated in a cave like setting with a small waterfall cascading down the rocks. When it's cold, you'll be able to see the steam coming out of these pools from a distance, which will make it easier to find. In cold weather the hot springs will be easy to spot with all the steam. The Buckeye Creek is flowing right through the area and offers a nice cooling alternative, if desired.
Directions: From Hwy 395, head west on Twin Lakes Road and follow for six miles. Turn right just by Doc and Al's Resort, bear left and go over the bridge crossing the Buckeye Creek. Continue uphill past Buckeye Campground for about four miles. It will feel like a long drive but just keep going until you cross another bridge and come to a crossroad where you will see a sign pointing to the right that reads "Hot Springs". Follow that sign uphill for another 1/4 of a mile or so and you'll see a parking area on the right side. Park there and walk downhill to access the springs. You won't be able to see the spring from the top of the hill, so just follow the small spring cascading over the rock as it takes you all the way to the pools which are located a short distance from the parking area.
There is plenty of opportunity to experience the beautiful Sierras from horseback. Many pack trips and horseback riding tours are offered just within minutes of Paradise Shores. If you have never ridden a horse or if you are a beginner, do not worry, there are options available to you. Knowledgeable guides will ensure that you learn everything you need to know about riding before heading out. I started riding again when I moved to Bridgeport and after having a bad accident as a kid, man, was I scared. However, it didn't take long to get comfortable again especially because of the people that worked with me. Also, these trips are offered for different riding levels and many of them are suitable for people that have no experience with horses. Have fun and email photos!
Check out the places below for an amusing experience.
What needs to be said about climbing in the Sierras? It is the worlds birth place of Rock Climbing. It started it all, and it continues to be the cornucopia. It offers everything that a climber of any level could ever wish for. People dream about coming here to climb some of the best walls in the world. Once a climber experiences the sheer beauty and uniqueness of the Sierras, he will be returning over and over again. The reasons are many; the people are humble and friendly. The diversity of rock, type, style, and elevation boggles the mind. The rock is superior, long and strenuous, or short and technical. It is difficult to find a better concentration of high quality climbs anywhere else in the world. The settings are breathtaking, the views unsurpassed. The climbing is real and challenging. Remember my words when you are on that 5.7 that somehow feels like 5.10. There is more rock to climb here than you can possibly conquer in your lifetime or two.
Most people come to climb in Yosemite Valley and never get out of the Valley. Sure, El Capitan is the ultimate goal for most climbers; however, there is so much more climbing in other areas. Go ahead and experience the Valley, but try to explore other corners of the Sierras as well. You won't be disappointed.
- Tuolumne Meadows
Tuolumne Meadows is the place to go during the warm summer months. Come June, the Valley becomes unbearably hot, and most climbers migrate into higher country. The climbing here is spectacular and so are the views. During the busiest summer months, it is likely that the moderate routes with shorter approaches will have people on it. If you don't mind hiking, I would recommend climbs that are further out so you can have the climb all to yourself. Alan and I love to start our day before sunrise and hike for several hours. As the sun rises, we find ourselves at the base of some remote peak. That way we can summit and get down before the afternoon storms roll in. Once we are back at the ground, we still have few hours to get back to our car. The hikes back are always (ok, almost always:-) so pleasant with the sun shining over the beautiful mountains and us being tired but happy to be out there. If you have a few days in Tuolumne, climb some of the shorter routes first to get accustomed to the area, the altitude and the type of climbing. Be careful, this is a very trad area and it can be kind of runout. Once you're ready, head out for some the epic long routes like Fairview, Cathedral, Matthew's Crest, Third Pillar of Dana or any of Tuolumne's incredible peaks.
- Owens River Gorge
This volcanic area of predominately Tuffa is know for its sport routes. The vertical to overhanging rock is well bolted with a variety of climbs in the 5.7 to 5.13 range. Most climbs are concentrated in areas that are easily accessible and the approach is fairly short, but keep in mind that you're climbing on a private property, so following the designated approach is a must. Overall, the Gorge is a superb sport climbing area with plenty of long routes and fun climbing. The season here runs from October to May, as the summers can get very hot. However, it is a great winter destination. You can climb in your tank top one day and ski Mammoth or the backcountry the next day. Actually, you could easily do both in the same day. You've gotta love the Sierra!
- The Bishop High Sierras
While the Buttermilks and Happy Boulders are well know for bouldering, and The Gorge for its sport routes, The High Sierras are what puts Bishop on the map. Bear Creek Spire, Pine Creek, and Cardinal Peak only scratch the surface. Peter Croft and Galen Rowell didn't just call this home, they called it the best climbing area in the world.
No trip to the Sierras can be complete without a climb on the Incredible Hulk. If this 2000 feet of staggeringly perfect granite splitters were located in the Valley, it would have lines all day long. Situated where it is, rare is the day you will see anyone in the entire Little Slide Valley. The climbs on The Hulk rival those of Astroman or The Rostrum. It's that good. Do not miss it. We also know of some backcountry crags and boulders, which have kept us very occupied within the Bridgeport Valley, no lines :-)
- Tahoe Area
There is a ton of quality climbing areas around Tahoe, but I am embarrassed to say, I can't really give much beta. There is just so much to do from Bridgeport south that I've never ventured north...yet. The places I would start from would be Donner Summit, Lovers Leap and Sugarloaf.
Check out our photos to see some of the Sierras spectacular scenery and climbing areas.
- Mountain Project article on Incredible Hulk
- Info on Incredible Hulk from Summit Post
Backpacking and Hiking
The Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, the Range of Light, High Sierras...no matter what name you use, it is all the same. This is one of the most spectacular areas in the world. The serenity of these mountains combined with the fairly easy access can be hardly matched. 95% is designated wilderness covering 400 miles from north to south and over 70 miles from west to east. It offers the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states, Death Valley, and everything in between. There is something very special about this area. The mountains are massive yet somehow encourage you to come closer and explore. If you show respect and curiosity, they will reward you with scenery that you have never seen before. These mountains are real serious, many of them much taller than 13,000 feet. However, the combination of the climate and location makes them accessible.
So, welcome to hiking and backpacking Paradise. Are you ready to hike the John Muir Trail rated the Best Trail Ever by Backpacking Magazine or just to take couple hours to hike some of the beginner friendly hikes? The possibilities are truly endless here. Better yet, many of the best Sierras hiking trails are located only a short drive from Paradise Shores. Some others can be accessed directly from our property. We have actively explored this area for many years, and we'll happily share our knowledge with you. Our camping sites are simple but comfortable with views that will inspire you to explore this unique area. After a long day or two of hiking, our camp awaits you with a hot clean shower, sundeck overlooking the lake, and friendly people that share your passion for the outdoors.
- Barney Lake Trail
If you're looking for a moderate hike in the Bridgeport area, Barney Lake Trail is a great choice. It is a nice loop with some beautiful scenery. The trail starts at the center of Twin Lakes - Mono Village and continues for about four miles (eight miles round trip). In these four miles you'll gain 1173 feet of elevation.
To access this trail, take the Twin Lakes Rd from Bridgeport all the way to Mono Village (the end of the road). Once you drive through the gate, park directly on your left by the marina to avoid daily usage charges. Finding the actual trail head might be a bit tricky; however, just make sure the creek stays on your left and head through the resort toward the mountains. Do not cross the creek while you are at the Village! Stay on the main “road” and walk through the many RV and tent sites eventually reaching a dense pine tree forest. Look for a trail head sign that says “ Barney Lake Trail”. It can be easily spotted once you’re in the right area. Follow this trail all the way to the lake and come back the same way or continue further to Peeler Lake.
Along the way, you’ll see some beautiful forest, open wild meadows (many wildflowers in the spring!), some beautiful rock walls and canyons, creeks, and an incredible alpine lake. One of the highlights is the many aspen trees along the way. Hiking this trail in the fall, you will experience some of the most spectacular fall colors. This is also a popular snow shoeing trail during the winter months.
- Virginia Lakes Trail
This is a spectacular hike that is located within Hoover Wilderness. It starts at 9,800 feet and takes you through several beautiful lakes (Virginia Lakes, Blue Lake, Cooney Lake, and Frog Lake) within 4 miles. After about a mile or so, you will reach a historic miners cabin. This cabin is located pretty much on the main trail and there are still some reminders from the times when miner Cooney lived there and searched for gold. The trail continues all the way to Summit Pass, which is at 11,000 feet. It’s quite a view from there, but make sure you bring extra clothing, ideally a windstopper, as the weather at the Summit is always much colder than at the start of the hike. The trail is about 5.5 miles round trip from Virginia Lakes to Summit Pass. This hike is particularly rewarding during late spring/summer months as the wildflowers here are usually just gorgeous and plentiful.