Hot Creek, starting as Mammoth Creek, is a stream in Mono County of eastern California, in the Western United States. It is within the Inyo National Forest.

The creek begins its course in the eastern Sierra Nevada named as Mammoth Creek. It originates as an outflow of Twin Lakes, just south of Mammoth Mountain and above the town of Mammoth Lakes. The stream is primarily sourced from melted snow water at 8,500 feet (2,600 m) above sea level. It is quite cold, rarely being above 50 °F (10 °C).

As Mammoth Creek leaves the Sierra and flows east into the Long Valley Caldera it is joined by warmer water from geothermal springs at the Hot Creek State Fish Hatchery. From this confluence the stream is named Hot Creek, though its water temperature seldom exceeds 68 °F (20 °C) until it reaches Hot Creek Gorge, 8 miles (13 km) east of Mammoth Lakes. In the Hot Creek Gorge, numerous hot springs near and in the stream bed add hot water into the stream. Its mouth is at the confluence with the Owens River upstream from Crowley Lake.

Hot Creek in the Hot Creek Gorge section can harbor dangers as the locations, discharge rates, and temperatures of springs often change. The changes can be sudden and dangerous to unprepared visitors (especially if entering beyond walkways and fences).

Since May 2006, springs in and near the most popular swimming areas have been geysering or intermittently spurting very hot, sediment-laden water as high as 6 feet (2 m) above the stream surface. At times this geysering activity is vigorous enough to produce “popping” sounds audible from hundreds of feet away. The geysering usually lasts a few seconds and occurs at irregular intervals, with several minutes between eruptions. Fumaroles, or steam vents, are in gorge area also. They can occur in the ground beyond the creek bed. The unpredictability of this hazardous spring activity led the U.S. Forest Service to close parts of the Hot Creek Gorge in June 2006, and the closure has remained in effect as of February 2016.

Hot Creek Gorge was a filming location in the 1969 film True Grit, as well as the 1960 film North to Alaska also starring John Wayne, the 1966 Steve McQueen film Nevada Smith, and the 1971 film Shoot Out with Gregory Peck, which also starred True Grit’s Jeff Corey.

From Wikipedia, Hot Creek.