Steep trek to the pools

The Iva Bell (Fish Creek) Hot Springs are 13 miles into the backcountry from the Red's Meadows resort behind Mammoth Mountain. During the summer, a shuttle bus runs from Mammoth several times a day to Red's from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. Wilderness permits are required for overnight hiking into the backcountry, but not for day hikes. Check the U.S. Forest Service Web site at http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/recreation/wild or call (760) 873-2400 for details on trail quotas, permits, regulations and fees.

Where: Red's Meadows trailhead to Iva Bell (Fish Creek) Hot Springs. From Mammoth Mountain ski resort, take the shuttle bus to the trailhead at Red's. Follow the signs to Iva Bell (Fish Creek) Hot Springs.

Difficulty: There are lots of elevation gains and losses at an average of 7,200 feet. Be prepared for lots of switchbacks with little shade. There's a new bridge at Island Crossing (over Fish Creek). Iva Bell is a draining uphill pull from there.

Tips: Bring a good water filter and be sure to carry lots of water. Check the trail signs carefully. Hikers have been known to scratch out the Iva Bell name in a futile attempt to keep the place a secret.

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