We’re Warming Up to These California Hot Springs

Fancy a dip at Wild Willy’s?

Winter is a joy for many … the holidays, the snow, the sweaters. Yet, some of us have a harder time defrosting then others, and all we really want is to let it all go and take a dip in a toasty spa or pool. Luckily, California is bubbling over with options, from Death Valley to the High Sierras. Looking to dip your toes in Mother Nature’s hot tub this season? If so, Outdoor Project handpicked “17 Soak-Worthy California Hot Springs” for you to simmer on. Here are a few of our favorites.

Sierra Hot Springs

Lake Tahoe and Northern Sierra

“What better way to wind down than a therapeutic soak in a hot spring? The mineral-rich thermal spring water of the Sierra Valley provides an opportunity to relax in the tastefully constructed and well-maintained pools at Sierra Hot Springs Resort. Located 25 miles north of Truckee near the town of Sierraville, Sierra Hot Springs sits on the edge of the Tahoe National Forest and overlooks the scenic Sierra Valley. In addition to the hot springs, the resort offers lodging and camping accommodations, meals, health and wellness workshops, and custom retreats.

The clothing-optional hot springs are open to both day visitors and overnight guests. Day visitors can pay for three-hour or full-day visits. The latter provides access to the main Temple Dome Pool Area, located down a forested trail, and a Meditation Pool set near the main lodge.

With two pools, a sun deck, and a changing and shower room, the Temple Dome Pool Area is the main attraction. The Hot Pool is kept at temperatures between 105 and 110 degrees, and it is set in a geodesic dome structure that houses two additional small cold plunge pools to cool you off. Outside the dome structure is a larger warm pool that is kept between 98 and100 degrees. The warm pool and adjacent sun deck open up to scenic views of the valley and the surrounding forest. A dry sauna is also available.”

Tecopa Mud Baths

Death Valley

“The town of Tecopa lies in a hot springs-rich stretch of desert south of Death Valley. And while there are numerous campgrounds and RV resorts with private pools and bathing opportunities in this area, the Tecopa Mud Baths, along with the nearby Tecopa Hot Tub, make up a free option for soaking.

The mud baths are a collection of springs that bubble up into a pool that is 2’ to 3.5’ deep. The water is approximately 105 degrees near the source, and it gradually cools as it flows down a ditch past and through one more large pool that sits at about 90 degrees. Eventually the water flows beneath the nearby road to a lake bed on the other side. The water leaves a slick feeling on the skin, and the bottom of the pool is a bed of fine silty mud that bathers commonly apply to their skin. The springs can have a slightly sulfurous smell when the mud on the bottom is stirred up and air bubbles float to the surface.”

Wild Willy’s Hot Springs

Eastern Sierra and White Mountains Area

“Imagine pockets of steam rising from a sagebrush plain surrounded by mountains in all directions. That lovely setting is exactly what you’ll find at Wild Willy’s Hot Springs in the Long Valley Caldera south of Mammoth Lakes. Long Valley is home to one of California’s highest concentrations of geothermal surface water. That also means a handful of inviting hot springs welcoming any time of year.

Found at the end of a seemingly out of place boardwalk, Wild Willy’s (also known as Crowley Hot Springs) is made up of two hot spring pools surrounded by a dramatic backdrop—the eastern escarpment of the Sierra Nevada to the west and the Glass Mountain Ridge to the east. Water temperature ranges between 95 and 105 degrees, varying slightly from day to day. The larger pool is the main draw being deeper and able to hold a handful of people comfortably, while the smaller pool is slightly warmer and shallower, and pretty much maxed out with two soakers. The pools have a natural appearance about them, although both have been reinforced with cement and slightly built up.

Being public, the hot springs see a fair amount of visitors. Please be respectful, help keep the area clean, and stay on the boardwalk that helps to preserve the fragile desert plain ecosystem.”

Learn more about all 17 here.

Sierra Hot Springs photo by Jivan Child

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