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Where to Find Natural Hot Springs in California

There are some major benefits to California’s geologically active landscape — and one of them is the abundance of natural hot springs. Geothermal oases are waiting to be discovered all over the Golden State. The soothingly warm mineral waters are naturally therapeutic, detoxifying both the body and the mind to leave visitors feeling rejuvenated. Adventure out to immerse yourself in the liquid bliss of California’s hot springs! 

Photo by Melissa Mn Images

Due to its tectonic activity and geologic shifts, California is a hot spot for hot springs: There are plenty of geothermal pools where adventurers can take a dip in the steaming surface waters. Hot springs are formed when groundwater becomes heated by magma underground, which then bubbles up to the earth’s surface through cracks and fissures. The resulting steaming pools come in varying shapes, sizes, and temperatures. In the particularly seismically active Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, there are over a dozen hot springs to settle into. At Wild Willy’s Hot Springs in Bishop, there is even a heart-shaped geothermal pool where visitors can soak in turquoise waters with encompassing views of the majestic mountains. 

Holtville Hot Springs. Photo by CampPhoto via Getty Images. 

Rising up from below the surface, the steaming waters of natural hot springs are rich in minerals and elements such as sulfur, magnesium, and gold, which may soothe sore muscles and promote bodily healing. There are many purported benefits to soaking in a geothermal basin, including stress relief, improved circulation and skin health, joint and muscle pain relief, detoxification, and a boosted immune system. Sink into a steaming oasis like Southern California’s palm-lined Holtville Hot Springs for a calming effect on both mind and body. For a more resort-style setting, head to nearby Desert Hot Springs, just outside of Palm Springs. This city is filled with the largest collection of natural hot springs in the U.S. Settle into a thermal bath and soak up the wellness benefits in a picturesque desert setting. 

Benton Hot Springs near Mammoth. Photo by BeusBeus via Getty Images. 

With so many geothermal baths steaming up the Golden State, from geothermal basins tucked between the redwoods of the north to the desert mineral pools in the south, there are plenty of places where you can soak your worries away. For a true escape from daily life, head to the hot springs in the seemingly untouched natural spaces around the state. These rustic retreats often require a bit of hiking to access, providing adventure, privacy, and relaxation without the price tag that comes with resort hot springs. Many are even clothing optional! It’s important to note that natural hot springs have fluctuating temperatures, so be sure to test the waters before taking a dip, and follow any posted guidelines or warnings in order to ensure a safe and enjoyable hot spring experience. Immerse yourself in the relaxation created by California’s natural hot springs!  

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