California has an abundance of both public and private natural geothermal hot springs that bubble up from the earth with volcanically warmed waters and attract visitors who flock to the pools to enjoy their healing and therapeutic properties. From luxury hotels with exclusive spas and geothermal pools to open-air pools on public land that can be reached by accessible hiking trails, here are some of California’s favorite hot springs for swimming and soaking.
1.Calistoga Spa Hot Springs
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Located in Calistoga in the upper Napa Valley, Calistoga Spa Hot Springs is a geothermal mineral water resort with several hot springs of varying temperatures. The resort has been operating since the early 1900s and features a spa and wellness center, a mud and mineral bath facility, a large mineral pool known as the Roman Pool, and four smaller geothermal mineral pools. The four pools include a covered whirlpool at 104°F, a soaking pool at 100°F, a multi-lane lap pool at 80°F, and a wading pool for children. The pools are surrounded by patios with sun loungers and day beds as well as barbecue areas where guests can relax. Things to Do in Calistoga
1006 Washington St, Calistoga, CA 94515, Phone: 707-942-6269
2.The Esalen Institute
© The Esalen Institute
The Esalen Institute is one of America's most high-profile retreat centers, located in Big Sur, California. The institute, which was originally founded in 1962 by Dick Price and Michael Murphy, has been at the forefront of the New Age movement in the United States throughout its existence, focusing on exploration of Aldous Huxley's "human potentialities" and alternative means of exploring human consciousness. Guests speakers at the institute throughout the years have included international luminaries such as Buckminster Fuller, Alan Watts, Joseph Campbell, and Linus Pauling. Today, the institute continues to offer a variety of workshops related to psychological, physical, and spiritual wellness, including workshops related to permaculture, ecological sustainability, philosophy, religious studies, martial arts and yoga, meditation, and the arts.
55000 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, Phone: 888-837-2536)
3.Crowley Hot Springs (Wild Willy’s)
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Crowley Hot Springs, also known as Wild Willy’s Hot Springs, is located near the Hot Creek Geothermal Area in the Mammoth Lakes area. Easily accessible from Highway 395 and Benton Crossing Road, Crowley Hot Springs can be reached by a comfortable and flat 2-mile hike along an elevated wooden walkway. The first pool is 10-foot wide and about 3 feet deep and warm and relaxing, while second, heart-shaped pool is slightly larger and much hotter with an unusually intense blue color. Both pools are surrounded by vast open savannah and breathtaking mountain views in the distance.
Hot Creek Geothermal Area, Mammoth Lakes
4.Natural Hot Springs: Deep Creek Hot Springs
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Deep Creek Hot Springs is set on the Deep Creek fork of the Mojave River in the desert foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains in the northern Mojave Desert. Managed by the San Bernardino National Forest, the springs feature both hot and cold-water pools surrounded by spectacular landscapes of xeric shrublands, montane chaparral and woodlands, desert chaparral, and conifer forests. Deep Creek Hot Springs can be reached by the Freedom Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail, which crosses the area.
Pacific Crest Trail, Apple Valley, CA 92308, Phone: 909-382-2600
5.Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Resort
© Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Resort
Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Resort in Calistoga is a high-end day spa named after chiropractor Dr. Wilkinson, offering geothermal mineral pools and a variety of spa treatments. The famous mineral baths are the centerpiece of the Calistoga resort, which features separate sections for men and women, with mineral steam rooms, mineral water whirlpool tubs, and mud baths made up of volcanic ash, peat moss, and hot spring water. The resort also offers deluxe accommodations, exceptional dining, and other pampering services.
1507 Lincoln Ave, Calistoga, CA 94515, Phone: 707-942-4102
6.El Morocco Inn & Spa
© El Morocco Inn & Spa
El Morocco Inn and Spa is a Moroccan-inspired luxury inn and spa in Desert Hot Springs with a natural hot mineral water swimming pool and Jacuzzi spa. Overlooking the Palm Springs desert area in Riverside County, the El Morocco Inn & Spa features deluxe bed and breakfast accommodations, delicious cuisine, and an exclusive spa with an array of pampering treatments. A large hot mineral water swimming pool and Jacuzzi spa are set within a tranquil Moroccan courtyard setting and can be enjoyed as part of several spa treatments or on their own.
66810 4th St, Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240, Phone: 760-288-2527
7.Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa
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Nestled in the heart of the magnificent Sonoma Valley, the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa is a luxury resort that features stylish accommodations, a Michelin-rated restaurant, an award-winning spa with four geothermal swimming pools, and access to a championship golf course at the nearby Sonoma Golf Club. The elegant Spanish mission–style inn is set atop an ancient thermal mineral spring that flows from 1,100 feet below the surface and was historically revered by Native Americans for its healing powers. Today, the inn’s luxurious 40,000-square-foot spa features mineral baths and a Watsu® pool using this revitalizing and energy-giving water. Located just an hour north of San Francisco, the resort offers discerning guests a range of exceptional spa and body treatments, along with numerous complimentary fitness and wellness offerings, such as yoga and fitness classes and daily docent-led hikes. Things to Do in Sonoma
100 Boyes Blvd, Sonoma, CA 95476, Phone: 707-938-9000
8.Glen Ivy Hot Springs
© Glen Ivy Hot Springs
Located beneath the towering Santa Ana Range at the mouth of Cold Water Canyon, Glen Ivy Hot Springs is a natural sanctuary with geothermal mineral pools that have been drawing visitors seeking the healing powers of the waters for more than 150 years. The Glen Ivy Hot Springs Resort boasts 19 pools filled with the sulfur-rich 104°F geothermal water that guests can enjoy, from the lounge and saline-heavy pools to hot and cold plunge pools, a lap pool, and a vista pool. The resort also features Roman-style pools in the Bath House changing rooms, which echo those of ancient Roman times, bordered by stone colonnades and featuring classical arches and mosaics.
25000 Glen Ivy Rd, Corona, CA 92883, Phone: 888-453-6489
9.Hacienda Hot Springs Inn
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Hacienda Hot Springs is a boutique mineral spa hotel and oasis in the heart of the desert with a relaxed Old World ambiance. Situated just 20 minutes from Palm Springs, the inn has cozy guest rooms surrounded by a spectacular aromatic garden and breathtaking views of the San Jacinto and San Gorgonio mountains. The inn is home to therapeutic geothermal pools with healing mineral waters that originate from an underground aquifer that rises to the surface at 160°F. The inn’s swimming pool is maintained at a tropical 90°F degrees and the Jacuzzi is kept at 105°F, and other facilities include a Finnish rock sauna and an outdoor rainforest shower.
12885 Eliseo Rd, Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240, Phone: 760-251-2885
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Hot Creek is a geothermal stream in the Inyo National Forest in Mono County that begins its course as Mammoth Creek in the eastern Sierra Nevada. Originating an outflow from the Twin Lakes south of Mammoth Mountain, the stream arises from melted snow water at 8,500 feet above sea level and as it leaves the Sierra and flows east into the Long Valley Caldera, it is warmed by water from geothermal springs at the Hot Creek State Fish Hatchery. From here, the stream becomes Hot Creek and becomes warmer as numerous hot springs join the creek in the Hot Creek Gorge. The Hot Creek Gorge area of Hot Creek and its mineral pools is managed by the U.S. Inyo National Forest and offers an array of activities such as swimming, fishing, birdwatching, and photography.
Inyo National Forest in Mono County, CA 93514
11.Miracle Springs Resort & Spa
© Miracle Springs Resort & Spa
Nestled in the foothills of Desert Hot Springs, Miracle Springs Resort and Spa is a deluxe retreat surrounding the beautiful landscapes of the California desert's Coachella Valley with eight natural hot mineral pools. Discovered by Cahuilla Native Americans centuries ago, the mineral pools are world renowned for their healing and therapeutic benefits and draw visitors from around the country to enjoy them. Boasting beautiful views of Joshua Tree National Park and snow-capped Mount San Jacinto in the distance, Desert Hot Springs is the only place in the world with both hot and cold mineral spring aquifers, with crystal-clear waters rising from underground lakes at an average temperature of 140°F. Miracle Springs Resort & Spa features eight pools and spas with temperatures ranging from 90°F to 104°F, which are perfect for swimming, soaking, and relaxing.
10625 Palm Drive, Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240, Phone: 760-251-6000
12.Orr Hot Springs Resort
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Situated on a country road deep in the Mendocino Coastal Range between the towns of Mendocino and Ukiah, Orr Hot Springs Resort is a small, tranquil, resort with 27 acres of beautiful landscapes and several hot springs at the headwaters of Big River. The mineral waters are renowned for their healing properties as well as for bringing relief to those suffering from arthritis, rheumatism, and blood, kidney, and liver disorders. The central bathing area at the Orr Hot Springs Resort consists of two communal pools, one of which has a consistent temperature of 107-108°F and the second is slightly cooler at 104-105°F. Other facilities at the resort include star-gazing tubs, a cold pool, and the Trilby Spring.
13201 Orr Springs Rd, Ukiah, CA 95482, Phone: 707-462-6277
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13.Roman Spa Hot Springs Resort
© Roman Spa Hot Springs Resort
Roman Spa Hot Springs Resort is an all-season resort in the charming historic town of Calistoga in the Napa Valley. Nestled at the foot of Mount Saint Helena, the resort features deluxe accommodations and upscale facilities, including an exclusive spa with geothermal mineral baths filled with water from the region’s natural hot springs. The spa features a large outdoor pool with a temperature of between 92° and 96°F, indoor and outdoor Hydrojet Therapy pools at 100°F, a small outdoor spa at 104°F, and two Finnish saunas. The pools are surrounded by flower-filled patios, bubbling fountains, shady arbors, and sunny areas with loungers and umbrellas for relaxing.
1300 Washington St, Calistoga, CA 94515, Phone: 707-942-4441
14.Sespe Hot Springs
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Located deep in the Sespe Wilderness, Sespe Hot Springs are formed from sulfurous steaming water pouring out from the walls of Hot Springs Canyon, which is surrounded by rocky outcroppings and cacti. Sespe Hot Springs can be accessed from three different hiking trails, all of which are relatively complicated and strenuous multi-day trips. The best time to visit the area is in the early spring, late fall, or winter, as this area can be brutally hot in the summertime. Situated on Sespe Creek, Sespe Hot Springs feature some fantastic swimming holes but require a lot of effort to get there.
Sespe Wilderness, Maricopa, CA 93252
15.Natural Hot Springs: Sierra Hot Springs
© Sierra Hot Springs
Located on the edge of an enchanting forest and a breathtaking alpine valley, Sierra Hot Springs is a non-profit retreat that has several hot springs and mineral pools that have long been regarded as having exceptional healing and therapeutic powers. The famous hot springs resort has two main springs, namely the Temple Dome Area, with a central heated pool of between 105°F and 110°F, a warm pool with a large sundeck and dry sauna, and two cold plunge pools. There is also an outdoor meditation pool (98-100°F) surrounded by rock tiles and seasonal private pools called the Phoenix Baths, which are set within a newly remodeled spa area. Sierra Hot Springs is surrounded by 700 acres of pristine forests and woodlands, which are ideal for hiking and mountain biking.
521 Campbell Hot Springs Road, Sierraville, CA 96126, Phone: 530-994-3773
16.Stewart Mineral Hot Springs Retreat
© Stewart Mineral Hot Springs Retreat
Nestled in the foothills of Mount Shasta on the banks of Parks Creek in northern California, Stewart Mineral Springs Hot Springs Resort is a private retreat with healing mineral baths and springs, a wood-burning sauna, massage therapies, and comfortable accommodations, including camping. Surrounded by fragrant pine trees, Stewart Mineral Springs Hot Springs Resort features a bathhouse with 13 private bathing rooms with hot mineral tubs for soaking and a large wood sauna for drying off. The bathhouse also has a rock-lined “creek-pool” for cold plunging and broad wooden decks surrounded the building with beautiful views of Parks Creek where guests can relax and sunbathe.
4617 Stewart Springs Road, Weed, CA 96094, Phone: 530-938-2222
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17.Surprise Valley Hot Springs
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Bordered by the majestic Warner Mountains and Nevada’s Hays Range in the remote high desert Surprise Valley in northeastern California, Surprise Valley Hot Springs is a tranquil retreat with geothermal mineral pools that offers a secluded and serene escape. The resort offers deluxe accommodations with private outdoor soaking tubs fed by the healing mineral waters as well as some rooms with indoor hot tubs. The surrounding area lends itself to outdoor recreation and pursuits such as hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and birdwatching as well as exploring the desert and wilderness on 4x4 vehicles and visiting historical sites.
67254 CA-299, Cedarville, CA 96104, Phone: 530-279-2040
18.Tecopa Hot Springs Resort
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Set on the edge of Death Valley Wilderness Park, Tecopa Hot Springs Resort is a comfortable resort with thermal springs and mineral baths that is surrounded by the arid landscapes of the desert. Situated about 50 miles north of Baker, Tecopa Hot Springs features two private soaking tubs in a skylight-lit bathhouse on the hill, along with showers for men and ladies. The soaking tubs are filled with natural mineral water from the earth and boast temperatures of 101°F and 104°F. The hotel has three additional soaking tubs for guests to use, with latches for privacy, along with a range of health and wellbeing services.
860 Tecopa Hot Springs Rd, Tecopa, CA 92389, Phone: 760-852-4420
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19.Travertine Hot Springs
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Located south of the town of Bridgeport on California state park land, Travertine Hot Springs is a famous collection of hot mineral pools that are easily accessible and boast breathtaking views of the Sierra Mountains. The naturally heated pools of water are formed by the scalding water emerging up from the depths of the earth and flowing down rock formations until they reach the pools below, cooling along the way to a comfortable 103°F. Travertine Hot Springs can be reached by following Jack Sawyer Road for approximately 1 mile; limited camping is allowed along the road, however not in the immediate area of the pools.
Bridgeport, Mono County, California
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20.Tuscan Springs Hotel & Spa
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Tuscan Springs Hotel and Spa is an adults-only resort and spa in Desert Hot Springs north of Palm Springs. The lavish Italian-inspired boutique hotel features deluxe accommodations and upscale facilities, including a large natural hot mineral water pool and two natural hot mineral water Jacuzzis. The pools are filled with natural mineral water that is pumped up from a 350-foot aqua well and naturally volcanically heated to 117°F, although the hotel’s pools are held at varying temperatures for swimming and soaking comfort. Other facilities at the hotel include an exclusive spa and wellness center, elegant restaurants and lounges, full-service bars and coffee shops, and a beautiful pool deck with sun loungers and umbrellas for sunbathing and relaxing.
4366, 68187 Club Cir Drive, Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240, Phone: 760-251-0189
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21.Two Bunch Palm Spa Resort
© Two Bunch Palm Spa Resort
Situated on over 70 acres of lush landscapes in Palm Springs, Two Bunch Palms Spa Resort is an adults-only resort that offers deluxe accommodations, an award-winning spa, mineral baths and pools with healing waters, and gourmet farm-to-table cuisine. The oldest mineral hot springs spa resort in the country, as well as the first carbon-neutral resort, Two Bunch Palms Resort & Spa is a legendary oasis that is world-renowned for its mineral rich lithium-infused hot waters. The resort features an exclusive spa and wellness center with a 3,000-square foot yoga dome where weekly enrichment and movement classes are offered, a delightful patio restaurant and bar, and modern meeting facility.
67425 Two Bunch Palms Trail, Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240, Phone: 760-676-5000
22.Buckeye Hot Springs
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Buckeye Hot Springs is a charming spot with two hot springs set along Buckeye Creek in Bridgeport in California’s Eastern Sierra Mountains. The first spring can be found at the top of the parking area and although quite muddy, boasts beautiful views of the creek and the Eastern Sierra Mountains. The second spring is located alongside the river and is separated from the stream by rocks, creating a pool. This pool is much warmer than the first, with 112°F water flowing from the source, which cools down as it enters the pool. Both springs can be accessed from hiking down a rocky hillside from a dirt parking area to the creek.
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22 Best Hot Springs in California
- Calistoga Spa Hot Springs, Photo: Courtesy of Amelia Fox - Fotolia.com
- The Esalen Institute, Photo: The Esalen Institute
- Crowley Hot Springs (Wild Willy’s), Photo: Courtesy of Eva Mencnerova - Fotolia.com
- Natural Hot Springs: Deep Creek Hot Springs, Photo: Courtesy of kellyvandellen - Fotolia.com
- Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Resort, Photo: Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Resort
- El Morocco Inn & Spa, Photo: El Morocco Inn & Spa
- Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa, Photo: Courtesy of Kristina - Fotolia.com
- Glen Ivy Hot Springs, Photo: Glen Ivy Hot Springs
- Hacienda Hot Springs Inn, Photo: Courtesy of sonja - Fotolia.com
- Hot Creek, Photo: Courtesy of H-AB - Fotolia.com
- Miracle Springs Resort & Spa, Photo: Miracle Springs Resort & Spa
- Orr Hot Springs Resort, Photo: Courtesy of nazarovsergey - Fotolia.com
- Roman Spa Hot Springs Resort, Photo: Roman Spa Hot Springs Resort
- Sespe Hot Springs, Photo: Courtesy of Yuriy Kulik - Fotolia.com
- Natural Hot Springs: Sierra Hot Springs, Photo: Sierra Hot Springs
- Stewart Mineral Hot Springs Retreat, Photo: Stewart Mineral Hot Springs Retreat
- Surprise Valley Hot Springs, Photo: Courtesy of karenfoleyphoto - Fotolia.com
- Tecopa Hot Springs Resort, Photo: Courtesy of satit - Fotolia.com
- Travertine Hot Springs, Photo: Courtesy of pettys - Fotolia.com
- Tuscan Springs Hotel & Spa, Photo: Courtesy of venusvi - Fotolia.com
- Two Bunch Palm Spa Resort, Photo: Two Bunch Palm Spa Resort
- Buckeye Hot Springs, Photo: Courtesy of vichie81 - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of pettys - Fotolia.com