California Hot Springs

Discover the best hot springs in California!

California is arguably one of the most popular states in the USA when it comes to tourism and attractions. Disney land and the multitude of beaches often take center stage, but the sunshine state has a lot more to offer than just that.

Hidden among the stunning mountainous scenery and meandering coastline are little gems in the form of many natural hot springs that span the length of the state. Whether you want to hike to find a natural oasis or have the full luxury experience in a resort, California hot springs have you covered!

Hot springs are so common in California that there are whole towns built around them, like Calistoga. However, the area most famous for its hot springs is the aptly named Desert Hot Springs, which is also known as California’s spa city. Wherever you are in California, it’s likely that you are within a few hours of a hot spring.

In this guide, we are going to highlight three of our favorite California hot springs and provide you with a comprehensive list of all the hot springs in the state.

3 of the Best Hot Springs in California

California is a hot spot for hot springs! This state has so many to offer that are all unique in their own right.

Before we dive in, it’s important to note that, regardless of which kind of hot spring you are visiting, it’s important to bring enough water with you. Soaking in the hot water can quickly lead to overheating and dehydration, so drinking water consistently is key. This is especially true in California hot springs where the climate is already very warm.

Here we have compiled three of the best California hot springs in the state just to get you started.

Sierra Hot Springs Resort

The Sierra Hot Springs resort is one that always captures a lot of attention due to the unique geodesic dome that overlooks the stunning forest location.

Located in Sierraville on the edge of the Tahoe National Forest, the Sierra Hot Springs have been highly sought after for over a hundred years for their calming, healing qualities.

The resort features a number of pools of different sizes and locations whose temperature range between 98 F and 110 F. The first can be found inside the geodesic dome, where the stained glass windows cast patterns across the soaking pool and wooden interior. Outside the dome is a large, spring-fed swimming pool-sized warm pool that overlooks the gorgeous forest location. Apart from these pools, there are private tubs available, as well as the Phoenix Baths, which are located inside the spa.

Apart from the hot springs, the Sierra Hot Springs Resort also offers a cafe, hiking trails, biking paths, and cross-country skiing. Visitors can purchase a day pass, stay on-site in the 1870’s main lodge or make use of the available camping facilities.

Wilbur Hot Springs

If you are looking for pure relaxation, look no further than Wilbur Hot Springs.

Two and a half hours north of San Francisco on an 1800-acre nature reserve, Wilbur Hot Springs is an oasis of peace and a place to escape the hustle and bustle of your everyday lives. There is no internet or cellphone signal at the resort, so you have no choice but to disconnect and relax. The main focus of this spa experience is to focus on introspection and having a truly spiritual experience.

This relaxation can take place in one of two soaking pools. The first, the Silent Contemplation Flumes, is a no-talking area where visitors can soak and have a moment of introspection. The second pool is larger with water than is treated, and talking is allowed. Clothing is optional in both hot springs.

Once you’ve spent the day in all the hot springs, you can retreat inside to receive a massage treatment, attend a yoga class, or try out the dry sauna.

When it comes to accommodation, there are bunk rooms, a lodge, and cabins available, along with a campsite that is open between April and October. There is no restaurant on the property, but there is a well-equipped communal kitchen that guests are encouraged to use.

Sespe Hot Springs

If you’re looking for a more natural experience, then the Sespe Hot Springs are the ones for you!

California’s hottest hot spring, the Sespe Hot Springs, can be found in the beautiful Los Padres Forest Wilderness. They are made up of a series of pools that vary in shape and temperature. The source is 190 F, so the higher pools will be hotter than the ones further down.

The route to get to these springs is almost as beautiful as the pools themselves. The Sespe River Trail is lauded as being the best hike in Southern California, and the hot springs at the end make the hike well worth the effort.

The Sespe River Trail starts at the Piedra Blanca Trailhead and begins along Sespe Creek before opening up into a more desert landscape in the hot spring canyon. The hike is 16.8 miles each way, so we recommend camping at the hot springs so you can get the most out of the trip.

Since these are desert hot springs, it may be too hot to make this trip in summer, and some of the pools may even dry up. For this reason, we recommend visiting in winter so you can have a cold, brisk hike and be rewarded with a soak in the hot mineral water at the end.

Full List of California Hot Springs

Picking just three hot springs to highlight above was a serious challenge because of the sheer number of hot springs across California. There are a large variety of both developed and undeveloped hot springs, so you can pick the perfect one for your California hot spring experience.

Here is a comprehensive list of the hot springs in California that are publicly accessible.

Hot SpringLocation in CaliforniaDeveloped or Primitive
Avila Hot SpringsSan Luis ObispoDeveloped
Big Bend Hot SpringsMadesi ValleyPrimitive
Big Caliente Hot SpringsLos Padres National ForestPrimitive
Bumpass Hell CreekLassen National ParkPrimitive (too hot for soaking)
Calistoga Motor Lodge and SpaCalistogaDeveloped
Sierra Hot SpringsSierravilleDeveloped
Casa Diablo Hot SpringsMono CountyPrimitive
Coso Hot SpringsInyo CountyPrimitive
Crabtree Hot SpringsLake CountyPrimitive
Deep Creek Hot SpringsSan Bernardino CountyPrimitive
Delonegha Hot SpringsSequoia National ForestDeveloped
Franklin Hot SpringsPaso RoblesDeveloped
Gilroy Yamato Hot SpringsGilroyDeveloped
Grover Hot Springs State ParkSierra Nevada Mountain RangePrimitive
Harbin Hot SpringsMiddletownDeveloped
Hot CreekMono CountyPrimitive
Jordan Hot SpringSequoia National ForestPrimitive
Keough Hot SpringsOwens ValleyDeveloped
Matilija Hot SpringsOjaiPreviously developed, currently primitive
Mercey Hot SpringsFresno CountyDeveloped
Miracle Hot SpringsKern River ValleyClosed due to uranium levels
Mono Hot SpringsFresno CountyPrimitive
Murrieta Hot SpringsMurrietaDeveloped
Palm Springs Hot SpringsPalm SpringsDeveloped
Remington Hot SpringsBodfish, Kern RiverPrimitive
Saline Valley Hot SpringsDeath Valley National ParkDeveloped
Scovern Hot SpringsKern CountyPrimitive
Sespe Hot SpringsSespe Condor SanctuaryPrimitive
Slates Hot SpringBig Sur, Monterrey CountyDeveloped
Tassajara Hot SpringsVentana WildernessDeveloped
Travertine Hot SpringsBridgeportPrimitive
Wilbur Hot SpringsColusa CountyDeveloped
Willet Hot SpringsSespe WildernessPrimitive
Agua Caliente Country ParkJulianDeveloped
Aqua Soleil Hotel and Mineral Water SpaCoachella ValleyDeveloped
Azure Palm Hot Springs ResortCoachella ValleyDeveloped
Bashfords Hot Mineral SpaNilandDeveloped
Buckeye Hot SpringsBridgeportPrimitive
Caliente Springs ResortPalm SpringsDeveloped
California Hot Springs ResortSequoia National ForestDeveloped
Carlin’s Cottage CourtCalistogaDeveloped
Carlsbad Mineral Water SpaCarlsbadDeveloped
Delight’s Hot Spring ResortTecopaDeveloped
Desert Hot Springs InnDesert Hot SpringsDeveloped
Dirty Socks Hot SpringOlanchaPrimitive
Dr Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort and Mineral SpringsCalistogaDeveloped
Drakesbad Guest RanchChesterDeveloped
Eagleville Hot SpringsSurprise ValleyPrimitive
Ectopia Hot SpringsOjaiPrimitive
El Morocco Inn and Spa ResortDesert Hot SpringsDeveloped
Elm Hot Springs ResortAguangaDeveloped
Elsinore Hot Springs and LodgeElsinoreDeveloped
Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and SpaSonomaDeveloped
Fale’s Hot SpringsColevillePrimitive
Feather River Hot SpringsTwainPrimitive
Five Palms Hot SpringsBorrego SpringsPrimitive
Gaviota (Las Cruces)GoletaPrimitive
Glamis North Hot Springs ResortNilandDeveloped
Glen Ivy Hot SpringsCoronaDeveloped
Golden Haven Hot Springs Spa and ResortCalistogaDeveloped
Hilltop Hot SpringsMammoth LakesPrimitive
Holtville Hot SpringsHoltvillePrimitive
Hope Springs ResortDesert Hot SpringsDeveloped
Hunt Hot SpringsBig BendPrimitive
Indian SpringsCalistogaDeveloped
Isabella Hot SpringsLake IsabellaPrimitive
Kosk Hot SpringsBig BendPrimitive
Lido Palms Resort and SpaDesert Hot SpringsDeveloped
Meadowlark Country House and ResortCalistogaDeveloped
Miracle Manor Boutique Hotel and SpaDesert Hot SpringsDeveloped
Monarch Hot SpringsCoachella ValleyPrimitive
Montecito Hot SpringsSanta BarbaraPrimitive
Morton’s Warm Springs ResortGlen EllenDeveloped
Mount View Hotel and SpaCalistogaDeveloped
Nurturing Nest Retreat and SpaDesert Hot SpringsDeveloped
Orr Hot SpringsUkiahDeveloped
River Oaks Hot Springs SpaPaso RoblesDeveloped
Rock Tub Hot SpringsMammoth LakesPrimitive
Roman Spa Hot Spring ResortCalistogaDeveloped
Sagewater Hotel and SpaDesert Hot SpringsDeveloped
Sam’s Family Spa and Hot Water ResortDesert Hot SpringsDeveloped
Sandpiper Springs Spa and ResortDesert Hot SpringsDeveloped
Sea Mountain Inn Lifestyles Resort SpaDesert Hot SpringsDeveloped
Shepherd Hot SpringsMammoth LakePrimitive
Shoshone Hot Springs PoolDeath ValleyDeveloped
Sky Valley ResortDesert Hot SpringsDeveloped
Solage Resort and SpaCalistogaDeveloped
Sonoma Fit Pool ClubSonomaDeveloped
Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort and SpaSan Luis ObispoDeveloped
Tecopa Hot SpringsTecopaDeveloped
The Good HouseDesert Hot SpringsDeveloped
The Inn at Benton Hot SpringsBentonDeveloped
The O Spa ResortDesert Hot SpringsDeveloped
The Oasis at Death ValleyDeath ValleyDeveloped
The Spring Resort and SpaDesert Hot SpringsDeveloped
Turtle Back Mesa Bed and BreakfastIndioDeveloped
Tuscan Springs Hotel and SpaDesert Hot SpringsDeveloped
Two Bunch PalmsDesert Hot SpringsDeveloped
UpValley Inn and Hot SpringsCalistogaDeveloped
Vichy Springs ResortUkiahDeveloped
Warner Springs Ranch ResortWarner SpringsDeveloped
Wild Willy’s Hot SpringsMammoth LakesPrimitive
Wonder Valley Hot SpringsTwenty Nine PalmsPrimitive
Beverly Hot SpringsBeverly HillsDeveloped

Type of Hot Springs in California

From the list above, you can see there are two primary types of hot springs available in California. Let’s take a closer look at each and what you can expect from them.

Primitive Hot Springs

Although many of California’s hot springs have been developed into resorts, there are still many options for a more natural experience if that’s what you’re looking for.

Primitive springs pop up naturally to create their own pools, but in some cases, the water may be bumped into a manmade soaking tub. Most of the time, these hot springs are accessed by hiking through nature, which makes the journey just as exciting as the destination.

Two significant upsides to primitive springs are that they are free and are often far less busy than those in a resort. Conversely, the pools are not maintained or cleaned, so they may become dirty if too many people use them consecutively.

Although the primitive hot springs may not have the style of accommodation that resorts have to offer, there are other options. Most of California’s undeveloped hot springs will have a camping area nearby where you can stay overnight and enjoy the springs over multiple days. This is especially welcome if it takes a long hike to get there.

Developed or Resort Hot Springs

Although they are developed and pumped into their own pools, the source of all the pools in resorts are natural hot springs.

Due to its location and the draw of people that hot springs attract, many of the hot springs in California are part of a resort. The pools will be available to use for those who stay at the resort and those with day passes.

These hot spring resorts provide a truly luxurious experience with other amenities around the pools, like spa facilities and restaurants, so that you can get truly pampered inside and out. Most resorts will have a range of accommodation options, so you can stay at the resort and visit the hot springs multiple days in a row.

These hot springs are more easily accessible and get regularly maintained and cleaned. However, they are also significantly busier than their primitive counterparts.

With this guide in your pocket, you should be able to explore California and all the incredible hot springs they have to offer. So, the next time you are in California, why not stray off the regular attraction path and go find relaxation in a stunning hot spring?