Featured California Hot Springs

Big Bend Hot Springs

This is a photograph of Big Bend Hot Springs. It is a dual level structure. Top view.
Big Bend Pic
Big Bend Hot Springs, Bottom view, In the background is the Pit River.
Big Bend Pic

UPDATE An email from and enthusiast received on October 31, 2006 has this to say:

I was just checking out your site and wanted to let you know that Big Bend is currently closed for renovations. You can mail them a postcard with your address to be put on their update list. Their address is P.O. Box 116, Big Bend, CA, 96011.

The primary soaking pools at Big Bend are located on the side of a cliff. It is a dual level structure. A cold, spring fed pool, is located to the left of the structure. Water temperature in these pools is regulated by mixing the cold spring water with the hot. Just below, as you can see at the back, is the Pit River. Swimming downstream, one encounters many extremely hot springs (I was told that the water emerges at 212 degrees Fahrenheit) flowing out of the cliffs and mingling with the cold river water. This can make for some creative soaking spots along the river.

Big Bend Springs are located in the town of Big Bend, about 50 miles Northeast of Redding. Once you get into Big Bend, take Hot Springs Road over the Pit River and that will take you to the springs. They have campsites and cabins available. The springs are clothing optional, with a mix of bathers, some clothed and some not.

I received an email with the following updates:

The only points that are worth correcting are; 1) the geothermal water emerges at 170 degrees, they are
cooled both by cold stream water and airation fountians and 2) the phone number is 530 337 6606.

An additional update would be that, The Day Use fee for enjoying the springs is $10 per person. There
are some nice camp sites that will range from $5 to $10 per site per day. They do not cater to people
needing a beautiful wilderness to express themself with foolish drunkenness. All beverages, food, smoking and alcohol are prohibitied at the baths. Clothing optional.

If you have visited these springs recently and can provide further information, please e-mail. In the meantime, for the experienced and adventurous seeker, there are other soaking opportunities in Big Bend due to the many hot springs located all along the river.

Big and Little Caliente

Big Caliente is really not that big, just a little concrete pool in the woods, really. This little pool is very popular, while I was there I think the whole school football team unloaded for a late night soak. Big Caliente is not far from the city of Santa Barbara, which I'm sure has a lot to do with it's popularity. It is an old favorite of many. There is another soaking pool within walking distance, Little Caliente, which I have never tried.

Big Caliente is located in Los Padres National Forest. It is a very bumpy drive up the mountain, much of it is unpaved. In Santa Barbara, take route 144 (Milpas St.) to Route 192 (Stanwood Drive) to El Cielito Rd. Turn right on Gibraltar Rd. and take it until you reach El Camino Cielo. This is where it begins to get rough. When you reach Juncal Campground, turn left. The road will fork, the right side goes to Big Caliente, the left (I'm told) goes to Little Caliente.

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