Deep Creek

OutAndBack • 12 mi • 0 ft

A cluster of natural hot springs in an isolated canyon in the high desert. Deep Creek has become a favorite spot for those who like to go without clothing. Requires a gradual 6-mile hike or a steeper 2-mile one. The Deep Creek Hot Springs are quite a find and will amaze you once you get there. Completely natural and undeveloped, the springs have become popular for obvious reasons. The water is generally clear and an almost perfect temperature (averaging 105 degrees F.), with several pools from which to choose. As with so many hot springs in this book, Deep Creek was once relatively unknown, but has become heavily visited. Visitors have done a good job of keeping this area pristine, however, free from trash and vandalism. As noted, many of the more recent (and more numerous) visitors to the spring prefer to go without clothing, in and out of the pools.
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Activity Type: Hot Springs
Nearby City: Hesperia
Length: 12 total miles
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Water Temp: Approximately 110 degrees F at the various sources, and varying in the pools.
Season: Best: Fall, winter, and spring. Summer can be too hot. Avoid the shorter trail during high water levels (in early spring mostly), as the trail requires you to ford the river, which could be dangerous in high water.
Local Maps: USGS, Lake Arrowhead, CA
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Not for the weak legged! We parked at the dam, hiked in from that point. Took us about 5hrs total. We did sit in one of the hot springs just for about 20-30 mins. I suggest if you are offended easily by nude people then this spot is not for you. I personally did not get naked, LOL. I sat on the edge of one of the hot springs to soak my legs and it felt great. It is quiet a hike!


Definitely not a trail for new hikers! We had a very hard time on this one coming back up, very steep incline. Also not a place to bring a family, this is a nudist spot FYI. We didn't mind, but there where other hikers who were very offended. I personally would not go back.


This is an interesting one. We took the Bowen Ranch path, which is pretty straight forward. The last five miles to bowen ranch are a little rough but we passed a prius on the way in. The hike in is actually really nice and goes quick, for the most part your going down hill. since your coming down off the ridge you have a beautiful view of the river. When we got there (mid summer) the water was still at your knees in the lowest part, and up past six feet in the others. the place is beautiful with the exception of the occasional nude guy (which you will run into) and drunk teen/homeless guy. The hike out is a challenge since it's all uphill.


Very easy trail with great views of snow camp mountains, and sculptural boulders strewn all over the rolling mountains. Incredible feeling crossing the near freezing river to get to the steaming hot springs.


Quite possibly one of the most beautiful spots on the planet. There is a pleasant contrast between the sere Joshua Tree desert as you're hiking in, to the surprisingly large creek deep in a willow and tree-filled canyon. If you are shy about soaking with unclothed people (often entire families), there are opportunities for clothed and/or private skinny-dipping in the cool pools for miles up or down stream from the main hotsprings. Also, there is a "secret" hot springs about 1 mile upstream from the main hotsprings, but you almost need a guide to find it.


Just a quick note: if coming from the CA-173 PCT entrance (at the "road closed" lot), rather than the dam entrance, the footbridge is gone (washed away during last weekend's rains?). Until it is repaired/replaced, during high water, you will either need to construct a log bridge (we did, but who knows how long it will last?), wade across 1' to 3' deep water, or backtrack ~1/4 mile and cross mud flat. Hot springs themselves are awesome, and "Crab Cooker"/"Lobster Pot," followed by a plunge into the creek, is a must-do.


This is one trip I repeatedly like to make. It is a dream day trip from LA. Wherever it is that we park (not the ranch) always has only one or two cars parked there. I could never describe how to find it, but somehow we always do. Always veer left when given a choice, I know. The hike in is beautiful and very steep, but shouldn't be a problem for any halfway experienced hiker. The pools are roomy and usually filled with interesting, respectful people. There is no camping down at the springs, although I've seen tents pitched on occasion. There are usually some dogs running around off leash too. I highly reccommend this trip, and reiterate what a previous poster said about getting out in time for last light, b/c that sun drops behind the mountain pretty fast Don't go if a) you don't like the sight of many types of naked bodies or b) you don't like cold, bone chilling water, as you will likely have to forge the stream before and after bathing.


Short downhill trail to a wooded, year round creek with some great pools to swim in, and a large open flat area for camping.


The six-miles trail was open when we went. The driving directions were a bit hard for us to follow. We ended up going down main street until it can to a dead-end. We made a left (by chance) on (Arrowhead Lake Rd. ) and found the trailhead that way. Using this route will result in an additional mile or so to your hike. We made it as far as the Orange bridge and had to turn around . . .couldn't make it to the hot springs because it took us two hours to get to this point and we were only 1/3 of the way. I would note to all hikers to leave very early in the morning . . .this is not a hike to start at 9 a.m. during the winter months as we did, or you may find yourself stranded in the dark. Also be sure to bring lots of water. This is an all-around terrific hike, even if you don't make it to the hot springs. We plan on going back soon and camping over night.


Be advised that the 6 mile trail is now closed because the Army Engineers took over the Dam, so don't even try to go that way. The two mile trail is a no kidding hike, and you have to hike up 950ft on the way out after you have been at the hot springs and your legs feel like jello. The springs are quite beautiful, and well worth the trek, and to be honest the hike itself is quite breath taking (in a good way). You should also know that getting to the Ranch where you park requires 30min of off pavement driving which can be kind of nasty if it has rained any time in the last couple of days (VW Golfs don't make good rally cars). Anyway, enjoy the springs.


We hiked in from the ranch. Nice and easy trial steady downhill with easy to follow trail markers. Roughly 2 miles should take 30min in and 1hr back out. The springs are the best you could ask for. Room for 5 - 10 comfortablly. Good temps; upper pool at about 108, middle at 101 w/ third pushing 80 (lot of fresh water mixed in 3rd pool). There is another pool called the "Crab Cooker" temps are 115 - 125! As with most hot spings off the beaten path - clothing optional is the custom with more nature than not. This place is really great, it would easily be a 5 star hike except for some of the local wild life. The ease of this trail draws a colorfull crew of happy go luckys and the occassional partiers. Crowds are known to get into the 20's.


Although steep cliff on one side at times the trail itself is moderate to easy. I have done this trail at night with a flashlight and it is quite easy to follow. The final step, crossing the creek can be difficult at different times of the year...if the water is high, but given the drought conditions of California these days it was very easy. The pools run from medium to "the Crab Cooker" which is made for one and is extremely hot. A very enjoyable hike and a spectacular spot to enjoy the heated pools. The trick is knowing how to get there on the roads!

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