Touring California and Nevada Hot Springs
by Matt C. Bischoff (Falcon Guides)
© Matt C. Bischoff/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
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.
We entered from the north, the Bowen Ranch approach.
The cost to park for the day is now $5, to camp overnight is $10. Mike, at the cabin where you pay, is very helpful. It is about a 2 mile hike downhill, which means uphill going back. On this day the river/creek was shoulder deep and about 50' across. Some walked across, bags over their head, some swam across. It wasn't all that difficult, except the water was ice cold from the snowmelt. The current was not strong, because I am an average swimmer and felt in control. There are 3 or 4 hot springs. One was under water due to the level of the river. You can approach using the Pacific Crest Trail, but it's a 6 mile hike one way. I may try that way next time.
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