This one seems like word of mouth but it is near Yosemite National Park, if not in it? I think all hot springs originated as word of mouth, and that’s part of what makes them so cool. You just hike up and there’s people in their bathing suits all of a sudden. You don’t necessarily have to be staying or camping in the park. We weren’t staying in the park, but rather on the Eastern side of Yosemite.
This one’s a natural spring, it’s free. There were maybe ten people when we went in the fall (October). It’s pretty accessible if you’re in the park. The trail was marked and easy to find. The hike wasn’t more than half an hour and I was with my mom and aunt, so it wasn’t that strenuous. We did several hikes during the day and planned to do this at night for the sunset. The view was amazing. If you’re ambitious, a sunrise would also be epic. No changing rooms or bathroom facilities—wear your bathing suit and bring a towel. Leave no trace here!
—Spa Thought Partner Stacy
OK, so we came across this from the other direction because we are lazy people who don’t want to hike to get to a hot spring! Haha. So going down Highway 395 through the Eastern Sierras, there’s a pretty clearly marked exist. You pass by this odd construction site, which is odd only because I wonder if the workers there know about the springs and regularly visit after their shifts as a challenge to normative masculinity. You drive up this dirt road for about 1 mile, and it takes you to a parking area beneath the springs. I think there were actually changing rooms as well. There are multiple little pools but the best pool is obviously the one pictured and weirdly the other people on the site did not find the best pool and were just hanging around in the little pools. I read online that it was clothing optional and I hope dearly to revisit this when no one is around. The best thing about the springs is definitely the view and the smell of the California mountain grasses. Nature is healing. Nature is amazing.