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