The hike to Deep Creek Hot Springs is a MUST for those who are itching for adventure. However, it is absolutely not for the faint of heart. Deep Creek Hot Springs is located about 2 hours away from Los Angeles. It is roughly a 5-mile hike in- and-out, however, the trek in is deceitfully simple if you go the conventional way. You find yourself mesmerized by beautiful desert scenery and mountains as you walk down trails along the edge of this dusty location. The beautiful valley that you stand high above distracts you as you continue down for about 2.5 miles. The gradual decline in the path (and then very steep decline at the end of the trail to the hot springs) makes this trip seem effortless and quick.
Please note, however, too, that if you are afraid of heights, this may not be the trail for you. There is a path near the end that is right on the side of a steep mountain, and it gets incredibly narrow.
Then, as you approach the hot springs at the bottom of the mountain, a paradise appears in a clearing of trees. You see a beautiful body of water that isn’t quite big enough to be a lake, but it’s much larger than most creeks that I’ve seen. As you step into the clear water, you see little fish and tad poles move around your legs to avoid your step. This water is, surprisingly, very warm (in the right season, of course). Welcome to the natural hot springs!
As you pass through the shallow water, you can go to the opposite side of the hot springs to the rocks. These rocks serve as pools that hold more of the hot springs. There are many different caverns that serve as little “hot tubs,” holding all different temperatures of water. The hottest pool is supposed to be 110 degrees. There are some that are much cooler, however, and the creek around the pools is the perfect swimming temperature. It feels like a luke-warm bath.
For those who enjoy action, you can jump off rocks into the waters of the creek. We swam, laid out in the natural springs, and soaked in the amazing scenery that this hidden spot had to offer.
This is all fun and perfect if you come in the late spring or early fall. However, if you come in the early spring, be aware that many of the mountains have snow melting into the river the hot springs are in. So, while the hot springs, themselves are still warm, when you go to cross the river, it may be icy cold. I went in the summer and the warm water was like a nice bath. In the early spring, my skin turned red and felt as if it was on fire due to the icy water.
I bet you forgot about having to go back 2.5 miles after your amazing soak, huh? Most people do. The people who tackle this trail regularly know that you need to save almost ALL of your water for your trek back in the desert heat after enjoying your time in the warm water. I’m telling you now… if you go, please save A LOT of water for your way back. Unlike your gentle trip down, the entire way back from the hot springs is up hill. It’s 2.5 miles up. Most of the trail is on a slight incline; however the beginning and end of the trail are very dramatic climbs. If you are out of shape, you will not be able to easily make this trail back. So please be advised: have a lot of water and pace yourself or you will have a hard trip back. (The owners of the land were telling me that they are in danger of being shut down due to people needing to be rescued regularly.)
Perhaps soon, I will tell you all how our friend almost died going on this trip with us. (Updated, I did! Click the link here!) We had a real adventure on this trail! But it’s clearly thanks to the time of year we went hiking there.
But, if you’re used to hiking on rough terrain, I highly recommend this beautiful place. It may be a bit difficult, but it is absolutely worth it.