Soak It In: 5 Cool Hot Springs
Jan 29, 2020 11:34AM
Whether you prefer communing with nature in your birthday suit or escaping on weekend retreats, hot springs aficionados are in luck: Northern California is covered in them. While some have luxury resorts surrounding their waters, others are deeper into forests without any amenities (or even signage, for that matter). Here’s a roundup of our favorites within three hours of Sacramento.
Wilbur Hot Springs
Wilbur Hot Springs falls somewhere between “hidden in the woods” and “lux resort.” The self-described sanctuary in Williams often hosts yoga retreats and wellness workshops around the mineral-rich springs, which range from 98 degrees up to 109. There are covered and exposed springs, and guests can come for the day or book an on-site campground or cabin.
• Room rate: Camping starts at $75; rooms start at $100
• Hot springs day rate: $59
• Distance from Sac: 1.5 hours
3375 Wilbur Springs Road, Williams; 530-473-2306; wilburhotsprings.com
Hunt Hot Springs
Hunt is the furthest away hot springs on this list, but its location makes it an excellent add-on to a Mount Shasta or Lassen National Park trip. It’s also the most natural spring, with no amenities and very little human interference. After about a 10-minute hike, you’ll reach the small pools, a few of which have been built up with rocks. You’ll need to pack in and pack out everything you need for your visit, and be sure to download driving directions, as the dirt roads to the springs can be hard to find.
• Room rate: N/A
• Hot springs day rate: Free
• Distance from Sac: 3.5 hours
Near mount Shasta and Lassen National park. Search online for directions.
Vichy Springs Resort
Sure, hot springs are great, but have you ever sat in a carbonated hot spring? Probably not, unless you’ve been to Vichy Springs Resort in Ukiah. The resort’s been around the springs for more than 165 years and more than a dozen pools are available for your soaking pleasure. In the summer, it’s worth taking a short hike across the compound’s 700 acres to the natural swimming hole at Chemisal Falls.
• Room rate: Starts at $195
• Hot springs day rate: Starts at $35
• Distance from Sac: 2.5 hours
2605 Vichy Springs Road, Ukiah; 707-462-9515, vichysprings.com
Boyes Hot Springs at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa
Boyes Hot Springs have been drawing visitors to Sonoma for well over 100 years, but the modern facilities inside the Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa elevate the soaking experience to a whole new level of luxury. A day pass includes access to the posh facilities around the mineral-rich pools, including saunas and steam rooms. It’s recommended that you relax in the coldest pools first to receive the full benefits of soaking.
• Room rate: Starts at $199
• Hot springs day rate: $89
• Distance from Sac: 1.5 hours
100 Boyes Boulevard, Sonoma; 707-938-9000, fairmont.com/sonoma
Sierra Hot Springs
Located just north of Lake Tahoe in Sierraville, Sierra Hot Springs has the vibe of a commune turned into a resort. Camping and a few B&B-style rooms are available on-site and guests can choose to soak in a covered indoor pool, an outdoor swimming pool, an outdoor meditation pool, or one of a few private covered pools hidden in the woods. Many bathers here go au naturale.
• Room rate: Camping starts at $35; rooms start at $77
• Hot springs day rate: Starts at $20
• Distance from Sac: 2 hours
521 Campbell Hot Springs Road, Sierraville; 530-994-3773, sierrahotsprings.org
By Suzie Dundas