Apple Valley, California

Hike to Deep Creek Hot Springs

2 Miles Total - 900 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

Originally added by Scotti Shafer

From soaking in the rejuvenating lithium hot springs, to trying your luck at slackline or taking a dip in the icy river, what’s not to enjoy about this high desert oasis?!

Deep Creek Hot Springs is nestled along the Mojave River at an elevation of 3,000 feet in the San Bernardino Mountains. This year-round mineral water retreat consists of three pools the size of large hot tubs, that range in temperature from around 96 degrees in the first pool to 102 in the third. All three pools are right along the river so there’s ample opportunity to mix it up with an icy dip in the river or you can try your luck on the slackline.

There are two ways to get to the hot springs, the long way and the short way. The long way is a six mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail starting at Arrowhead Lake Road and going east (free). The short way is a two mile hike along the Freedom Trail starting at Bowen Ranch ($5 per person for day passes and $10 per person if you want to camp overnight at Bowen Ranch). The short route is a steep descent (drops over 900 feet in altitude) from the Ranch to the hot springs, so make sure you’re ready for the steep climb back out. If you start from Bowen Ranch, they provide a map of the trail and there is plenty of parking. Once you get to the bottom of the trail, you have to cross the river to get to the hot springs. Depending on the height of the water, you may have to forge the icy stream to reach the steamy stuff, but it’s an easy crossing and you can usually make it across by boulder hopping. Be aware - clothing is optional at the springs so don’t be surprised to find some folks in their birthday suits.

If you want to avoid the crowd, I recommend making this mission on a weekday. Last time I went was a Monday and we saw about 10 people total on the hike and at the springs.

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Tags

Chillin
Camping
Swimming
Hiking
Dog Friendly
Hot Springs
Picnic Area
River
Swimming Hole

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Deep Creek Hot Springs 2020

New parking and camping area just opened up real close to the hot springs. The hike is 1 3/4 mile each direction from the Apple Valley trailhead located at Deep Creek Hot Springs campground. Do NOT pay the crazy guy to park at Bowen Ranch unless you want to be harassed for coming back to your car after 5pm and like hiking an extra mile to get to the hot springs. Park at deep creek hot springs campground for closer access and camp facilities. DCHS campground is located a 1/2 mile past the old Bowen ranch entrance and has the closest access to the hot springs because the trailhead starts on their land. And they don’t care if you come back late, so its well worth the $10 to park with piece of mind! See www.deepcreekhotspringscampground.com

Hot Springs!

Definitely worth the treacherous descend at the end of the trail. The hike overall was moderate and had seen views. The creek and the hot springs are a hidden gem. I loved the natural spa and the hot and cold water dips. Excellent for spending a day. We saw a few people camp as well. It's a nudist friendly place.

Adventures In Hotsprings!

Great hike to a hidden wealth of hot springs pools. The trail there is definitely much easier to traverse than the return trip to your vehicles, due primarily to the steady return climb. I highly recommend taking waterproof/suitable shoes for crossing the creek, as it is quite full of jagged rocks at the bed of the creek. Enjoy the calming heat of the pools and make sure to start back before sundown. I will definitely be returning again soon.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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