Hike to Deep Creek Hot Springs
Los Angeles › Bowen Ranch
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.
- Bathing suit (optional)
- Drinking water
- Snacks or a picnic (you must hike everything out, there are no trash cans at the springs. NO GLASS!)
- Hiking boots or comfy tennis shoes
- Warm clothes (it gets cold quickly in the desert evenings)
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Camping, Chillin, Hiking, Swimming
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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.
It is important to get their early unless you want to run up the mountain to get to your car the first time I did this hike I was tipping 380lbs and straight up almost died as its all down hill there but up steep hills back we ended up getting lost and got life flighted out the first time so I am now at 320 and did the hike a few weeks ago still a challenge but not bad it is gorgeous down there lots of hippies and well worth the drive and hike ❤️
The water has high concentrations of Human waste. Lots of trash and broken glass in the water. Due to its two mile access point many people come her on a holiday weekend. It's illegal to camp down at the springs but many people do.
A Few Things To Know Before You Go!
I went with my girlfriend on our way from Death Valley to Joshua tree. We were super excited to relax for a day in between hiking and climbing. Unfortunately we drove all the way into the hike not knowing that it cost money to head on in. Also show up in the morning or early afternoon because the host does not want anyone in after dark. He didn't seem too happy about us showing up late afternoon... I would have loved to have enjoyed such a beautiful looking spot!
A beautiful hike and dip worth the drive!
My girlfriend and I made the drive from Joshua Tree, which I believe was somewhere slightly less than a two hour drive. This is a WONDERFUL day trip if you're either in LA or J-tree (or even Vegas for that matter). If you're hiking the PCT, you would be stupid to not take some time to relax here! Most of the folks we ran into were thru-hikers, which are always entertaining to talk to! Be aware, just as another member reviewed, the drive to the ranch from the paved road is about a three mile drive which took us approximately 20 minutes to drive - it is a ROUGH entirely sand road. A big heads up which didn't seem to make the article, if you go the Bowen Ranch route, the hike is backwards. You'll have an "easy" hike entirely downhill to the hot springs. After you're done relaxing, you have to hike all the way back up the 900-some feet elevation. It can be a bear - especially if done in the summer! Be sure to bring snacks (you'll want them before your trek back) and a decent pair of shoes! The ranch operator will try to scare you with how difficult the hike is and how they have to search and rescue people all the time, but it's not bad if you don't mind a little exercise! I guess they just get tourists that try to hike it in flip flops. If you've done this hike, you know it's not possible in flip flops. hahaha
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