Serene and beautiful ... if you go at the right time

My wife and I have done this hike 3 times with our dog and we absolutely love it. Every time we've purposely gone right BEFORE a major holiday weekend (4th of July, Memorial Day, etc.) and have had the hot springs and adjacent river all to ourselves for at least a few hours. If you can manage it, we highly recommend going during a weekday. The peace and and forest sounds you get are perfect. The hike is nicely paced, flattening out or descending whenever the ascends seem to get a little old, and other than an exposed rocky first part, most of the trail has cooling shade cover and the smell of TREES! When you get to the river at the end, we recommend crossing to the other side to avoid campers coming through your site. There are a few fallen logs to cross and there is a particularly pristine sandy riverside spot just past the largest and longest fallen redwood if you have the fortune to get there first. Good luck and have fun!