• Caitlin McAninch

Escape to the Hot Springs

Updated: Feb 16, 2019

Tucked high a top a hill, in a spot unseen by drivers on U.S. 395 is a natural hot springs. There are a number of pools that reach upwards of 100 degrees, filled with people of all types. I comment on the types of people because of course there are young people like myself who know about, and love, the hot springs. But also, there are a number of hippies that remind me of burners, binding their time until September. And then, there are those that truly appreciate the natural hot springs: the nudists.

Every year we try to spend one evening at the Bridgeport Hot Springs. This year, it happened to be on an evening that I had spent drinking a little too much. I’ve been on a health kick as of late, so I’ve been trying to focus on only drinking vodka, no beer. Unfortunately, if I don’t watch myself it hits me a little too hard. That was the case on this evening. Due to this, I slipped in the warm, silky mud many times, covering my legs and swimsuit in the sulfur-y clay that surrounds each pool.

Either way, I still had a wonderful experience, and so did everyone that joined us.

Immediately as we arrived, we started hiking down to the moderate temperature pools. At that time, they were very full, so we continued down the hill. There is one pool, which is so deep we have never been able to reach the bottom. Here’s Dylan trying to touch the bottom with a long stick:

As we marched down the hill, Dylan’s cousin Korina and her boyfriend distracted me and I began taking thousands of photos of them. While I was snapping away with my camera, Dylan, his sister, cousin and aunt continued to the lowest pool on the hill. Unfortunately for them, they came face to face with an older naked gentleman. Full bush. Dylan’s 15-year-old sister, Kendra, thoroughly enjoyed that… But just wait, read on and it gets better.

As we made our way back up the hill, the main pools had cleared out a bit, so we were able to get in. They are cooler than I’d like, but it is still fun to step in, and play with the soft mud.

After wading in those, we were ready to call it an evening. We stopped at the top pool just to dip our toes in. The water in the top most hot springs sticks to around 107 degrees. The water comes from a spot in the ground that is boiling, see below? Boiling! All of us could barely keep our feet in, but Kendra was brave enough to go shoulder deep.

While we had been sitting there, a different older man had been lounging in a chair right next to the pool. He was telling us how he had been quite disappointed because recently the cops had gotten him in trouble for being nude at the hot springs (so turns out, that’s not allowed). And now he had to visit his favorite spot in his swim trunks. All while he was speaking, Kendra sat in the hot water, but after about 5 minutes she couldn’t take it anymore. When she got out, the older man immediately offered her his chair. So she took it. Then, he reached into his cooler, and grabbed out an ice cube, and began rubbing it all over her legs and feet. Mind you, this was a creepy, burner-type, 50 to 60 year old man – heavily rubbing a 15-year-old girl with an ice cube. At that moment, Dylan’s aunt said it was time to go. So we left.

Looking back, it has to be the most awkward encounter I’ve ever witnessed. But it is truly, so hilarious.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing evening in nature, or just out to people watch, the Bridgeport Hot Springs are definitely a place to visit when you’re down in Bridgeport, CA. By the way, here it is below. If you turn at the animal shelter on 395, and head straight up that dirt road, the hot springs is at the very top.

What natural hot springs have you visited? Any recommendations? Share your experiences in the comments below:

Bridgeport Hot Springs

Distance: 112 miles

Driving Time: 2 hours & 19 minutes

#California #Activities