Just when I thought I had seen it all in California, I come across a random instagram post about hot springs. That's right... hot springs. I had no idea this existed in the state. Naturally, I had to check it out for myself!
My Experience at Wild Willy's Hot Springs:
After reading quite a bit on which hot springs to visit, I settled on Wild Willy's Hot Springs in Mammoth Lakes, CA. Not too far from this location is the geothermal hot pools and the Owens River which are both really neat things to see as well, so you can make an afternoon of exploring this area!
(These photos were taken in January, hence the snow on the mountains.)
Wild Willy's really is in the middle of no where. Without the proper coordinates and directions, you would never simple stumble upon this place. It is just a bit off the beaten path, but well worth a visit. While the hot pools themselves are out in the middle of an undeveloped field, the parking lot and raised wooden pathway are really nice making this relatively easy to access and enjoy.
(The ground is sort of like a mix between mud and clay, so I recommend water shoes.)
Best Time to Visit the Hot Springs:
And, while the water was quite warm, I didn't find it particularly "hot," at least not in the winter. Still, considering the freezing temperatures outside, the idea that I was warm in a bikini was still a really cool experience. I later went back to take my little nieces here in June and the water was almost too hot to soak in! So, in my opinion, the spring is probably the best time to visit, or at least maybe later in the afternoon.
Then, you would be able to see not only the sunset over the fields, but also you would be able to sit in the middle of the California mountains in a natural hot tub while looking at the stars. Doesn't get much better than that!
Top Thermal Pool in California:
So, if you are looking to explore some of California's Hot Springs, this is my recommendation. There are dozens of other options, some of which I later visited, but still this one is my number one choice. I loved the landscape and the size and depth of the pools. And, honestly, nothing can beat the 360 degree views of the mountains!
What to Pack:
Bathing Suits, Towels, Water, Snacks, Sunglasses, Hats (the sun is just beating on you out there), Water Shoes, and a Warm Change of Clothes for the walk back to the car!