Of all the wonderful things we did on this vacation, our hike into Deep Creek Hot Springs will probably remain the most memorable. The drive from Palm Springs presented some spectacular views! (Unfortunately the photos don’t do it justice).

mountains

We began our journey with the GPS pre-programmed to take us to the Kinley Creek Bridge. That may not have been the best idea because, while we wanted to get to the bridge, we  didn’t need to wind through so many residential roads when sticking to Grass Valley Road would have been a better route.

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Located along the Mojave River, (sometimes called Deep Creek) the hot springs welcome people of any size, age, and colour. Speaking of colour, I think we (especially me) got a bit too much sun exposure this day!

Unfortunately for us, our sun screen was not as full as we thought and by the end of the day, the sun had burned my back into a splotchy mess of red and white. (I’ll be the first to admit that trying to apply sunscreen to your own back is a rookie mistake).

Though some sources say it’s about 40 minutes to an hour to reach the end of the Bradford Ridge trail, we took our time checking out the wildlife and photographing flowers and I felt myself getting a little frustrated as we broke the two hour mark, but it just made the reward all the sweeter when we were finally able to soak in the hot springs.

prickly pear cactus flower - opuntia basilaris
Some cactus flowers we passed along the way
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Our arrival at the river bottom

We waded across the river (unnecessarily, it turns out) and soon found ourselves bounding from pool to pool testing our stamina against each of the various springs’ temperatures. The waters within the four(?) pools varied between 39c to 47c (102f to 117f). The river itself, unless swimming near a hot springs outlet, was quite brisk.

Our group soon expanded from the two of us to about 12 sitting and chatting in The Womb and the pools below it. Although many (most?) of the folks decided to go au-naturel, the people we met were lovely, happy folks, mostly from the area and we spent a long time getting to know one another. A bit of a motley crew, they included a very sun worn dude with two dogs (though he claims only one dog is his own), a cute set of twins from L.A. (celebrating their 25th birthday, it was their first time at the springs and also first time skinny dipping), a couple of local regulars, and another young couple who were also here for the first time.

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A little grey bird caught our attention as it fed its young in the nest attached to the walls near the shower below the Anniversary Pool. We didn’t even notice the nest until the parent showed up with some food and the little chicks chirped their tiny little beaks off. So cute to see nature happening right before our eyes.

The fellow with the dogs showed off his slack line skills crossing the river with ease and later he began filling sandbags (long ones that he brought himself) and placing them below the hot spring run-off. It’s anyone’s guess how long it will last but one of the twins suggested they call it the Goldilocks Pool because, the spring water mixed with the river water created a mixture not too hot, not too cold, but just right.

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We loved every second of the river and the springs (and the company) but the setting sun pressured us to get going.  After all, we felt that our hike back on the Bradford Ridge Trail would be considerably more frightening in the dark. We opted for a different, less steep route, and it made us worry we’d lost the trail but we soon found it again and made haste to get back to Palm Springs.

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