Deep Creek Hot Springs
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An amazing hot spring in a spectacular river canyon with great swimming holes, fishing, and bouldering.
Relevant Guidebooks & Maps
San Bernardino National Forest Map, Lake Arrowhead topo.
Take I-10 east to I-15 north. Take the Main Street exit in Hesperia and continue through town (east) until Rock Springs Rd. (about 10 miles). Turn left. Deep Creek Rd. soon intersects. If you plan to do the long hike, turn right on Deep Creek Rd. and follow it for 10 to 15 miles to the parking area. For the short hike, continue on Rock Springs Rd. At Kiowa Rd, Rock Springs changes names to Roundup Way. After about 10 miles on Roundup (part may be dirt), turn right on Bowen Ranch Rd. and follow it about 10 miles to Bowen Ranch. It takes about 1.5 hours from campus.
Deep Creek Hot Springs are the closest hot springs to school and are a great hiking or backpacking location. There are several pools, some too deep to stand in. The pools are adjacent to the river which provides cold water dips as well. Boulder problems exist right out of the water on good quality granite. This granite provides excellent bouldering throughout the canyon. Deep swimming holes on the river allow rock jumping as well. The pools can be reached by two routes. Parking at the end of Deep Creek Rd. leads to a gentle seven mile hike to the springs. This parking lot is unfortunately not safe for cars overnight. OTL members had windows smashed here at night. From Bowen Ranch it is a steep two mile hike. Parking at Bowen Ranch costs $4 per person but is safe. The trip is good as a day hike, but even better as an overnight. Camping is not officially allowed in the canyon (according to another guide camping is only prohibited near the spring), so you have to be a bit sneaky. Despite the "rules" people camp in the canyon frequently. Derrick Churchill recommends a spot about a half-mile upstream from the springs. Do not camp next to the pools. Continuing upstream makes for great exploring as well. The pools can be crowded with noisy parties on the weekend.
The springs' temperature changes depending on the stream flow, so check the temperature before plunging. The springs are said to have microorganisms that can burrow into your brain and kill you in 3 days. These are popular springs, however, and thousands of people have gone with only 3 deaths over the last century. Make sure everyone is aware of this risk. To be on the safe side don't dunk your head underwater since the microorganisms enter through the ear canal. Use caution bouldering because even a sprained ankle at distance from a vehicle can be a major ordeal. High runoff can cause the stream to become treacherous for swimming or even crossing.
Edited by (in order): OTL Staff
Last updated: 05/22/2009