Remington Hot Springs


Remington Hot Springs

12.8.11

From the issue Hot Spots

A River Runs Through It

Kern River Canyon might be famous for having some of the state's most gnarly whitewater, but it's also home to a primitive and pristine way to soak away your holiday stress. Remington Hot Springs is a series of natural mineral soaking tubs set riverside in the southern Sierra. And they can be reached via a .25-mile stone-slab path through the largest remaining cottonwood riparian forest in the state. Volunteers built multiple cement pools ranging from a two-person tub running at 105 degrees, to a lukewarm tub large enough to fit Santa and his eight reindeer. The pools are right on the edge of the 165-mile southern-flowing Kern River and adjacent to the Audubon Kern River Preserve, a bastion for diverse bird populations. This is a rare chance to see the endemic Kern red-winged blackbird or western yellow-billed cuckoo. The clothing-free crowd frequents the thermal hot springs, though they're probably outnumbered by the river's California golden trout. Tempting as it might be, trying to navigate any of the strong currents of the Kern is best reserved for rafters. Relaxing in a tub, admire the towering mountain ridges enclosing the river valley as steam rises around you. Let it all sink in.

TIP: Feeling too much like a wet noodle to drive home afterward? Kernville Inn is a welcoming and rustic stay in the center of Kernville.

Take I-5 N toward Bakersfield and continue onto CA Highway 99 N for 26 miles. Take SR 178 E, keeping right at the signed fork. Continue for about 30 miles. Turn right on Old Kern Canyon Rd. (County Road 214) for about 10 miles. At mile-marker 30, there is a dirt pull-off to the left marked by a large tree in the center of the turnaround. Head straight back into the lot to find stone slab steps (marked by a large boulder to the left of the path) leading down to the hot springs. Follow the manicured dirt trail for 1/4-mile passing a single hot spring on the way down (this pool is cooler and generally used as a backup when the main three are full). Follow the fork to your left at the bottom of the hill. Take care to stay in the shallow end when cooling off in the river as the currents are very strong. Return the way you came. The oasis is open all year, except during the river's high-water times. Dog-friendly! 

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