Surrounded by forests and meadows, Sierra Hot Springs sits at the threshold of the beautiful Sierra Valley and the dense Tahoe National Forest, adjacent to a town of Sierraville. Formerly known as Campbell Hot Springs, this historic site is the place where the Native Americans camped during the cold winter months. Earlier settlers of Hawk family established a ranch at the southern edge of the valley in 1850s with the geothermal springs on their land.
Over time, the hot springs at the Hawk ranch gained prominence for its healing properties and numerous visitors came to the spring to get some of the curing mineral waters. David Fenstermaker, who bought the ranch in 1861, significantly improved the property as a hot springs resort.
In 1874, Sierra County's Sheriff Jack Campbell purchased the ranch from David, with the former ensuring that the resort containing the healing mineral springs thrived and gained even more reverence in the following years. In 1881, because Campbell became a part of a political movement, he sold entire property to brothers Williams. One year later, Jack Campbell was killed by his political opponent.
In the decades that followed, the hot springs resort changed ownerships multiple times.
Leonardo Orr would later take charge in the 1970s while the resort’s reputation as a healing place was still flourishing. Currently, non-profit group NACB (New Age Church of Being) owns Sierra Hot Springs.
Hot mineral waters emerge from several sources at temperature about 112 °F and flows into pools which range in temperature between 98° F and 110° F.
The main pool area, Temple Dome is a geodesic dome with stained glass and skylights. The pool area harbors exotically constructed hot pools and traditional cold plunges to cool off after hot bathing sessions. Temperature of the hot pools ranges between 105° F and 110° F.
The larger warm pool that is found just outside the Dome is kept at 98-100° F. A sundeck provides the breathtaking views of the lush forest and valley. Dry sauna is also available to visitor's pleasure and relaxation.
Another soaking opportunity in a natural setting is Meditation Pool – a beautiful small pool surrounded by rocks with a sandy bottom. This seasonal pool ranges in temperature between 98° F and 100° F.
Seasonal pools inside private rooms, Phoenix Baths are filled with warm spring waters at 85-90° F. Also, a newly remodeled spa area is available.
Take into account that the resort is clothing-optional in all pool areas.
All pools’ cleaning schedule is available on a website of the hot springs resort.
Besides bathing, the resort offers massage and health workshops.
Lodging is available in the Main Lodge or in the Globe Hotel in Sierraville. There is a café and a guest kitchen in the lodge. Camping on-site is also available.
The facility is open to overnight visitors and day-use if you get full day membership visits. The membership is usually on monthly basis and can be transferred to Harbin Hot Springs Resort which works in partnership with Sierra Hot Springs Resort.
Sierra Hot Springs | Facts
Location: 1.8 miles northwest of Sierraville • California • USA
Services: Massage, signature treatments, workshops
Hiking distance: Short
Road Access: Any vehicle
Elevation: 5,023 ft (1,531 m)
N 39°34.530' W 120°20.911' | 39.5755,-120.34852
- Take exit 188A toward Truckee and then turn left onto Donner Pass Road
- Drive 0.4 miles and on the second traffic circle take the 3d exit for Highway 89
- Continue on Highway 89 for 23 miles to Highway 49 in Sierraville
- Turn right onto Highway 49 and drive 0.4 miles to Lemon Canyon Road
- Turn right onto Lemon Canyon Road and follow 0.6 miles to Campbell Hot Springs Road
- Turn right onto Campbell Hot Springs Road and go 0.8 miles to the destination.