Agua Caliente County Park – Julian, California

Did you know that there’s a whole county park dedicated to hot springs? In fact, Agua Caliente County Park is the largest county-owned natural reserve in the state of California. It has more than 26 geothermal features and is one of the most famous spots for soaking in natural hot springs in the world. There are so many different hot springs at this park that it can be a little overwhelming.

Here’s your complete guide to all of them. This article will answer all your burning questions about hot springs in Agua Caliente County Park – Julian, California:


Agua Caliente County Park
Agua Caliente County Park

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park holds a hidden gem, Agua Caliente County Park, a desert paradise that’s perfect for nature lovers seeking a genuine connection with the natural world. The park is known for its all-natural mineral hot springs, and visitors can take on the many gorgeous hiking trails.

The Kumeyaay Indians were the first to discover the hot springs, and it’s easy to see why. Juan Bautista de Anza, a Spanish explorer, stumbled upon the area in 1775 and promptly named the springs “Agua Caliente,” which means “hot water” in Spanish. Since then, the park has been drawing visitors from all over the world.

Located roughly 100 miles from the city of San Diego, Agua Caliente is a must-see location for anyone vacationing in Southern California. It’s situated within the largest state park in California, Anza Borrego State Park, and visitors can explore the Moonlight Canyon and the historic stage station. The current desert temperatures add to the unique experience of the park, making it an ideal vacation spot for those seeking adventure and relaxation.

Mineral Hot Springs Pools

Hot spring pools Agua Caliente County Park – Julian, California
Agua Caliente County Park – Julian, California

Natural hot springs are a primary attraction for visitors to Agua Caliente County Park. The park offers three spring-fed options to choose from, including an indoor jacuzzi and two outdoor pools – one designed exclusively for children’s entertainment. The indoor spa boasts temperatures that reach up to 102 degrees Fahrenheit and provides breathtaking views of the desert and mountains through its glass walls. The underwater massage from the jets will leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.

One of the park’s key advantages is the routine that must be followed to make use of the hot springs. The indoor spa offers an adult-only hour each day, perfect for those aged 21 and over who want to relax without the presence of children. Additionally, there are dedicated times for campers to ensure overnight guests have complete access to the spa and pools in a more secluded setting. Whether you’re in search of a relaxing soak or water sports like scuba diving and kayaking, there are plenty of hot springs to discover throughout the park.

Agua Caliente County Park boasts all-natural mineral hot springs that offer a unique experience for visitors. The mineral water and heated springs provide a tranquil atmosphere that is unmatched. The outdoor pool is perfect for those who want to soak up the sun while enjoying the cold pools. To discover the hot springs, follow the trail that leads to the main swimming hole at the upper end of the park. Alternatively, follow the trail towards the Caballero Hot Springs to reach the lower end of the park.

Types of Hot Springs

There are 5 main types of hot springs at this park:

The Upper Hot Springs: These are the ones that are located at the upper end of the park. These hot springs are suitable for a relaxing soak, and they are also the best choice for people who are looking to photograph them.

The Lower Hot Springs: Located at the lower end of the park, these hot springs are best for water sports like scuba diving and kayaking. You can also lounge around in them, but you will likely get sprayed with water every now and then.

The Caballero Hot Springs: These hot springs are located between the upper and lower hot springs. They are best for water sports like scuba diving and kayaking, but you can also lounge around in them.

The Ano Nuevo Hot Springs: These hot springs are located at the west end of the park. They are the best choice for wildlife photographers who are hoping to get some great shots of California Seals who frequent this area.

The Volcanic Hot Springs: These hot springs are located at the east end of the park. These are the best choice for people who want to experience something unique and different, especially because the water here is extremely hot.

Tips for Enjoying the Hot Springs

When planning a trip to the hot springs, it’s important to keep a few things in mind in order to fully enjoy the experience. Here are some tips to consider:

– Dress appropriately: While lounging in the hot springs, you can wear anything you want, but when visiting the swimming holes, a swimsuit is required.

– Stay hydrated: It’s crucial to stay hydrated both inside and outside of the hot springs. As the water is typically warm, it’s even more important to drink plenty of water.

– Protect your belongings: When walking through the parking lot, keep your belongings close to you to prevent theft.

– Respect wildlife: Depending on the time of year, you may encounter wild animals. Keep a safe distance and respect their space to avoid any issues.

For those looking to stay overnight, Agua Caliente County Park Campground offers a variety of options. Choose from cabins with temperature controls, tent camping, or partial hook-up sites. The campground also provides flush toilets, drinking water, and a dump station for your convenience.

To reserve a site, there is a reservation fee. However, guests can enjoy the benefits of a swimming pool and outdoor recreation activities during their stay. So pack your bags and plan your visit to the hot springs for a relaxing getaway.

What to do in Agua Caliente County Park?

You will never run out of activities while visiting Agua Caliente County Park


Agua Caliente Springs Park Hot Springs Hiking Camping
Agua Caliente Springs Park Hot Springs Hiking Camping

Those who are enthusiastic about hiking will value the fact that Agua Caliente covers a massive 910 acres and that each of those acres features a magnificent desert plan. It should come as no surprise that Agua Caliente is a hiker’s paradise given the abundance of acreage, canyons, and mountainous terrain to explore in the area.

Hikers that go across these wide regions will come across a stunning collection of wildflowers and succulents in the springtime, as well as luxuriant plant life all year round, such as Washington Palms and acacias.

Along the walk, you might come across some enormous wild animals, so you shouldn’t be startled if that happens. It is not unusual to come across a wide variety of animals in Agua Caliente County Park. These species can range from large horn sheep to coyotes and beyond.

Bring a picnic with you because there are many places where you may sit in the sunshine and take in the stunning vistas that are in front of you.


Agua Caliente County Park is well-known for its hot springs and the hiking paths that wind through the park; nevertheless, it is also renowned for the great camping opportunities that it provides. In point of fact, it is considered to be one of the “most popular” camping spots in all of San Diego County.

There are 140 campsites available to pick from within the park, some of which come equipped with full or partial hookups. Tent sites are also available for individuals who would like “be one with nature,” and huge caravan sites are available for those traveling in larger groups.

Not even a camper or RV? No issue. You have your choice of seven freestanding cabins at Agua Caliente, each measuring 320 square feet and outfitted with a table, climate controls, and two sets of queen-sized bed frames. Bear in mind that there will not be any mattresses or sheets provided for you; you will need to bring your own.

Timing Your Visit

Agua Caliente County Park is open year round, but there are some holidays when it is closed. If you plan to visit over a holiday, make sure to check the park’s website for hours of operation. Park admission is $10 per vehicle, and there is a $2 fee for each person who is 16 years of age and above.

You can also purchase an annual pass for $40, which is valid for the entire year. There are ways to save money at the park, including purchasing the senior or child’s admission pass, or taking advantage of special offers from the park’s website.

Final Words: Don’t miss out!

Agua Caliente County Park is an amazing place to visit, especially if you are interested in a relaxing hot springs getaway. It is one of the most famous spots for soaking in natural hot springs in the world. There are so many different hot springs at this park that it can be a little overwhelming. If you want to visit them, remember to bring your swimsuit, be prepared to hike a little bit, and stay hydrated. You won’t regret it.

Weather & 5-day forecast

Agua Caliente County Park is located in Julian, California and the weather is usually mild throughout the year. The average high temperature in Julian is 79 degrees Fahrenheit and the average low temperature is 55 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it is important to check the weather forecast before your visit as the weather can change quickly in this area.

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Local information

Address: 39555 Great Southern Overland Stage Route1849, Julian, California 92036
GPS: 32.956481,-116.300713
Phone: 760-765-1188
Reservations: 877-565-3600
Season: Year-round




Anne loves to explore the world and share her experiences through her blog. She loves to travel to places that are off the beaten path and find unique experiences to share with her readers. She also loves to share tips on how to make the most of a trip, from budgeting to activities. She hopes that her blog will inspire others to explore the world and enjoy the beauty of nature.