Buckeye Hot Springs – Bridgeport, CA

When it comes to natural hot springs in California, most people immediately think of Orin or Hot Springs. However, just a short distance away lies a hidden gem that’s often overlooked – Buckeye Hot Springs. While it may not be as accessible as other locations, this only adds to the adventure and allure of this lesser-known spot.

Nestled within the boundaries of the national forest, Buckeye Hot Springs offers a unique and unforgettable experience for those willing to make the journey. Surrounded by lush greenery and the soothing sounds of the nearby stream, it’s the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

But what makes Buckeye Hot Springs truly special is the natural mineral water that flows from its source. Rich in minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium, this water is not only relaxing but also beneficial for your skin and overall health. So, if you’re looking for a truly rejuvenating and refreshing experience, Buckeye Hot Springs is the place to be.


Buckeye Hot Springs - Bridgeport, California
Buckeye Hot Springs

Nestled in a breathtaking canyon, Buckeye Hot Springs is a natural geothermal wonder. Located just an hour and a half north of Biggs, CA, this hot spring is fed by a natural spring that keeps the water temperature around 105 degrees, making it an ideal spot for a relaxing soak.

The main pool of Buckeye Hot Springs is large and shallow, with crystal-clear water that is perfect for swimming and soaking. As the water flows out of the pool, it cascades into a creek that winds its way through the stunning Eagle Mountain range. The majestic views of the surrounding Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and Hoover Wilderness make this a truly unique and unforgettable experience.

While Buckeye Hot Springs can be visited year-round, it’s important to keep in mind that the weather can be extreme depending on the season. In the winter months, freezing temperatures and snow can make for a challenging visit. But for those who are prepared, the experience can be truly magical. And in the hot summer days, Buckeye Hot Springs is the perfect place to cool off and relax.

Interestingly, Buckeye Hot Springs has been used by indigenous people for centuries for its healing properties. The geothermal water is said to have therapeutic benefits that can help with a variety of ailments. In fact, many people come to Buckeye Hot Springs specifically for the healing properties of the water.

How to Get There

Getting to Buckeye Hot Springs is no easy feat, and requires a bit of planning and preparation. To start your journey, you’ll need to make your way to the town of Bridgeport, CA. The quickest route is to take the 99 north from Bakersfield, though taking the 5 to the 99 is also an option, albeit a longer one.

Located 230 miles south of Reno, NV and 155 miles north of Bakersfield, Bridgeport serves as the gateway to Buckeye Hot Springs. Once you arrive, you’ll need to navigate towards the mountains and locate a dirt road known as “Digger’s Hot Springs Road.” The road conditions are rough, with the trail being more suited for a 4×4 rather than a conventional car.

After driving along the bumpy and unpaved roads, you’ll finally arrive at the dirt parking area for Buckeye Creek Road. From here, you’ll need to make the rest of the journey on foot. The hike to the hot springs can take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes, depending on your pace and the conditions of the trail.

While the journey to Buckeye Hot Springs may be challenging, the destination is well worth the effort. The natural hot springs offer a peaceful and relaxing environment to soak and unwind, surrounded by the beautiful wilderness of Mammoth Lakes and Lake Tahoe. If you plan to visit in the winter months, be sure to check the road conditions beforehand, as the conditions can be unpredictable and require a four-wheel drive vehicle to access the springs safely.

Facilities and What to Know Before You Go

Before you embark on your journey to Buckeye Hot Springs, it’s important to know that the location does not offer any amenities. There are no restrooms or water sources, so it’s crucial to bring enough drinking water with you. Additionally, the hot springs are located approximately one and a half miles away from the parking lot, so make sure to wear proper shoes, such as water shoes or Teva Universal Trail sandals, to ensure a comfortable hike.

As Buckeye Hot Springs is situated in a remote area, there is no cell reception or electricity. It’s important to prepare accordingly and bring any necessary equipment, such as a portable charger, if needed. The hot springs are also clothing-optional, so it’s essential to be aware of this before visiting.

To ensure that the environment remains pristine, it’s important to follow specific guidelines when visiting Buckeye Hot Springs. For instance, glass containers are not allowed, and visitors are encouraged to opt for plant-based options when bringing food. Additionally, the water depth in the hot springs varies, with some areas being only a few feet deep. Visitors should exercise caution and be aware of their surroundings while soaking in the hot springs.

Natural Hot Springs Pools

Natural spring at Buckeye Hot Springs – Bridgeport, California
Buckeye Hot Springs – Bridgeport, California

Buckeye Hot Springs boasts six natural pools of varying sizes, including the Upper Pools, which offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains. These 2-foot-deep pools are not only attractive and large but also provide a natural and relaxing environment.

For those seeking a more natural appearance, the four semi-natural creekside pools are perfect. These pools have been minimally altered by visitors who added structure to hold in the heated water. The primary attraction of these pools is the hot spring waterfall. It is an overhanging cliff that allows boiling hot thermal water to flow down into the pools below.

The heated water, with an origin temperature of 135 degrees Fahrenheit, cools down to a comfortable 100 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit by the time it reaches the natural pools. If the water is too hot to handle, you can rearrange rocks to allow cooler creek water to enter the pools or take a dip in Buckeye Creek.

With the ability to accommodate around 30 people at once, the Buckeye complex provides ample space for a relaxing bath. However, keep in mind that many visitors prefer to soak in these hot spring pools without clothing on. Enjoy the constant flow of warm and cold river water and the beauty of these hot pools, creekside pools, and 2-foot-deep pools.

Camping and nearby Accommodations

Buckeye Campground
Buckeye Campground

Exploring the great outdoors can be a rejuvenating experience, and camping is one of the best ways to do so. Buckeye Campground is a popular option for nature enthusiasts, located just a quarter of a mile away from the Buckeye Hot Springs. With 68 single sites available on a first-come, first-served basis, it is essential to arrive early to secure a spot. The campground offers four different restrooms, including one flush and three vault, ensuring a comfortable stay.

For those who crave a more isolated experience, Freedom Camping is an option. However, it is essential to follow the three most important guidelines, including packing everything in garbage bags, camping at a distance of 100 feet from the lake, and avoiding camping near the parking lot. This option provides a quiet camping experience and allows for a deeper connection with nature.

If camping is not your style, various accommodations are available around Buckeye Hot Springs. Bridgeport is the closest town, offering bed and breakfasts and hotels. However, for more options, consider traveling to nearby cities. Mammoth Lakes, Yosemite, or Lake Tahoe are just a few minutes drive. These cities provide numerous accommodation options, including airfare options for those traveling from afar.

Buckeye Flat Campground and Honeymoon Flat Campground are two other camping options in the vicinity, offering accessible sites for camping trailers. Both campgrounds provide a peaceful and serene environment, perfect for a relaxing vacation.

In conclusion, whether you prefer to immerse yourself in nature through camping or choose the comfort of nearby accommodations, Buckeye Hot Springs has something for everyone. With several camping options available, including Buckeye Campground, Buckeye Flat Campground, and Honeymoon Flat Campground, visitors can choose the one that best suits their needs. For those who prefer accommodation options, nearby towns such as Bridgeport and Twin Lakes Rd provide ample choices.

Tips for Your Trip

If you’re up for a challenge, Buckeye Hot Springs is a popular choice for those seeking stunning views and an outdoor pool experience. However, be warned that the hike to get there can be quite strenuous. It’s not for the faint of heart.

It’s important to come fully prepared with proper shoes, such as the Teva Universal Trail, and plenty of water to stay hydrated. Buckeye Hot Springs is only open during the winter and early spring, so plan accordingly. It’s not accessible during the summer due to the impassable trail.

Once you make it to Buckeye, you’ll be greeted with a rustic environment and the option for clothing-optional soaking. Keep in mind that this might not be suitable for everyone, so respect others’ choices.

While the steep trails may be challenging, the reward is well worth it. The stunning views and the therapeutic qualities of the hot springs are unmatched. However, it’s important to be aware of the weather conditions before heading out. Always check the forecast and be prepared for sudden changes in temperature.

Orin Hot Springs: An alternative to Buckeye

Orin Hot Springs, located just ten minutes from Buckeye Hot Springs, is a more developed destination that provides visitors with a range of amenities to enjoy.

Orin Hot Springs boasts a spacious parking lot, hiking trails, and numerous water and bathroom facilities for added convenience. Plus, the hot spring is clothing-optional, making it a great spot for those seeking a bit of relaxation and seclusion. Whether you’re an avid hiker or simply looking for a natural hot spring with a few more creature comforts, Orin Hot Springs is definitely worth a visit.

For those who prefer to skip the hike altogether, Orin Hot Springs is the perfect destination. Unlike Travertine Hot Springs, which requires a steep hill climb to access the pools, Orin Hot Springs is easily accessible and offers beautiful views of the surrounding mountain range. In fact, it’s a comprehensive guide to hot springs in the area and is a great option for those who want to take in the beauty of the region without the hassle of a strenuous hike.

If you’re looking for an alternative to Buckeye Hot Springs, Orin Hot Springs is definitely worth checking out. With its range of amenities, beautiful views, and easy accessibility, it’s a great destination for anyone looking to enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

After You Visit

If you’re looking to beat the heat after a soak in the Buckeye Hot Springs, why not take a refreshing dip in the Kern River? This nearby river is just a quick five-minute drive from the hot springs and offers the perfect spot to cool off on a hot summer day. Alternatively, make your way an hour south to Bakersfield for a visit to the Museum of Natural History, where you can learn more about the local flora and fauna.

For those seeking adventure, why not take a day trip to one of the many waterfalls in the area? From Winter Park to regional waterfalls, there are plenty of options to choose from. If you’re feeling more adventurous, consider embarking on an international trip, condition permitting. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or just starting out, there’s always an opportunity to explore new destinations and make memories that will last a lifetime.

No matter where your travels take you, be sure to pack a travel guide to ensure that you make the most of your trip. From city guides to regional guides, these resources are essential for discovering the hidden gems of any destination.

Side note about the weather

Whether you’re planning a summer road trip or a winter visit to Buckeye Hot Springs, it’s important to be prepared for the weather conditions. During the hot summer days, the temperature can easily reach triple digits, and the sun can be brutal. Make sure to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and a hat to protect yourself from the heat.

On the other hand, if you’re planning a visit in the winter months, be prepared for snow. The road leading to the hot springs can be closed due to snow, so it’s important to check the weather conditions before heading out. Bring warm clothing, blankets, and enough supplies to last you in case the road is closed.

No matter the season, it’s always a good idea to bring a first aid kit, as accidents can happen on the trail leading to the hot springs. Additionally, be sure to pack out all your trash and leave the area cleaner than you found it.

If you’re planning a summer trip, keep in mind that the hot springs can be crowded, so it’s best to visit during the weekdays or early in the morning. During the winter, the hot springs can be a bit more secluded, providing a peaceful and serene atmosphere.

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Final Words

Buckeye Hot Springs is one of the most unique places in California. It’s an all-day affair, but it’s worth the effort. If you’re willing to put in the effort to get there, you’re rewarded with a truly unique experience that is unlike anything else in the world. Visiting Buckeye Hot Springs is an adventure, and it’s unlike any other experience you’ll ever have.

Local information

Address: Buckeye Road, Bridgeport, California 93517
GPS: 38.239085,-119.325437
Open: Year-round
Clothing: Optional


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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.