Fales Hot Springs – Coleville, California

The Fales Hot Springs are one of the best-kept secrets in Nevada County, California, offering a desert oasis for relaxation and rejuvenation. Nestled in the foothills of the Nevada County hills, these springs are a short drive from Grass Valley and Auburn.

According to local history, around 1898, a prospector from Nevada City, known as Old Man Fales, built the first shack at these springs. At that time, the springs were accessible only by horseback or on foot. In 1916, Fred McIntosh bought the property and built wooden cottages over the springs to accommodate visitors. Eventually he added more cottages and other facilities to attract paying customers.

McIntosh’s property was later purchased by Frank “Slim” Gabrielli who later sold it to Vic and Priscilla Jones who owned and operated the fales until 2016 when they sold it to a local realtor who is currently working on improving the property. It’s not exactly clear when or why the name “Fales” was changed to “Hot Springs,” but it’s been known as Hot Springs ever since. Here are some tips for visiting these fabulous desert oasis hot springs for a relaxing soak or even for having a wedding ceremony.


Fales Hot Springs – Coleville, California
Fales Hot Springs – Coleville, California

The Fales Hot Springs are located in Coleville, California, which is just outside of Nevada City. They are a short drive from Grass Valley and Auburn. The springs are located at the end of a dirt road, so it’s best to have a dependable vehicle.

There is a small sign at the end of the road indicating the turnoff to the springs, but it’s easy to miss if you aren’t looking for it. The turnoff is also not well-marked, so be careful navigating the dirt road as you approach the springs. During the summer months, there are portable restrooms at the entrance to the springs and there is also an RV park at the site with running water and electricity.

It’s best to visit these hot springs on a weekday if possible, as weekends tend to be very busy. A lot of locals come out for a soak on their days off, so many weekends it feels like the place is packed with locals. Also be aware that dogs are not allowed at these springs.

The main facility is a series of wooden cottages (fales) perched over the hot springs, giving visitors a unique opportunity to enjoy the soothing waters while sitting in your own private tub.

Natural Hot Springs

Because the source and its surroundings are on private land with a dwelling, they are not accessible to the general public. Despite this, a conduit beneath Route 395 transports hot mineral water from the defunct Fales Resort to a heated pool enclosed by granite walls.

On the route to the larger pool, a number of smaller pools are formed. Temperatures average 92 degrees Fahrenheit, but snowfall from adjacent mountains might make the stream a little colder in certain seasons.

The water may be covered in a slimy coating of algae, but there isn’t much of a sulfur stench. Ticks have been observed on the grass throughout the spring season. Throw your wet clothes and towels over some shrubs to be safe. There are nicer places to soak in general, but it is free and may appeal to individuals with a feeling of adventure.

Things to know before you go

While the springs are secluded and private, they are not hidden away from view. If you are uncomfortable with nudity, this may not be the place for you. Also, as mentioned above, there is no lifeguard on duty so parents should take responsibility for their children’s safety while visiting the springs.

Note: The Fales Hot Springs is a clothing-optional hot springs facility, so if you don’t want to go naked or don’t feel comfortable doing so, then this isn’t the place for you!

Visiting the Fales Hot Springs is a wonderful experience, but before you head out to the desert oasis, be sure to check the weather conditions. The springs are not accessible in inclement weather.

Make sure you have enough gas to get to the springs and back without running out. The Fales is a hidden gem and isn’t listed on many maps so you may want to print directions before heading out.

The Fales is open 24 hours a day, but you’ll want to plan your visit during daylight hours if possible. There is some limited lighting at the springs, but it’s better to see what you’re doing when you’re frolicking in nature’s hot tubs.

If you’re planning on swimming in the river, make sure to use common sense and don’t enter if it’s too cold for your liking. Also keep in mind that it’s not a good idea to go wading in the river without shoes on as there could be hidden rocks or other dangers just beneath the surface.

Bottom line

The Fales Hot Springs offer an unforgettable experience of natural beauty and relaxation. With its stunning scenery, therapeutic hot springs and a variety of outdoor activities, it is an ideal destination for people wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Whether you are looking for a peaceful spot to relax or an exciting adventure in the outdoors, you won’t be disappointed when visiting the Fales Hot Springs.

So pack your bags, grab your friends and family, and explore this hidden gem tucked away in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It is sure to be a trip that you will never forget!

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Local information

Address: 2 miles east of Hot Creek Pool, which is located at 90307 US-395, Coleville, California 96107, or 13.5 miles northwest of Bridgeport
GPS: 38.351109,-119.39917
Season: year-round