Five Palms Hot Springs – Borrego Springs, California

The Five Palms Hot Springs is a cluster of five hot springs located in Borrego Springs in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in San Diego County, California. The springs have been named the “Five Palms” because of the palm trees that originally grew around the springs. In many ways, this area has changed drastically since its discovery.

First, the palm trees were cut down by people seeking relief from the sun. Then, in 1941, a group of Boy Scouts built a concrete pool around one of the springs. They also built a wooden roof structure to keep people out of the water during rainstorms. This is not the only place to soak in Borrego Springs, however.

The area also contains several natural hot springs that are equally stunning and worth exploring. Gathering together all of this information will help you plan your own trip to this desert oasis and all its hidden gems below.

The History

Five Palms Hot Springs
Five Palms Hot Springs

The history of the Five Palms Hot Springs is one of constant development and change. The springs have gone from a simple cluster of natural pools to a resort with 500+ rooms. The palms were cut down for shade and the pools were covered to prevent contamination, both intentional acts by humans. Since then, the area has been restored to some degree, but there are still remnants from the past.

The Five Palms Hot Springs area was first explored in 1869 by William T. Garratt, a miner who was searching for gold and silver in the area. He found neither metals nor gems; instead, he found hot springs. He was so impressed by it that he named the springs “Five Palms” and spent many days here soaking in the healing waters.

Today, the Five Palms Resort has been abandoned and is privately owned by John Oliver. However, it still contains a few remnants left over from its resort days, such as furniture and lighting fixtures. There is no public access to the resort or its grounds; however, a short hike will take you to this amazing spot just outside of Borrego Springs.

Mineral Springs Pool

Five Palms Hot Springs, California.
Five Palms Hot Springs, California. Photo by: facebook.com/Five-Palms-Hot-Springs-California

In Five Palms, there is only one small, circular pool that can accommodate a few soakers. Despite their remote location, these springs attract a modest but consistent number of visitors. The oasis is a tranquil sanctuary in the middle of the desert, with warm spring water gushing from a pipe into a small pool at roughly 91 degrees Fahrenheit. Although the thermal water is knee-deep, it is home to a variety of tiny fish and frogs.

While visiting in the cooler months of fall and spring is recommended, you may still enjoy a nice dip at sunset in the summer provided the trees provide adequate shade.

Getting There

Five Palms Hot Springs – Borrego Springs, California
Five Palms Hot Springs – Borrego Springs, California

The Five Palms are located in Borrego Springs, which is approximately 83 miles from San Diego and about 65 miles from Palm Springs. The springs are located at the intersection of Palm Canyon Drive and Borrego Springs Road. The easiest way to get there is by car.

Borrego Springs can also be reached by train, as it is located along the Pacific Surfliner route. Unfortunately, the nearest station is in San Diego, so you will need to rent a car or take a taxi to get to Borrego Springs from there.

There are no public transportation options available in Borrego Springs, so you will need a car to get around. Parking is available in designated areas near the springs throughout the year (although during the holidays, it can be difficult to find a spot). During the winter holiday season, however, there are designated parking areas at the Visitor’s Center and Christmas Circle where you can park for free.

Borrego Springs is located in a desert environment, so remember that it gets extremely hot during the summer months (with temperatures regularly exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit). If you plan to visit during this time of year, try to avoid midday hours and bring extra water with you while exploring.

Who Can Go?

The Five Palms Hot Springs can be a place for everyone except infants and toddlers, as the pools are deep enough to drown in. And, the concrete pool at one of the springs is too shallow for anyone who cannot stand up in water.

However, everywhere else is open to everyone. Dogs are allowed at all areas except where you can enter the pools. This includes the trails leading to each of the hot springs, parking lots, and the picnic areas nearby. There are also some areas that are covered by poison ivy and other plants that cause reactions for some people.

There are no lifeguards, so it is up to you to keep your children safe (as you should anywhere). And, it is also up to you to clean up after your dogs so that you do not leave behind any waste for other visitors to step in.

The only other consideration is that the springs can reach temperatures of over 110 degrees Fahrenheit—even when it is cold outside. So, bring along plenty of water and wear sunscreen while exploring the area.

What Can You Do?

Five Palms Hot Springs, California. Photo by: facebook.com/Five-Palms-Hot-Springs-California
Five Palms Hot Springs, California. Photo by: facebook.com/Five-Palms-Hot-Springs-California

There are many activities to pursue when visiting the Five Palms Hot Springs. The most popular activity is soaking in the natural, hot mineral water of the springs. These springs are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so you can visit whenever suits your schedule.

Going for a swim is another popular activity at the springs. The Five Palms Hot Springs has a concrete pool that contains one of the natural hot springs. The pool was built in 1941 by a group of Boy Scouts, and it has been maintained ever since by the County of San Diego or private individuals.

You can also spend time hiking in the desert. There are several trails near the Five Palms Hot Springs that allow visitors to explore the desert and see stunning views of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Hiking trails include: The Split Rock Trail, The Borrego Palm Canyon Trail, and The Borrego Badlands Trail.

Visitors can also explore the Borrego Springs Golf Course while they’re in town.

What to Bring?

If you’re new to the idea of hot springs, it may seem challenging to know what to bring with you. Luckily, the only supplies you need are a swimsuit and a towel. The water is warm enough that you don’t need to worry about getting too cold.

Swimsuits should be water-friendly and easy to get on and off. You won’t want to bring a suit that you absolutely love, because it will likely get stained from the minerals in the water.

You may want to bring a towel with you so that you can sit on it and not get your bottoms wet. This can help in ensuring that your bottoms do not end up stained from the water as well. Don’t worry about towels getting stained too much because they will likely wash out easily.

You will also want to bring some form of sun protection for your skin, even if you are planning on just sitting in the water. The desert sun is extremely intense and can still damage your skin even when it is hidden under the water. Bring sunscreen or a lotion with an SPF of 15 or higher, along with a hat or visor that will block some of the sun rays.

When to Go?

The hot springs are open year-round and can be a great place to soak on a chilly winter day. However, going in the spring or fall is a much better option for those who want to soak in comfortably warm waters. The summer months can get extremely hot here, and it will be hard to enjoy the hot springs if you are trying to escape from the heat.

The best time of year to visit is during the cooler months of December, January, and February. Temperatures will usually not dip below 50 degrees Fahrenheit here during this time of year, but you will still have plenty of opportunities to enjoy the warm waters of the hot springs.

Borrego Springs is also a popular destination during peak wildflower season in April and May. If you plan on visiting during this time of year, make sure that you do not leave your car unattended or park in an area without any fencing around it.

Where to Stay?

There is no shortage of places to stay in Borrego Springs, as it is a popular tourist destination. There are several hotels and campgrounds that allow you to stay within walking distance of the springs. The places listed below are just a few of the choices available in Borrego Springs. You can also check out the lodging options in nearby towns such as Palm Desert and Rancho Mirage.

Borrego Palm Canyon Campground & RV Park: This campground offers tent sites, RV sites, and cabin rentals that are all within walking distance of the springs. The campground is also within walking distance to the Anza-Borrego State Park Visitor Center, as well as the Chino Canyon Trailhead and the Limiting Visitor Center.

The campground offers hot showers and restrooms, a convenience store with snacks and drinks, an outdoor pool, and a playground for kids. It also has a game room with air hockey, ping pong tables, and foosball.

La Villita Inn: This boutique hotel features eight guest rooms that are located in an adobe hacienda built in 1929 by Tom Sharp, who was one of the first settlers in Borrego Springs. Each room has been individually decorated with vintage furniture and accessories giving each room its own unique look. All rooms have private bathrooms with tubs or showers, TV’s with DVD players, free Wi-Fi access and free parking onsite.

Borrego Springs Inn: This historic inn is located on Highway 78 in Borrego Springs next to a small shopping area called The Village at 78th. The inn has 11 guest rooms that all feature private baths with tub or shower, TVs with DVD players and free Wi-Fi access. Some rooms also have fireplaces and mountain views while others have private patios or balconies overlooking the swimming pool below.

What Else Is There?

It’s not just the Five Palms that make Borrego Springs a hot spot in the desert. The area also contains numerous other natural hot springs and geysers, just waiting to be explored. Many of these can be found by heading over to the Borrego Badlands area.

Borrego Badlands is a geological wonderland with a great deal of hiking trails and scenic views. Several of these trails will lead you to natural hot springs that are awaiting your arrival.

One of the most popular spots along the Borrego Badlands is Chino Canyon, which was formed by a large earthquake that occurred around 10,000 years ago. As you hike down into this canyon, you will come across several bubbling hot springs that are awaiting your arrival. These small pools vary in size and temperature, but they can all be enjoyed all year round.

The best thing about exploring the Borrego Badlands is all of the history it contains. As you explore the trails, you will encounter many old buildings and ruins, left behind after an ancient civilization known as the Sinamoros lived there thousands of years ago.

Food and Other Essentials

There are two main places to shop for food and other supplies in Borrego Springs, and both are located on Palm Canyon Drive. The first of these is the Borrego Market, which is located at 1780 Palm Canyon Drive. This store offers a wide range of groceries as well as souvenirs and clothing. They also sell firewood, charcoal, and pre-made food items that can be taken back to your campsite or picnic spot.

If you prefer an actual restaurant experience, you will want to check out the Borrego Springs Inn at 1812 Palm Canyon Drive. This trendy little place is the perfect place to grab a drink with friends and enjoy a meal while taking in the amazing views of the desert landscape outside your window. They also have a small gift shop where you can purchase souvenirs to remember your trip by.

Outside of these stores, you will find a small market located at 1868 Palm Canyon Drive that offers basic supplies such as fresh produce, snacks, and drinks.

Bottom line

Exploring the Five Palms Hot Springs in Borrego Springs, California is a unique and immersive experience that should be on everyone’s bucket list. The hot springs are surrounded by a peaceful desert landscape and are full of natural minerals that provide unique healing properties. With its unique geological formations and its peaceful atmosphere, the Five Palms Hot Spring is a must-see destination.

Whether you come to relax, enjoy the scenery, or take in the healing benefits of the natural minerals, you will not be disappointed. With its close proximity to other attractions such as Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, there is something for everyone to enjoy when visiting the Five Palms Hot Spring.

With this comprehensive guide to explore the Five Palms Hot Springs in Borrego Springs, California, you can now begin your journey and experience all that this hidden gem has to offer.

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Local information

Address: Borrego Salton Spring Way, Borrego Springs California 92004
GPS: 33.248929,-116.105838
Season: Year-round

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