Franklin Hot Springs – Paso Robles, California

Looking for some inexpensive therapy? Franklin Hot Springs, located in the famed wine valley of Paso Robles, California, has been a popular destination in recent decades. This privately owned location, located between Los Angeles and San Francisco, is a refreshing stop on a California road trip. While it isn’t a spa and resort, per se, like other hot springs in California, it is still a must-visit for anyone who loves the outdoors and nature.

The Franklin Hot Springs are located right off of Franklin Ridge Road, which is a short drive from Highway 46. The actual location is very private and hard to find, so make sure you have the correct GPS coordinates or else you might not be able to locate them.

It’s a very short hike to get to the springs themselves, which are situated in an alcove with tall rock walls on either side. At one end of the springs is a deep pool that’s perfect for diving right in and swimming around. The other end has shallow water that’s great for soaking your feet or just relaxing.

A place for the explorer

Franklin Hot Springs – Paso Robles, CA
Franklin Hot Springs – Paso Robles, CA

The entire area surrounding the Franklin Hot Springs is very secluded and offers some great opportunities for hiking and exploring. The Franklin Ridge Trail is a short walk away and it offers great views of Paso Robles and the surrounding vineyards.

The springs themselves are set in a rocky alcove with a little pool at one end and a shallow area for soaking at the other. There are also large flat rocks that you can relax on, making it the perfect spot for any occasion. There are no lifeguards on duty, so it’s your responsibility to watch out for yourself and others around you.

Once you’re done soaking, there’s plenty of space to pitch a tent or set up your RV. Make sure you clean up after yourself and don’t leave any trash behind, as the springs is pretty secluded and trash isn’t easily disposed of.

There’s no fee to visit the springs, but donations are accepted and greatly appreciated. The Franklin Hot Springs is managed by the San Benito County Parks Department, so if you want to ensure that they remain open, make sure to donate as much as you can afford.

There’s something so relaxing about getting out of the city and spending time in nature. The Franklin Hot Springs are a perfect way to do just that – especially if you love the outdoors and hiking.

And while it’s true that the springs themselves are a bit hard to find, they’re well worth the journey. As you hike through the forest and up the mountain, you can enjoy the fresh air and beautiful views that nature has to offer.

And once you reach the springs, you’ll be in awe of their secluded location. There’s nothing better than taking a dip in the cool water and soaking your feet after a long hike up a mountain. And once you get back down to your car, don’t forget to stop at one (or two) of Paso Robles’ wineries for a little post-hike wine tasting.

Hot Springs Pools

The Pools at Franklin Hot Springs – Paso Robles, CA
The Pools at Franklin Hot Springs – Paso Robles, CA

Visitors come from all over to experience the rustic and neighborly atmosphere of the hot spring water. If you’re in the area, you should try the curative mineral water that bubbles up from the earth. All that stands between you and the natural hot tub with water measuring 37.8°C (100.1° F) is a fair day use entry fee (discount for children).

Guests can relax in the hot tub or swim in the wide swimming pool, which is heated to 36.3°C (97.1°F). Remember to bring your suit.
Camping

Set up a tent or bring a camper. After your therapeutic day treatment, you can camp out under the stars for an extra cost. Don’t worry, there are cooking stations, restrooms, and showers on-site, so you won’t have to rough it too much.

Ponds for fishing and boating

Boating & Fishing at Franklin Hot Springs – Paso Robles, CA
Boating & Fishing at Franklin Hot Springs – Paso Robles, CA

No fishing permit? Not a problem! It is not necessary for this privately held location. The Franklin ponds are home to house bass, crappie, catfish, and other species for hours of fun and relaxation.

Grab your favorite bait and get one with nature as you fish alongside the ducks, geese, and other creatures that call these ponds home! Remember to bring your camera, as bald eagles and huge wildlife are frequently observed enjoying the ponds.

Bring your own boat and alcohol! Canoes, kayaks, and any other non-motorized boat are welcome to enjoy and fish on Franklin’s large ponds.

Camping

There’s a large private campsite right next to the hot springs, complete with a fire pit and picnic table. This is a perfect spot for you and a significant other to spend the night.

The campsite has a fire pit with plenty of firewood, several picnic tables, and an outhouse. There are also two small buildings that look like sheds but are actually the changing rooms for both men and women.

The springs themselves are a short hike down a dirt path, but if you want to be right next to them, then this campsite is the place for you. You can also easily set up your tent or park your RV if you have one. (And just FYI, the Franklin Hot Springs have been known to host Burning Man-like events in the past, so be aware of this if you’re going during the summer.)

The Franklin Hot Springs are a truly unique experience that’s unlike any other in all of California. The fact that they’re completely natural and located all alone out in a forest makes them feel like something straight out of Lord of the Rings, which is why they’ve become so popular with the adventure seekers and nature lovers out there.

Know Before You Go

While the Franklin Hot Springs themselves are free to visit, you should still be prepared before you go. The drive from Paso Robles is about 15 minutes and there’s no cell phone service once you get off of Highway 46, so make sure you have directions with you and print them out before you leave.

You should also know that this hot springs location is frequented by locals and regulars, so it’s not a place where you can show up in your swimsuit or shorts. You’ll want to dress in layers and bring a towel, swimsuit, and clothes to put on after you change.

If you have pets, they are allowed at the springs but must be leashed at all times. There are also no park facilities or restrooms, so make sure to come prepared with everything you need. The springs do allow camping but only for small groups of 4-8 people per camping permit.

The springs are open year-round, though some parts of it may be closed due to poor weather conditions. During the winter months, it’s a great spot to break out your cross country skis or snowshoes while enjoying a dip in the hot springs.

Though this spot is great for swimming and soaking during the summer months, it is closed during the winter months due to heavy rains and snow runoff that run right into this alcove. So plan accordingly and be aware of any closures that might be announced on their Facebook page or by word of mouth.

There is no admission for the Franklin Hot Springs, which is one of the best things about it. Although the location itself is not officially open to the public (it’s maintained by a private owner), it’s still a place that anyone can visit.

The springs are accessible because the owner has agreed to keep it open to the public. The owner has put a lot of time and effort into maintaining and improving the springs, so consider bringing along a donation or two if you come out here.

If you plan on hiking to Franklin Hot Springs, make sure you bring plenty of water and snacks along with you. While it’s an easy hike, you will be hiking in full sun during the summer months, so staying hydrated and energized is important. You should also bring some sunscreen, sunglasses, and maybe even a hat.

Don’t forget your swimsuit if you want to cool off in the springs. There are no changing areas or restrooms at the site itself, so plan accordingly.

As with most hot springs in California, the Franklin Hot Springs are clothing-optional. However, due to the remote location and lack of other visitors, many people choose to keep their swimsuits on.

If you’re new to being nude in public and want to try out being naked in nature at the Franklin Hot Springs, I recommend coming during the day so you can see if there are any other visitors who might make you uncomfortable. If you are okay with being naked around other people and want to take your experience to the next level, come at night so you can enjoy the serenity of nature without clothes on.

There are no amenities at the Franklin Hot Springs, so make sure you bring everything that you think you’ll need. That includes food and drinks

If you’re looking for a spa experience, then this isn’t the place for you. The Franklin Hot Springs aren’t equipped with any changing rooms or bathrooms, so make sure that you are prepared to go au naturel. There are some garbage cans nearby if you want to throw away your waste and there is a fire pit where you can grill up some burgers and hot dogs if you want to prepare your own lunch.

Pack plenty of towels or blankets to sit on and don’t forget bug spray and sunscreen because there aren’t any trees around the springs to provide shade or shelter from the sun. And don’t forget to pack a swimsuit because swimming is definitely one of the highlights at the Franklin Hot Springs.

There are also no lifeguards on duty, so swimming at your own risk.

Parking

There’s plenty of room to park along the side of the road, so don’t worry about finding a spot to pull over. You will likely have to walk a bit down the dirt road to get to the springs themselves, but it’s only about a half-mile hike at most.

Make sure you stay on the main dirt path and don’t take any side roads that you come across as you walk towards the springs—you don’t want to get lost in the wilderness!

After a few minutes of walking down the dirt road, you should see a small sign on your right that says Franklin Hot Springs Alcove Site. This is where you will want to head off in order to find the springs themselves.

The Franklin Hot Springs are located in an area that is best explored by car. There are hiking trails that lead to the springs, but you can’t take a car all the way there.

While you can’t reserve a spot at the springs, the group of pools is large enough that you shouldn’t have any problems getting a spot. However, it is important to note that Franklin Hot Springs was closed for three years due to a massive mudslide, so it’s possible that spots may be taken.

The Franklin Hot Springs are located on private property, so you won’t find any signs about them along the roads. Because of that, the exact location is a bit of a secret and you’ll have to navigate using GPS coordinates.

Make sure you double-check the coordinates before you leave for the springs, as they are not always accurate and you don’t want to end up at the wrong spot.

Bottom line

Exploring the Franklin Hot Springs in Paso Robles, California is a great way to spend a day or weekend. From the unique hot springs to the various spa treatments and massage services, there is something for everyone. Visitors can also enjoy the nearby attractions such as vineyards, golf courses, and wineries.

Whether it’s a romantic getaway or a family vacation, this destination offers something for everyone. So why not take advantage of this beautiful getaway and treat yourself to a day or weekend of relaxation and exploration at the Franklin Hot Springs. With its rustic charm and natural beauty, you’ll find plenty of activities to enjoy. Take some time to relax and enjoy this picturesque destination as you explore all that it has to offer.

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Local information

Address: 3015 Creston Rd, Paso Robles, California 93446
GPS: 35.588143,-120.640884
Phone: 805-712-5372
Season: Year-round
Website: franklinhotsprings.com

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