Kosk Hot Springs – Big Bend, CA

If you have at least an overnight to spare along your journey, take a break from the bustling crowds and people and explore the Kosk Hot Springs just outside of the largest park in the lower 48. The road in is an adventure all its own, but what awaits you is a breathtaking little oasis all to yourself with two hot baths, two spacious sit-in pools, and even a kids’ pool all contained within nature’s own redwoods.

The Kosk hot springs are located along Hydesville-Gerber Road in Humboldt County just outside of Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.

The appeal of Kosk is simple: no one really knows about it–especially those visiting nearby North Coast Shasta territory. If you make the drive, you’ll likely have it to yourself or close to it. You may share the experience with one or two others if you’re fortunate, or perhaps even get to share with another adventurous soul on separate days. Though it is still closed to overnight camping, remember that even if they ask you kindly to leave by sunset, California State parks are not so strict as to prevent you from sleeping in your car offsite (where not prohibited).

Natural Hot Springs Pools

Kosk Hot Springs – Big Bend, California
Kosk Hot Springs – Big Bend, California

Kosk Hot Springs features two separate hot springs with their own unique characteristics. Rachel Pool has a slower flow of geothermal water at a moderate temperature, while Suzanne Pool has hotter water pumping in from beneath. Both pools are surrounded by large boulders and trees, providing a beautiful natural setting to relax in.

The pools are situated on top of redwood stumps that were covered with split granite slabs. Today, bright-colored mosaics cover the areas where gravel once was found, adding a touch of modernity to the natural environment. A wooden railing surrounds the pools, providing a safe barrier for visitors to lean against while dipping their toes into the hot water.

The water temperature in the pools varies depending on the season, with seasonal blossoms opening up in the early spring and visitors enjoying cooler temperatures in the fall. Each pool is also flanked by a shallow circular pool, perfect for relaxing after a dip in the hot springs.

Kosk Hot Springs draws its geothermal water from both Kosk Creek and Indian Springs Creek, creating a unique blend of hot and cool river water. The pools themselves are beautifully constructed with optimal dimensions for socializing and having a good time, making it a popular spot for both locals and visitors passing through. Overall, Kosk Hot Springs is a must-visit destination for anyone looking for a relaxing and rejuvenating experience in a stunning natural environment.

Taking a Soak, Both Inside and Outside

The art of taking a soak has been around for centuries, and it’s no wonder why. It’s a relaxing experience that allows you to wash away your worries and stresses. But what if you could take that experience to the next level? What if you could soak in the great outdoors, surrounded by natural beauty and breathtaking views? That’s exactly what you’ll get at Kosk Hot Springs in Big Bend, CA.

This natural wonder offers over 270 feet of crystalline waters, perfect for taking a dip and getting wet anywhere you please. The sandstone allows for quick evaporation, ensuring that there’s always fresh water to enjoy. The pool itself is 40 by 20 feet and features seven inches of sand at the bottom. The optimal temperature is around 100 degrees, which is perfect for those cooler days.

As you ease into the blissful surroundings, you’ll find yourself inspired by the vibrant redwoods and forest critters that roam freely. It’s a magical experience that will leave you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. And if you’re worried about human presence, don’t be. You’ll feel like you’re stealing this experience all for yourself.

But what about those who prefer a more traditional soak? The BHHS Bath House in Luna Park has been serving customers for over a century. With its classic architecture and basic temperature controllers, it’s the perfect place to unwind and relax. The Canoga Park Bath House is another great option, with its decent amenities and facilities.

Note on the Kid’s Pool

The children’s pool is no more than waist-deep, as it has to be accessed by means of a sturdy ladder set into natural stone. The sides of the pool are heavily lined with smooth rocks and gravel, with more lining the bottom, permitting safe swimming. The main pool is ideal for those who like to swim, though those wishing for a relaxing soak will love the larger hot bath, a stone enclosure about five to seven feet in diameter that sits in a cove next to the spring itself.

This level is shallow, perhaps only two to three feet deep at its maximum depth, making it low-key especially for smaller kids or anyone who doesn’t swim well. You’ll also notice decorative lighting at various points throughout this lovely space. A second hot bath is nestled within an open tent or pavilion constructed entirely of lush redwoods on a dirt patch just adjacent to the largest pool.


Discover the natural beauty of Northern California by camping near Kosk Hot Springs in Big Bend. Located off of Hydesville-Gerber Road just south of Main Road, this destination offers stunning views and a peaceful atmosphere. While Kosk itself is not currently open for overnight camping, there are still offsite locations available for those who want to spend the night in the area.

One option is to sleep in your car, which is allowed by Kosk. Another option is to camp in areas where overnight camping was once regularly permitted along the loop drive. These include an area just off of Illinois Creek Road across from the Hot Springs Campground on the way in by Substation 3 and another area just south of Three Rivers along Peru-Kennett Road. Be sure to check with park rangers to ensure that these options are still available.

When camping outside of the park’s campsites, it’s important to remember to be respectful of others around you. Some locations may ask you to leave by sunset or leave peacefully if asked by rangers on site. Additionally, hosts at each location requested that patrons not drink alcohol or bring dogs, so keep this in mind before planning your trip.

For those looking for even more camping options in the area, Summit Lake Road, Burney Falls, Pit River, and government timber land are all great destinations to explore. Mother Nature is truly on display in these areas, and camping spaces are available for those who want to fully immerse themselves in the natural surroundings.

Overall, camping near Kosk Hot Springs in Big Bend is an unforgettable experience. With stunning scenery and plenty of options for overnight stays, it’s a destination that nature lovers won’t want to miss.

Getting There

Getting to Kosk Hot Springs – Big Bend, CA is an adventure in itself. The journey from Carmel or any Central Coast starting point takes nearly six hours, all over winding, mountainous roads. It’s not an easy feat, but the reward is worth it.

One recommendation is to sleep in your vehicle after leaving Carmel or wherever you start, or simply try your luck. However, the drive is an opportunity to take in and enjoy the scenic route. There are a few notable stops along the way, such as Cannery Row in Monterey, a historic district worth exploring for a day or two. It’s important to plan accordingly for pot use and lock your car with valuables in the trunk before wandering off to look at fish and cannabis.

Another stop is Moss Landing, a quaint little harbor town with boat tours. But the real highlight is Pfeiffer State Park. This park is well-known for surf, sun, and soaking in hot springs. It contains one of only three hot springs within the national forest lands, making it a must-visit destination. The park is open year-round but generally closed after dark, so plan accordingly.

Once you reach Pfeiffer State Park, you’ll need to take dirt road, Forest Service Road 11, to get to Kosk Hot Springs. This road passes through private land, so it’s important to respect the rules and regulations in place. Be mindful of weather conditions, as heavy rain or snow can make the road impassable.

As you approach the hot springs, you’ll notice the Bank of Asia, a bank cliff made of concrete, which serves as a marker for the hot springs. The road transitions from concrete to gravel, and you’ll need to cross a small creek to reach the hot springs. Kosk Hot Springs is located in ancestral territory, so visitors are expected to show respect and care for the land.

Getting to Kosk Hot Springs is not an easy journey, but it’s an adventure worth taking. With its stunning scenery and hot springs, Pfeiffer State Park is a destination in itself. The journey on Forest Service Road 11 may be challenging, but it’s a small price to pay for the reward that awaits. Respect the land and enjoy the journey to Kosk Hot Springs.

My Kosk Visit, From Arrival to Departure

My visit to Kosk Hot Springs in Shasta County was a memorable one, made even better by the company of a partner-in-crime. We decided to pack light, but I would recommend bringing a light blanket, towels, and swimsuits. I even used my sleeping bag as a base layer and brought along a cooler with some snacks to keep us fueled for our barefoot trail walks.

Approaching Hydesville, the density of old redwoods along the road and other cars pulled over at a curve will pique your curiosity. As you round the bend, you’ll discover your Oasis of Solitude. The road turns from smooth to gravel, and while it may be bumpy, it’s all part of the adventure. I recommend using chains, even if you have a four-wheel-drive vehicle, as the conditions can be slick and snowy.

Allow yourself a minimum of four hours from arrival to departure, possibly more if you wish to stay overnight on-site. If camping overnight, eight hours would be ideal, since Kosk is a 40-minute drive from Hwy 101. If visiting only as a day trip, allow at least three hours including travel time and exploring the surroundings. The soaking pools are large and inviting, so plan more time if you want to fully unwind in one.

One final note: you’ll need a California Adventure Pass and $10 for parking at Kosk. While the pass isn’t cheap at $50 for a year, it’s necessary if you plan to visit any State Park along the Redwoods Coast. Overall, my time at Kosk Hot Springs was amazing, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for an escape in nature.

If visiting only day-trip style, allow at least three hours including travel time and exploring surroundings. But one hour minimum would be long enough for most though not ideal to fully enjoy it. The soaking pools are large and inviting, so plan more time for how quickly you wish to unwind in one.

A final note: you do need a California Adventure Pass —plus $10 if parking at Kosk– mind you the California Adventure Pass is good throughout the state should you decide to travel elsewhere. The pass isn’t cheap coming in at $50 for a year… but if you’re heading to any State Park along the Redwoods Coast , it’s necessary to have.

Bottom line

Generallyspeaking, Kosk Hot Springs are a fairly quick getaway if you‘re seeking respite from the hustle and bustle of highway travel along the I5 corridor in California. In fact, you can simply roll up off I5, snap some photos in the natural forest hot springs and pools, then hit the road again in maybe two hours.

However, if you treat this adventure like any other camping trip, you can employ its alcove status as a means to touch base with nature and yourself. Gather firewood and cook dinner around a roaring fire pit while drinking in the starry sky. Quietly listen to the sounds of nature around your private hideaway. Shasta is an ideal place to take respite from the noise of city life, whether it‘s to beat traffic on your daily commute or for a nottoodistant destination for an outoftown retreat or evening getaway with friends.

Consider adding Kosk to your bucket list for a mere two hours outside I5 or about four hours north via HWY 97.

Weather forecast for next 5 days

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Local information

Address: Based two miles north of Big Bend, California 96011
GPS: 41.116023,-121.862119
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.