Mercey Hot Springs – Los Banos, California

Mercey Hot Springs is a hidden gem in the Central Valley of California. This natural hot springs is located along the Mercey Creek and has been enjoyed by locals for decades. While it’s not well known outside of the Central Valley, this area has much to offer those who are adventurous and willing to seek it out.

The Mercey Hot Springs area is located in the small town of Los Banos, just off of Highway 145. This area is surrounded by farms and fields, and there are some private property signs along the way. However, this area has been a place for locals to go for recreation for decades. Just be respectful when visiting and don’t trespass on private property.

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about Mercey Hot Springs such as how to get there, what amenities are available, what activities are available in the area, directions from popular destinations, best times to visit, how to get a camping permit, what other hidden spots are nearby, and much more.

Getting to Mercey Hot Springs

Mercey Hot Springs – Los Banos, California
Mercey Hot Springs – Los Banos, California

There are several different ways to get to Mercey Hot Springs. The first way is to take Highway 145 from Los Banos (about a 20-minute drive). Then, once you reach the intersection with Old County Road, turn left onto Old County Road and continue for about five miles. You’ll then see a sign pointing to Mercey Hot Springs on the left-hand side of the road. Follow this road for about two miles until you see a large dirt parking lot on your right-hand side.

The second way to get to Mercey Hot Springs could be considered an adventure. From Highway 152 near Planada (about a 40-minute drive), take Old 152 Highway heading northeast. This road is also known as Wildcat Road and is an unpaved road that heads into the wilderness. This road is popular among off-road vehicle enthusiasts and can be rough in spots. However, if you have an all-wheel drive vehicle, it should be able to handle it just fine.

Continue on this road for six miles until you reach the intersection with Mercey Hot Springs Road on your right-hand side (there will be signs for Mercey Creek Campground). Turn right onto this dirt road and follow it for about two miles until you reach the large dirt parking area next to Mercey Creek where Mercey Hot Springs is located.

What to expect?

There are a few different areas at Mercey Hot Springs. There is the main area where there are pools of hot and warm water of various sizes that have been formed by the creek. Further upstream, there is a large natural pool formed by the creek. And finally, there is a large dam where you can find more pools of varying temperatures.

The main spot here is where all of the action is located. This is where you will find the largest pool that is filled with hot and warm water from the creek. This pool is lined with smooth rocks and there are several spots that you can access to dip your toes in or to sit and relax in the water.

There are also several areas to sit in the sun or enjoy the night sky here, because this spot does get quite popular on weekend days. There are clusters of smooth rocks that are perfect for soaking away your stress and enjoying nature. You’ll also find some debris such as cans, glass, bottles, etc., so just be mindful not to step on anything while enjoying this area.

Hot Springs

Mercey Hot Springs – Los Banos, California
Mercey Hot Springs – Los Banos, California

Mercey Hot Springs offers visitors a diverse selection of revitalizing hot spring water places around the resort. The primary feature of this resort is its therapeutic hot tubs, which are filled with mineral water that has been heated geothermally and ranges in temperature from 102 to 106 degrees Fahrenheit. Guests can soak and relax in these tubs.

In addition, the resort features bathhouses, which each have their own private indoor tubs for guests to relax in. In addition to these, the property also includes a conventional swimming pool that is treated with chlorine and a dry sauna.

While clothing is needed for the most part throughout the resort, there are areas of the therapeutic hot tubs and the indoor bathhouses where it is acceptable to remove your clothes and relax. The springs’ geothermal water is rich in a variety of minerals, the most prevalent of which is sodium chloride, also known as salt. These minerals are carried in the water by the springs.


Glamping at Mercey Hot Springs – Los Banos, California
Glamping at Mercey Hot Springs – Los Banos, California

Mercey Hot Springs is a fully operational resort that provides its guests with a variety of lodging options, including standard campsites, cottages, airstreams, and even a larger group home.

Both tents and recreational vehicles are welcome at the campgrounds here. Although the RV sites have electric hookups, the resort does not allow guests to use their air conditioners or heaters because the majority of the facility’s power comes from solar panels.

The cabins on the site are very modest, with simply a queen-sized bed and a few other essential pieces of furniture inside each one. Bathrooms are not included in the cabins, however they are located a short distance away (between 25 and 75 feet). Every room in the lodge is special in its own way, with its own distinctive name and amenities.

The resort has two completely furnished Airstream trailers for guests who are looking for a more comfortable accommodation option. These Airstreams come equipped with real kitchens and toilets in addition to a television that is mounted on a flat screen. In addition, each airstream has a deck equipped with a propane barbecue and a fire pit that may be used at certain times of the year.

Last but not least, the resort has one group house that guests can rent out. This house has two bedrooms, a full kitchen, and a bathroom with a bathtub and a shower. This group house, known as Walkabout, has a maximum capacity of four people and is conveniently located a short distance from all of the other Mercey Hot Springs facilities.

Even though there is no restaurant on the site of the resort, there are snacks accessible in the office where registration is done. The next town, Los Banos, provides both a supermarket and a number of eating establishments to choose from.


In addition to full massage services, Mercey Hot Springs also offers yoga courses to its guests. In addition to this, the resort features a free disc golf course with nine holes that is available to all visitors.

The entire 144-acre property, including any pathways established by humans or animals, is open for guests to explore at their leisure. There is a Bureau of Land Management access road located less than a mile from the entrance to the resort, which provides access to miles of trails and roads that can be explored by those who are looking for longer and more challenging walks. At the Mercey Hot Springs registration office, you’ll find trail maps for the BLM region that you may take with you.

In addition to its remote location, Mercey Hot Springs features a low to nonexistent level of light pollution, which enables visitors to enjoy unsurpassed opportunities for stargazing.

While the Mercey Hot Springs are the main attraction in this area, there are plenty of other things to do in the area. To start, there are several hiking trails that go through the Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve. The Preserve has over 17,000 acres of open space, and there are several trails that range from easy to difficult.

The Azul Trail is one of the easier hikes in this area. It’s just under 2 miles long and has several scenic viewpoints along the way. The trailhead is located at the Los Banos city limit sign and is easily accessible from Highway 145.

The Azul Peak Trail is a bit more difficult and will take you to the top of Azul Peak. This trailhead is located at the end of Forest Road 8N11, which can be reached by taking Highway 152 east out of Los Banos for about 7 miles.

There are also several equestrian trails throughout the preserve that you can enjoy on horseback such as the North Ridge Trail, South Ridge Trail, Ridge Top Trail, and South Ridge Trail.

Directions from Major Cities and Areas

Mercey Hot Springs is located in the small town of Los Banos, about 40 minutes south of Modesto, 60 minutes south of Fresno, and 120 minutes east of San Francisco. There are plenty of ways to get to Los Banos, but it’s easiest if you have a car. Public transportation is limited in the area, and it’s not easy to get around without a vehicle.

Los Banos is located along Highway 145. There are several places to exit for Mercey Hot Springs and other recreation areas along this highway. The exit for Mercey Hot Springs is right at the town’s sign. It’s not a well-marked exit, so keep an eye out for it.

From San Francisco, it takes about 2 hours to get to Los Banos via Highway 99 and Highway 120 (this route is one way). From Los Angeles, it takes about 3 hours via Highway 5 and Highway 99 (this route is one way). From Sacramento, it takes about 1 hour 20 minutes via Highway 99 and Highway 145 (this route is one way).

Best Times to Visit

While Mercey Hot Springs is open year-round, the best time to visit will depend on what type of experience you’re looking for. The area is popular during the summer, especially on the weekends. However, this is also the coldest time of year and can be quite chilly.

The spring is most crowded on the weekends during the summer and early fall. However, if you are looking for a quiet visit without many people around, the late fall and winter months are the best times to visit. During this time of year, temperatures are cooler and it rains more. During my visit in September, it sprinkled a bit but there were still plenty of people visiting because of how warm it was. If you like hot springs that are warm like bath water, late fall and winter months might be for you.

Spring and early summer are also popular times to visit because of how green the area is due to all of the spring rain. The region looks lush with greenery and wildflowers in full bloom during this time of year.

How to Get a Camping Permit

If you’re interested in camping at the Mercey Hot Springs area, the first thing you’ll need to do is acquire a permit from the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) office. As previously mentioned, this area is not managed by the CDFW.

The BLM office is open Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 4:30pm. You can stop by the Los Banos District Office located at 1085 E. 8th Street in Los Banos or you can call them at 209-826-4196 to request a permit.

Permits are free and can be acquired quickly by visiting the BLM office or calling them. You will only need to provide your name and a home address, not a mailing address. Permits can be picked up on the same day as requested or within 14 days of requesting one.

The Mercey Hot Springs area is managed by the BLM, so you will need to obtain a permit before setting up camp in this area. There are no fees associated with obtaining a permit and they will be able to issue one quickly if you stop by their office or call them to request one.

Other Spots Nearby

With the Mercey Hot Springs area comes opportunities for other adventures. There are a few places nearby that are worth checking out, and some even offer camping.

The Los Banos Swimming Hole is a popular spot for locals and visitors, but it’s a bit of a drive. This swimming hole is located in the small town of Los Banos near the San Benito County line. It’s situated along McHenry Dam, which creates Lake Del Valle. In addition to being a popular swimming hole, it’s also a popular fishing spot.

The Los Banos Swimming Hole is open to the public and free of charge, but there are no lifeguards on duty, so be careful while swimming here. The area has picnic tables and grills where you can have a picnic lunch after swimming or fishing. This place can get busy on hot summer days, so plan to go early or late in the day if you don’t like crowds. Make sure to bring cash if you want to use the bathrooms or concessions as they don’t accept credit cards or checks.

To get to the Los Banos Swimming Hole from Mercey Hot Springs, take Highway 145 east toward Los Banos for about 9 miles until you reach Lake Street/County Road M2 (signs will point toward McHenry Dam). Turn right onto Lake Street and follow this road until it dead-ends at the dam and parking area.

Tips and Tricks for Visiting

While this area is not well known outside of the region, it is a place that has been enjoyed by locals for decades. Surrounded by farms and fields, this hidden gem offers a chance to get away from it all and enjoy the natural wonders of nature.

However, this area has not always been protected and has gone through some hard times. During the drought, this area was actually closed off to visitors. Thankfully, the springs were recently re-opened and now locals and visitors alike can enjoy this amazing place.

The best time to visit Mercey Hot Springs depends on what you are planning on doing while you’re there. For example, if you plan on just visiting the hot springs during the weekdays in winter when fewer people are there. However, if you plan on camping or having a group visit during spring or summer when more people are visiting because of better weather conditions then you should plan on visiting on weekends when there are fewer people at the hot springs due to crowds.

Bottom line

The Mercey Hot Springs in Los Banos, California is a unique and beautiful destination to explore and enjoy. With its geothermal pools, wildlife, and stunning views, it is the perfect spot for a relaxing getaway.

Whether you are looking for a short trip or a longer stay, the Mercey Hot Springs will provide you with an unforgettable experience. With its wide variety of activities, there is something for everyone. So what are you waiting for? Grab your bag and head out to the Mercey Hot Springs for an unforgettable adventure!

Weather forecast for next 5 days

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Local information

Address: 62964 Little Panoche Rd, Firebaugh, California 93622
GPS: 36.7045135,-120.859787
Phone: 209-826-3388
Season: Year round