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  1. #1

    Default California Hot Spring Loop in April

    This April my husband & I are planning a CA road trip for 23 days (wooo hooo). We're from Ontario (Canada) - never been to CA. We're starting a loop at Palm Springs, up through the Sierras, over to the SF coast, down through LA and back to Palm Springs. Aspects of our route have been covered very well in several threads, which I've been reading with interest over the last couple of months (great site!). However, our trip has a couple of twists that I haven't found a great deal of information about. First, we are planning to visit several undeveloped hot springs along Hwy. 395 & the coastal area, and we plan to save money by doing some camping. The time of year makes this iffy - how many hot springs are actually accessible in the Sierras in April, and is (tent) camping in the Sierras (or even on the Coast) in April a c-c-coooold idea? We're also looking at off-the-beaten-track places to investigate, and any help with that would be great. All this being said, here is our itinerary (sorry for the length):

    April 7 - Palm Springs to Big Bear Lake
    April 8 - BBL to Hanford/Visalia
    April 9 - H/V to Sequoia, overnighting in Kernville, Lake Isabella (hot springs in this area)
    April 10 - LI to Lone Pine
    April 11 - LP to Bishop or Benton HS (hot springs accessible?)
    April 12 - BHS to Mammoth (skiing in April? hot springs accessible?)
    April 13 - M to Briidgeport or Markleeville (hot springs accessible?)
    April 14 - Sonora Pass or Ebbett's Pass or Lake Tahoe to Gold Country
    April 15 - Murphy's/Columbia to Yosemite
    April 16 - Yosemite
    April 17 - Yosemite to Merced/Modesto
    April 18 - M/M to Santa Cruz
    April 19 - SC to Monterey
    April 20 - M to Big Sur
    April 21 - BS to San Simeon (Hearst Castle - touristy, but gotta see it!)
    April 22 - SS to San Luis Obispo
    April 23 - SLO to Santa Ynez Wine Country (Gaviota hot springs)
    April 24 - SY to Ventura County (more hot springs)
    April 25 - VC to LA
    April 26 - LA to San Clemente
    April 27 - SC to Inland Empire
    April 28 - IE to Deep Creek Hot Springs near San Bernardino
    April 29 - SB to Palm Springs

    Whew! We're trying to take it slow, with short driving distances on most days, so that we have a chance to hike, quaff wine, & explore. Does all this sound crazy? Too much? We've investigated lots of state parks to camp throughout the route, but I don't know if they're even open (or warm enough) in April in the Sierras, & along the coast should we be looking at making reservations? Is April still the off-season? Any and all help & suggestions are appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
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    Default Been to many of them!

    Quote Originally Posted by Heatherette View Post
    This April my husband & I are planning a CA road trip for 23 days
    I love hot springs and think you are in for a great holiday. Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! Here is a great thread with info about Mono Hot Springs and here are some of the more enjoyable "undeveloped" springs in California and Nevada.

    Mark

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
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    3,318

    Default I think you've designed the type of trip you want

    It will be leisurely and full of interesting places to explore. And plenty of time to quaff. Good job!

    The website for the California State Parks should answer any questions you have on whether a park is open for camping. If you click on specific state parks, it should tell you the dates they are open. If you can't tell from that, you might try to make a reservation for the date you want to stay there. This will tell you when campsites are available to reserve. If none of these options seem to work, there are phone numbers to call. Hope this helps point you in the right direction.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
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    Las Vegas, Nevada
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    Default Some specific recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Heatherette View Post
    April 7 - Palm Springs
    Just about my favorite resort in the area is Sam's in Desert Hot Springs and even though Sam is gone and this is a developed pool system -- when you are in Palm Springs, you really ought to spend some time in that delicious water....
    overnighting in Kernville, Lake Isabella (hot springs in this area)
    For my money -- I think you will find the tranquility of McNallys Fairview Lodge (about 15 miles north of Kernville) a great option. Plus the steakhouse there has the best beef for miles around. I have always loved their slogan: "We do not Guarantee Steaks Cooked Past Medium" -- my kind of place -- a reverence for proper cooking temperatures for beef.... Also, (and I have never ordered this) -- the pride and joy of this steakhouse is called "The Logger" a 40-oz porterhouse.... (if you go, be sure to say howdy to the official hosts: Craig, Terry & Carol)
    April 11 - LP to Bishop or Benton HS (hot springs accessible?)
    Whitmore Tubs -- my suggestion for a good destination!
    April 12 - BHS to Mammoth (skiing in April? hot springs accessible?)
    Hot Creek is off-limits these days -- The caldera is getting too dangerously hot. It is shame -- fond memories of swimming under the ice floes in the winter months and still being too hot....
    April 13 - M to Briidgeport or Markleeville (hot springs accessible?)
    Markleeville is a developed hot springs
    April 14 - Sonora Pass or Ebbett's Pass or Lake Tahoe to Gold Country
    Neither pass will be open yet.... Ebbett's pass is my favorite route in the Sierras -- Awesome!!!!!

    Mark

  5. #5

    Default

    Thanks for the info everybody. Some I had read about already while perusing this site. Mono HS may be a bit out of our way, and the lodge/resort there doesn't open until May 15. That tells me it may be a bit cold for camping in the area. And I would hate to drive all the way there only to find it snowbound.

    Some Sierra state parks appear to be open in April, but open or not, shivering the night away in a tent is not my idea of fun (contrary to folklore, Canadians don't live in igloos :) ) Most private campgrounds don't appear to open until May or later.

    I guess I just don't know what to expect weatherwise. Is there still lots of snow early in April, or is spring well on the way? My husband, a skier, was hoping for a half day of skiing at Mammoth - is this ridiculous?

    As for hot springs, thanks for the tip on Whitmore (hadn't heard of that one). But I have read about two undeveloped ones near Markleeville - Riverside & Hillside. It's these obscure, remote hot springs that I wonder about. Will there be too much snow to drive or hike in? In the Whitmore link above, it mentions Red Meadow and the hot springs there, which I believe is near Devil's Postpile and Rainbow Falls. I thought I read that area is closed until May or June, so it may not be accessible. These are the loose ends of our itinerary.

    McNally's - yes! I've read about that (& their famous steaks) on several other threads. I'm a beef lover, but my husband (unfortunately) avoids red meat. I convinced him it would be a cool place to stay (and eat) when I found out there was a locally known hot springs behind it (Kernville Warm Springs). A good place to end the day!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
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    Las Vegas, Nevada
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    Default Mono -- "heaven on earth"

    Quote Originally Posted by Heatherette View Post
    And I would hate to drive all the way there only to find it snowbound.
    Agreed, but the reason go you to Mono has almost nothing to do with the lodge. There is wild spring located up the mountain about 1/4 mile (get a local to show you the trail) that is hands-down the most scenic in the Sierras.

    Mark

  7. #7

    Default

    I think it may be called "Little Eden HS".

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
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    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Little Eden it is

    Quote Originally Posted by Heatherette View Post
    I think it may be called "Little Eden HS".
    Yes, that is correct -- from inside the pool have a marvelous view of the Sierra Nevada eastern range.

    Mark

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