You Can Hike To These Hidden Hot Springs in California With Pristine Turquoise Waters

You can't miss this gorgeous abandoned spot!

Georgia Staff Writer
​A woman swimming in the hot springs wearing a blue top. Right: A view from a Montecito Trail.

A woman swimming in the hot springs wearing a blue top. Right: A view from a Montecito Trail.

California is known for its scenic desert hikes, relaxing hot springs, and breathtaking natural beauty.

This hidden gem located just outside of Santa Barbara features turquoise soaking pools lined with natural stones and a hike with incredible views.

Montecito Hot Springs was once a resort and health spa in the late 1800s, but the Coyote fire that ripped through Southern California in 1964 brought things to a bitter end, and the resort was abandoned.

Prior to that, the mineral pools have been used by Chumash people for healing purposes for over 10,000 years. The Montecito Trails Foundation is dedicated to maintaining and restoring these sacred trails.

Today, the hot springs are a part of the Los Padres National Forest and are public land managed mostly by volunteers. Visitors are free to hike the convenient 3.7 mile loop trail to soak in one of the spring's seven pools.

Most visitors choose to enter through the 'Hot Springs Canyon Trailhead' which offers free parking. Trees overhead offer a shaded ceiling, periodically relieving you from the intense Californian heat.

Halfway through the trail, you can unwind in the pristine mineral waters, believed to offer medicinal qualities for thousands of years. The higher you climb, the warmer and clearer the geothermal waters get. Some pools get as hot as 111 degrees F.

The trail is open year-round, so brave hikers can even enjoy a swim during Southern California's mild winters if they desire. This undeveloped spot is also pet-friendly, so feel free to bring your four-legged friends with you as long as you keep them leashed.

Montecito Hot Springs

When: Year-Round

Address: 1202-1298 E. Mountain Dr., Montecito, CA

Price: Free

Why We Love It: These vibrant mineral pools are a gorgeous way to enhance your hiking experience.

Before you get going, check our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.

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