Gaviota Hot Springs
Location: Gaviota State Park, Santa Barbara County, CA
Miles: 1 mile
Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
Duration: 0.5 hour
Users: Hikers, mountain bikes, and horses permitted. No dogs. No wheelchair access.
If you drive up Highway 101 and go through the Gaviota Tunnel, you may not even know that there is a natural hot springs located just a mile from the highway. Gaviota Hot Springs offers a warm, blue sulfur water that attracts many bathers. The springs are located just a little ways off of the trailhead on the way to Gaviota Peak. This makes for a great detour if you have tired legs in need of a relaxing soak.
At the trailhead you will start hiking up a large fire road that climbs about 150 feet. You will come to a junction with another trail — turn left! The final junction leads you to flowing water, which is coming from the springs. Follow the water until you come to the hot springs.
The small springs have been built up using cement and there are now separate pools. The pool at the top is deep enough for bathing. The springs are definitely worth the short hike. There is a state park fee to enter the parking area and the path is only open for hikers.
Top 3 Adventure Hacks
1) Take a dip
Enjoy a quick dip in the hot spring! Don’t forget to dry yourself up after. Bring along an outdoor towel that doesn’t take much space and quick drying. Always pack light.
2) Wear proper gear
Always wear proper, comfortable gear when you take this trail. There is not much shade and a bit strenuous for beginner hikers. Be sure you’re prepared physically and gear-wise.
3) Stay hydrated
Bring enough water to keep you hydrated while you hike.