“There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won’t cure but I don’t know many of them.” – Sylvia Plath
Special thanks to a spur of the moment search on Atlas Obscura while making my way to Joshua Tree National Park (I never actually made it to the park) and I stumbled upon Remington Hot Spring in Kern County, California.
The events that unfolded were exactly as I’d imagine from a Hot Spring known to be decorated in eclectic hippie art and maintained by the locals as the last free public Hot Springs.
To get to the Hot Springs I had to take a windy dirt road (Old Kern Canyon Road)past the appropriately named Hobo Campground where signs urged me to be aware of possible Hula Hooping Hobos which may be crossing in the area.
Slightly past this campground there was a parking area with signs for hiking that was absolutely packed. I was slightly worried that I was getting myself into a tourist trap at this point, but decided to continue with the search. I got out of the car to change clothes and saw 2 bunnies hoping around, and they looked like cute little bunnies from a pet store, fancy bunnies, not the kind you’d expect to see in the middle of nature… I went to grab my camera, and when I looked back they were gone… but then I heard something behind me, and when I turned, a very dirty man with hardly any clothing was standing right behind me holding the two bunnies. I screamed and jumped about 10 feet in the air, before he started laughing and said he hadn’t mean to scare me and was only worried about his bunnies around the dog.
Longer story shorter: he’d spent the entire night soaking in the Hot Springs, and his pet bunnies and he were enjoying the beautiful day and having a rest before heading back down. He urged me to take the dog with me and pointed me in the direction of the Hot Springs.
A short 1/4 mile walk down the hill past lots of little drawings and signs, and I was at the Remington Hot Springs in all of their Glory! At first I was the only woman, and upon arrival there was not much clothing present at the Hot Springs but the guys were gentleman and made an effort to cover up a bit. Two of the men were travelling from Humboldt down the coast and meeting old friends at the Hot Springs.
The 3 pools were super cool to look at with the varying levels having different temperatures: hot tub, bath tub, and luke warm temps would be my best way to describe them.
They quickly became crowded as the friends showed up, and a few other people also had made the drive to check the springs out.
We ended up with a couple touring from Spain, not exactly sure how this came to be on their list, the two guys travelling from Humboldt, enjoying and afternoon with friends, and a man named Stevey-Bob who preferred to be called a “vagabond” and who had high hopes of moving to Battle Mountain in the summer to mine for crystals.
Yup, sounds about just the kind of adventure I’d get myself into on a Saturday afternoon of random exploring!
I didn’t get many pictures, as having phones out with other naked humans around seemed a bit taboo; but the Hot Springs were unique and a good way to kill a few hours of time and enjoy a new experience.
As it was my first Hot Springs experience, I won’t make a larger claim about ALL HOTSPRINGS being dirty, but despite efforts to keep them well maintained (which they were)… there is a lot of gunk floating around in that water.
I’m guessing that the Bunny Man soaking all night in the springs hadn’t helped the cleanliness of the water, and there was a debate between a local and Stevey-Bob about the pulp like substance floating in the water. One claimed sunscreens/lotions while the other claimed dead skin sloughed off by the sulfur.
Regardless, I left Remington Hot Springs smelling like rotten eggs, a bit grimy, and full of energy and feeling uplifted! The hot springs here are definitely not for those who aren’t willing to get a bit dirty and who don’t know how to be cool when they see some vagabond penis… but if you can handle both of those things, then you should definitely just come check them out 🙂