Found within the coveted Anza Borrego Desert State Park is the Agua Caliente County Park, a desert oasis offering cozy, all-natural mineral hot springs and plenty of picturesque hiking trails. It’s the ultimate California getaway for outdoor enthusiasts that genuinely want to connect with nature in a way they’ve never done before.
This hot springs destination was first discovered by the Kumeyaay Indians, who were drawn to the abundance of water the land had to offer. In 1775, the water was found by Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza. At that point, the springs were named “Agua Caliente,” which means “hot water” in Spanish.
Since then, Agua Caliente has intrigued visitors near and far. Located approximately 100 miles from San Diego, it’s a must-see destination for those visiting San Diego County in search of good times, pleasure, and rejuvenation.
Mineral Hot Spring Pools
The mineral hot springs are the main draw to the Agua Caliente County Park. There are three delightful spring-fed options to choose from, including two outdoor pools (one specifically crafted for children’s enjoyment) and an indoor jacuzzi.
The indoor spa features steamy temperatures up to 102°F and is designed with glass walls to offer magnificent views of the desert plains and mountains. Here, you’ll get lost in a world of relaxation as the jets thumb against your skin, creating an underwater massage you won’t soon forget.
One of the perks of enjoying the hot springs at Agua Caliente County Park is the schedule. The indoor spa has an adults-only hour each day, the perfect time for guests 21 and over to unwind without the kiddos nearby. There are also timeframes reserved for campers only, ensuring overnight guests get full (and somewhat secluded) access to the pools and spa
Hiking devotees will appreciate the fact that Agua Caliente spans a whopping 910 acres, each acre sporting a marvelous desert scheme. With plenty of land, canyons, and hillsides to discover, it’s unsurprising that Agua Caliente is a hiker’s paradise.
While meandering through the vast lands, hikers will be met with a beautiful assortment of wildflowers and succulents during spring and year-round lush plant life, including Washington Palms and acacias.
Don’t be surprised if you run into some immense wildlife along the trail. In Agua Caliente County Park, it’s not uncommon to find all types of animals, from big horn sheep to coyotes and beyond.
Pack a picnic – there are lots of spots to sit under the sun and enjoy the breathtaking views set before you!
Agua Caliente County Park is well-known for its hot springs and hiking trails, but it’s also renowned for its incredible camping opportunities. In fact, it has been named one of San Diego County’s “most popular” camping destinations.
The park offers 140 campsites to choose from, including those with full or partial hook-ups. There are also tent sites for those who prefer to “be one with nature,” as well as large caravan sites for larger groups.
No tent or RV? No problem. Agua Caliente offers seven upstanding, 320-square-foot cabins to choose from, each with temperature controls, a table, and two queen-sized bed frames. Keep in mind that mattresses and linens are not provided; you’ll need to bring your own.
*Reservations are required.
Address: 39555 Great Southern Overland Stage Route1849, Julian, California 92036