Bashford's Hot Mineral Spa - Hot Springs in California

A spa resort below sea level.

Combined with a visit to the Salton Sea, known as the worst environmental destruction in California history.

Bombay Beach

The largest lake in California, Salton Sea is at minus 236 feet above sea level, the second lowest point in the Western Hemisphere after Death Valley.

This lake is not completely natural but originated when irrigation water flowed into the Imperial Valley during the flood of 1905.

During the 1950s and 1960s, the lakeshore became a popular resort area, and Bombay Beach became its center.

Bombay Beach 01

However, the lack of rivers flowing into the open sea led to pollution and salt condensation, resulting in mass fish and bird deaths in the 1980s.

The dry lake bed produces toxic dust that causes asthma in more than 20% of the children in the area.

To this day, the situation has not fundamentally improved, and Bombay Beach is a stinking ruin of dead fish.

Retiree's Paradise

Signboard 01

One of the reasons why the area around the Salton Sea once flourished as a resort area is the presence of hot springs.

Entrance 01

The first hot springs were discovered in 1938 by construction workers on the Coachella Canal for irrigation.

Entrance 02

In the 1940s, people from all over the U.S. who believed in the healing power of the water gathered, forming the "Old Spa."

Oasis 01

There, trailer houses and tents lined up around the pool, where songs and skits were said to be performed every night.

It's like a hippie commune.
I can only imagine.
Office 01

In 1964, the Old Spa closed, but its success spurred spa development in the surrounding area.

Trailer home 01

Bashford’s Hot Mineral Spa is an RV park built in 1963 on land across from the Old Spa.

Trailer home 01

Bashford’s, a little higher than the Salton Sea; below sea level at minus 87 feet above sea level.

Changing Room 01

Due to the extreme heat during the summer months, it is only open from October to May each year.

Bashford's Hot Mineral Spa
Bashford's Hot Mineral Spa

The park was lined with trailer houses of retirees who enjoy living in the desert.

Changing Room 02

There were two pools and six hot tubs on site even for walk-ins.

Soaking Area 01

The hot tubs were a distinctive structure with a single person-sized tub embedded directly into the ground.

Hot Pools 02

I changed into my swimsuit in the changing room/bathroom next door.

Hot Pools 01

The tubs were stair-stepped and appeared yellowish due to the color of the water and the deposits that adhered.

Hot Pools 03

The water outlets were located near the water surface, and plenty of fresh hot water was poured in.

Hot Pools 04

In addition, there were two hoses with thermal water coming out, probably for cleaning.

Soaking 02

The water, with a temperature of 150 degrees F at the gushing point, was 131 degrees F at the water outlet.

Water Temp 01

The water had no particular odor and had a salty taste.

Soaking 01

The hot water was very fresh and pleasant, although it was hard to find anything to block the direct sunlight.

Soaking 03


Bashford's Hot Mineral Spa, Niland, California, U.S.

My rating

Type: Walk-in, Lodging (RV park)

Rule: Clothing required

Chemical use: Not detected

Water temp: Up to 150 degrees F

Official website

  • Writer

Hot Springer Ken

A hot spring enthusiast based in Japan. Toured over 300 North American hot springs while working in Texas from 2016 to 2022. For updates, visit X or Instagram!

-, ,