Five Palms Hot Springs - Hot Springs in California


After two and a half-hour drive east of San Diego, I came upon a picturesque oasis of palm trees in the dry Imperial Valley.

The water that was gushing there unbeknownst to people was a warm spring.

Salvation Mountain

Salvation Mountain 1

Today Salvation Mountain is one of the most famous tourist spots all over the world.

It is said that Leonard Knight (who died in 2014) spent 30 years living in this strange truck and created it all by himself.

Salvation Mountain 2

Initially, it was only an illegal building, but in 2002, its uniqueness and artistry were publicly recognized and it was registered as a state cultural asset.

Salvation Mountain is a veritable oasis in the desert, filled with extreme colors and religious messages.

Sinking pond

A 40-minute drive from Salvation Mountain, a real oasis of lush palm trees appeared.

Palms 1

You have to pass through a desert covered with silky sand to get to the oasis, and if you accidentally park your car, you risk getting stuck.

The maximum temperature in the Imperial Valley is over 100 degrees F in the summer, so getting stuck is a matter of life and death.

Visit with a four-wheel drive vehicle, and stop once you find the hard ground.

Palms 2

Underneath the palm trees was a pond about 20 inches deep that could hold about 10 people.

Palms 3

I could see the spring water gushing up from a pipe installed at the bottom near the center of the pond.

The water temp at the gushing point was a lukewarm 91 degrees F, and there was no peculiar smell.

There were small fish swimming around; there was little human waste, and it was kept in a relatively clean state.


Clothing is optional.

When I visited, there was an elderly man soaking alone, completely naked.

When I approached him, he seemed to be the janitor of the hot spring and claimed that he was the one who installed the pipe that serves as the water outlet.

Soaking 01

I half-heartedly followed the old man's advice and blocked the pipe with my hand, and lo and behold!

The bottom of the pond suddenly caved in and my legs were buried up to my knees.

Legs Sinking
It's scary.
It's just scary enough.

If the pipe was not installed, water would gush out from everywhere and it would be like a bottomless swamp.

Thanks to the unique mechanism, the hot spring in the oasis is unexpectedly enjoyable and continues to gush forth with almost no one knowing about it.


Five Palms Hot Springs (Warm Well Oasis), Yuma, California, U.S.

My rating

Type: Undeveloped

Rule: Clothing optional

Chemical use: No

Water temp: Up to 91 degrees F

  • 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!

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