Keough’s Hot Springs - Hot Springs in California

Owens Valley was the scene of the California Water Wars.

This hot spring pool has also been at the mercy of history.

California Water Wars

Just a 10-minute drive south of Bishop, the largest city in Inyo County, California, is Keough's Hot Springs.

Map 01

It consists of old-fashioned natural hot spring pools, RV park, and campground.

Old Bath 01

Originally used by the Native American Paiute tribe, whites began to settle in this area in the late 1800s.

Steam 01

The water temp was first measured in 1859 and recorded at 127 degrees F.

That has not changed significantly today.

Keough's Radium Hot Springs, CA

Keough’s Hot Springs was founded in 1919 by Philip P. Keough, who had an idea for a health resort.

Building 01

At the time, it was more than just a pool, but flourished greatly as a prestigious social gathering place for fishing, dining, dancing, events, and accommodations in cabins.

Entrance 02

It also had a beautiful orchard using hot spring water, where visitors could eat grapes, apples, pears, and peaches for free.

Office 01

In 1926, Keough sold the land and water rights to the City of Los Angeles.

Why Los Angeles?
Very far away.
Office 02

In fact, the City of Los Angeles was facing a shortage of water sources due to rapid expansion.

The mayor's fraudulent acquisition of land and water rights in the Owens Valley has been dubbed the California Water Wars because it disrupted the local economy and caused conflict.

Gift Shop 01

Once owned by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Keough's Hot Springs was subsequently leased on a short-term basis to various operators.

As a result, some have bitterly argued that maintenance and improvements are no longer made from a long-term perspective.

Time Travel

Changing Room 01

Now, Keough's Hot Springs has been at the mercy of such history.

Changing Room 02

The old-fashioned atmosphere was rather charming to me.

Ceiling 01

Separate men's and women's changing rooms by the pool.

The ceiling looking up from the changing rooms was also wonderful.

Outdoor Pool 01

It was a December visit, and the pool, surrounded by walls on all sides, was so fantastically steamy that it was impossible to get a full view.

Swimming 01

The swimming pool is 100 x 40 ft.

Outdoor Pool 03

Depths range from 3 to 8 and a half feet.

Outdoor Pool 02

The source of the intense steam was a facility that sprayed the geothermal water into the pool.

Spray 02

This kept the temperature of the swimming pool lukewarm, around 90 degrees F.

Hot Pool 01

Behind the spray system was a hot pool covered by a roof.

Hot Pool 02

This is the place to take your time and enjoy the water.

The 104 degrees F water was clear, colorless, tasteless, and odorless.

Water Temp 01

The landscape was enveloped in thick steam, and soaking was like stepping back in time.

Soaking 01


Keough's Hot Springs, Bishop, California, U.S.

My rating

Type: Walk-in, Lodging (campground)

Rule: Clothing required

Chemical use: Yes

Water temp: Up to 127 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!

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