Montecito, California, where Prince Harry and Meghan have their mansion.
Did you know there is a hot spring near the upscale residential area?
Popularity under pandemic
It takes about one and a half hours from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara via Route 101.
One town before Santa Barbara is Montecito, where is the very exclusive residential area where Prince Harry and Meghan have their residence.
I heard that there was a hot spring in the mountains behind it, so went there.
I started hiking from Hot Springs Canyon Trailhead.
There was a free parking lot here, but it only has nine spaces.
Parking was once available along the adjacent Riven Rock Road until March 2021.
However, the pandemic has overheated the popularity of hot spring trips, and now street parking is no longer allowed in most places.
The trail, which was less than three miles round trip, was always crowded with hikers.
This road was named Hot Springs Road, and it leads to historic remains in the mountains.
It was recorded that soldiers visited the area in 1846 during the Mexican-American War, and by that time it was already a thriving hot spring resort.
Later, resort development proceeded, but it was destroyed by a forest fire in 1964, and there was no one to take over the business.
The trail eventually became a series of steep hills.
The second half of the trail was lined with water conduits along the trail.
This was not hot spring water, but fresh water for drinking.
At the end of the path, I crossed a mountain stream on the left and climbed a steep hill.
The water in this stream was cold and opaque.
It seemed to be related to geothermal springs.
I have reached a very high point.
Go to the pool at the top
When I found this sign, I have arrived at the hot spring.
Just like the water in the mountain stream earlier, it was cloudy but warm here.
Around the mountain path, water temp was lukewarm, but the further upstream I went, the higher the temperature became.
The stream was separated by stair-stepped pools.
The color of water became clearer at the top.
The spring water oxidized and turned cloudy after gushing out, and had a distinctive sulfur smell.
Hot water was flowing out of an iron pipe stuck in the rock wall.
Further upstream, a dry wash continued, and here a hot spring suddenly sprang up.
This pool was as hot as 111 degrees F, so not too many people tried to dip in.
Clothing is optional, but as this is a very popular place, you need to be considerate of surroundings.
Montecito Hot Springs (Hot Springs Canyon), Montecito, California, U.S.
Rule: Clothing optional
Water temp: Up to 111 degrees F