Like I said before, we had changed our plans and were traveling through the forest on a really sunny day with a clear blue sky, when we all felt like bathing in the river, and while walking slowly downstream along the riverbank we suddenly discovered an old worn-out sign, which faintly read, “Crabtree Hot Springs.” The sign pointed to an unfamiliar rocky trail that followed the river, staying on the north side.
“Hmm…now this sounds interesting…I wonder how far do we have to walk?” we all said.
Crabtree Hot Springs turned out to be not far at all – only about a quarter mile easy hike from an adequately maintained forest road, in a beautiful narrow winding steep walled canyon, and it’s actually a cluster of four natural hot springs. Three of the springs are aligned together in one area at a large swimming hole, while the fourth is about 60 feet back upstream at the narrowest section of the canyon.
Rocks, gravel & mud, plus sandbags for a foundation were used to keep the colder river water out of one area, and another spring had been concreted to form a small bathtub, with an old tennis ball to plug & seal the drain.
Luckily for us, the largest of the three hot springs had been dug out and sandbagged, which created a shallow pool that was available for soaking. We all got naked, smoked a bowl, relaxed, and enjoyed a carefree day at the springs. Many hours later, as we were leaving, a couple of other friendly folks arrived in a Honda Accord.
But anyways, we had fun visiting Crabtree Hot Springs, and “Thank you, thank you, thank you!” to whoever sandbagged the river. We’ll be back!
Report on Crabtree from July 2011 + more photos.
p.s. Along the public roadway just up the hill from the springs we found a huge eyesore of junk & trash.
Then we went to Bear Creek Campground USFS – it’s FREE & OPEN all year, and only about 6 miles northwest of the hot springs.
BELIEVE IT OR NOT! According to U.S. Federal copyright law, nature photos are the property of the photographer, even if the nature photos were taken while trespassing.
Trespassing is illegal, nature photos are not.
And by the way, for this visit, before heading out to Crabtree, we first stopped by the USFS District Office in Upper Lake to ask about road conditions to the hot springs, and learned from the Forest Rangers that the private property owner was currently in the hospital with a long-term illness, her boyfriend was gone and that there was no caretaker at the hot springs. We got the whole life story. The Rangers also said that the road was okay. They were very helpful.
Now we have plenty of legal nature photos of Crabtree Hot Springs to share with the world wide web. All in the public domain. And we’ll be back! So put that in your pipe & smoke it!
May the pools at Crabtree Hot Springs be forever protected and kept pure, for use in balance, by all who would seek them out!
Rice Fork Eel River @ Crabtree Hot Springs, California, USA