[1]Advertisement [spacer.gif] [2]Advertisement o sf life June 14, 2000 [3]news | [4]a+e | [5]sf life | [6]extra | [7]sfbg.com Jump to: [8]sfbg.com the site of san francisco [9]altcity.com talk back [10]Best of the Bay 25th annual [dotclear.gif] Contents: Southern California Beaches (by county) [11]Fresno [12]Imperial [13]Inyo [14]Kern [15]Los Angeles [16]Madera [17]Mariposa [18]Mono [19]San Bernardino [20]San Diego [21]San Luis Obispo [22]Santa Barbara [23]Tuolumne [24]Ventura [25]Northern California Beaches [26]Skinnies 2000 [27]Picks 2000 [28]Beyond the Beach [29]Addresses of the Undressed [30]Thanks [31][title_sm.gif] [titleso.gif] MONO COUNTY [couple_walking.jpg] BUCKEYE HOT SPRING Recommended! Improved directions! Because it features a waterfall, several springs along a very cold creek, a soaking pool near the parking lot, another pool below the lot, a cave, and excellent fishing, this Bridgeport-area attraction has been gaining in popularity, especially among families. "It was really nice," says former East Bay resident Steve Holzer, who skied half the way from the nearest highway on Christmas Day 1998. But don't come in spring or early summer. Steve Williams, of Sparks, Nevada, found the site "very disappointing" when he showed up this May. "The upper pool was only about a foot deep and the two lower pools were under the river," he reports. See our note under Problems about this condition, which usually ends by late June. The trail tends to be slippery. Rating: A. Legal status: Toiyabe National Forest. How to find it: From Bridgeport, go west on Twin Lakes Road 7.3 miles, until you see Doc and Al's Resort. Turn right onto a two-lane road (FS 017). Follow it three miles to the second bridge, where it comes together with FS 038. Do not take FS 038, which leads to Buckeye Campground. Instead, stay on FS 017 and drive up the hill a few minutes to the parking lot. The other route to the springs directly from Highway 395 is to be avoided at all costs: Holzer describes it as "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride from hell." Follow the path down, turning right past the clearing, to the springs. Camping is OK in the clearing past the bridge and along the road before the bridge. The beach: In addition to several springs next to a creek, there is also a shallow (see Williams' description above) pool next to a tree near the parking lot and a newer lukewarm pool below that. The crowd: Families, singles, and couples, including clad and unclad bathers, all use this area. Most visitors prefer the upper pool. Problems: From late April to late June (even later in wet years), pools by the creek are washed away by cold, runoff-driven creek water; upper pool tends to be too hot, cold, or shallow, and very crowded; trail to creek is steep and slippery ("I fell twice and almost everyone that came down fell at least once," Williams says); dirt roads. TRAVERTINE HOT SPRINGS Recommended! Improved directions! Would you like four soaking pools to choose from, including one that, with assistance, is wheelchair-accessible? Then visit Travertine Hot Springs, where an additional former pool appears to be under reconstruction. Like other Bridgeport area springs, Travertine can be a teen party spot or overpopulated with adults on holidays. Dirt roads going in can be rocky, rutted, or muddy. But if you take it very slow, you can get here in a regular passenger car. "Visitors rarely wear bathing suits," regular user Steve Holzer says. Rating: A. Legal status: Bureau of Land Management property. How to find it: From Bridgeport, drive south on Highway 395 for .5 miles. Turn left onto Jack Sawyer Road. Follow it .3 miles until the road begins to curve to the right. Turn left on the dirt road here. Follow it 1.4 miles, taking the right fork in the road after you've come to a sign for Bridgeport Barrow Pit. As the road climbs, you'll pass two more Forest Service signs before reaching a small parking area for the springs. The beach: The upper pool is wheelchair-accessible. Three other pools are below a big rock. "The water wasn't very warm in any of my eight trips this year," Steve Williams says. Litter can be a problem. The crowd: On most weekends, in the late afternoon and evening, expect 5 to 10 nude soakers and sunbathers. Holzer counted a dozen users on a Saturday in April. At night, though, the pools may be packed. At 8 p.m. this Memorial Day weekend on a Sunday, the crowd soared to 19, according to Williams. Problems: Bad roads, pools crowded at night, teen partyers, beer cans, pools need to be rebuilt every few years due to seismic damage and bacteria problems, chemical toilet closed or removed from time to time, water flows out hot but because it is often diverted by users from pool to pool, it becomes lukewarm. HOT TUB Improved directions! "The Tub is a little hot for some people, but it's a really nice spring," a recent visitor says. At night, use of the deep, rock-walled pool soars. Of six clothing-optional sites in the hot creek area of Mammoth Lake, the Hot Tub is the closest to Highway 395. It can hold up to six people. Rating: C. Legal status: Bureau of Land Management land. How to find it: From Highway 395, south of the turnoff for Mammoth Lakes, go east on Benton Crossing Road. About .3 miles past Whitmore Hot Springs, look for a gravel road (3S50) on your left. Follow it 1.1 miles to the second one-lane dirt road on the right. Turn right and go .1 mile until you come a clearing. Then veer left again onto a faint dirt road. You will come to the pool just .1 mile later. The beach: The water is so hot that it takes a long time to cool down. True to its name, the tub even has a plug so that visitors can let the water out, clean the tub, and refill it. Though rather spartan, the site has three small concrete blocks for sitting. The crowd: "The people here were excellent," May visitor Steve Williams comments. "But I counted eight in a tub that holds six." It can be even more crowded at night. Problems: May be very hot, crowded, and noisy. WILD WILLIE'S HOT SPRING Also called Crowley Hot Spring, Wild Willie's has so many fans that Steve Williams discovered teenagers had basically "taken it over" during a May visit. One reason why it draws users: the site has two pools, including one that can hold several dozen people. The biggest pool, which is less than 20 years old, sports a deck and a bench. In fact, the creek runs right through the pool and deck. Don't come here, though, unless you can stand some fairly hot water. Rating: A. Legal status: Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) land. How to find it: From Highway 395, south of the turnoff for Mammoth Lakes, go east on Benton Crossing Road. Instead of turning left to the Hot Tub (see [32]Hot Tub entry), continue another 1.7 miles east until you see a cattle guard. Take either of the two dirt roads that go to the right here. Go 1.1 miles. Bear right at the boulder and then quickly veer left at the fork. Exactly .3 miles farther, park in the lot. Keep following the trail (another joins it) until it takes you to one pool on the left and another on the right. The beach: Everyone loves the big pool at Willie's. The smaller pool on the left holds six people, but is often overgrown with algae. When it's not, it makes a fun place for a natural mud bath. The crowd: Expect to find no more than 10 people, almost all of them nude. Problems: Loud teens may be encountered, algae in small pool, hot water, dirt road, driving beyond the lot may damage your car. PULKY'S POOL Also known as Hilltop, Pulky's gets rave reviews from many visitors. "It's the best pool of them all because of the incredible view in every direction, and because of the cold water pipe," veteran hot springer Steve Holzer says. You can look out over the mountains from this small, rock-walled hot tub east of Mammoth. The pool also features a deck and a bench where you can put your clothes. Pulky's even has warm- and cold-water controls so you can set the temperature to your liking. Rating: B. Legal status: LADWP land. How to find it: Follow directions to previous entry. Instead of turning right past the cattle guard, continue east on Benton Crossing Road .2 miles, until you see a dirt road on the left. Take it .4 miles to the parking area and follow the wood planks to the tub. The beach: The pool is larger than the Hot Tub. It's clean and fairly new. But this May, the soaker was only two feet deep. For an interesting and quite "doable" experience (the walk is just a quarter mile from the parking spot), try visiting with snow on the ground. The crowd: Pulky's can accommodate four to six users. Problems: Dirt road, surrounding area mucky (stay on wood planks). CRAB COOKER Mammoth's Crab Cooker is well named. Although the temperature of the springs is supposed to be adjustable, in practice the water that spills into the little pool is usually very hot. Be careful when adding more water (by turning a lever on the soaker's pipe), because the pool does not cool down quickly. "But if you really like hot water, there's nothing wrong with the Crab Cooker," a visitor says. Also use caution when releasing water. This Memorial Day weekend and the week before, the pool had only six inches of water. Rating: C. Legal status: LADWP land. How to find it: Follow directions to the Hot Tub (see [33]Hot Tub entry). Continue on the gravel road (3S50) another .9 miles. Look for a single juniper tree to the right of the road. Just before the tree, go right and travel .1 mile on a road that will become dirt. It will then veer left around a pile of white rocks. About .2 miles past the rocks, you will come to a spot where four dirt roads converge. Go straight a half mile to the end of the road. The beach: Just a spring-fed pool that can hold four people comfortably. The surrounding area is flat and barren. The crowd: Probably just you. Problems: Dirt roads, water often too hot, small size. SHEPHERD HOT SPRING Improved directions! Like the next entry, Shepherd is a clothing-optional site with built-in benches. The 107-degree pool is just three-quarters of a mile from the Crab Cooker. Depending on your tastes, Shepherd may seem the right size (it holds three) or too small. This May, a visitor discovered the overflow drains plugged and the water stagnant with debris. If you find this to be the case, check for a tennis ball plug at the bottom of the pool. A scrub brush should also be present there. Rating: C. Legal status: Believed to be LADWP land. How to find it: See directions for the [34]Hot Tub. From the intersection of Benton Crossing Road and 3S50, go left on 3S50 and travel 2.6 miles. Then take a right on the dirt road and go .5 miles to the hot springs, in a clearing to the left. Or, from the Crab Cooker, go back the way you came. When you reach the place where the four dirt roads come together, go right .2 miles to Shepherd. The beach: It consists of a spring-fed pool surrounded by brush. The crowd: It may be just you. Problems: Small size, dirt roads, very hot water, may be dirty. LIL' HOT CREEK Recommended! Improved directions! If you don't mind crowds, including a few suited families from time to time, then you may like Lil' Hot Creek, which is regarded by naturist Steve Williams as "the best in the (Mammoth) area." It has several built-in seats that allow you to mellow out at various depths, plus a plug that can be used to control the water temperature, which tends to be pretty hot. Rating: A. Legal status: Believed to be U.S. Forest Service property. How to find it: See directions for [35]Hot Tub entry. From the intersection of Benton Crossing Road and S350, take a left on S350 and go 3.3 miles. Just before you come to Owens River Road, you will see a cattle-loading area. Go left on Owens .7 miles to Little Antelope Road. After Antelope, continue on Owens about .5 miles to the first dirt road after Antelope. Turn left and slowly follow the dirt road until you see a small pond on the left. Keep bearing right about 100 yards until you come to a parking area next to a fence. Park there and walk through the gate in the fence. Cross the steamy creek on planks that will lead you to the pool. We thank Williams for these improved directions. For four more ways in (over bumpier roads), see "Hot Springs And Pools Of The Southwest," by Marjorie Gersh-Young. The beach: "Whoever built this had experience in building swimming pools," says Williams, of Sparks, Nevada. The six-person pool features several seats at different levels, plus a pipe that may be opened or plugged to regulate the heat. The crowd: "When I arrived the week before, there were eight of us," Williams reports. "That was nothing compared to Memorial Day weekend." He counted 26 arrivals in 90 minutes, including up to 16 people in and around the packed tub at one time. Problems: Huge holiday crowds, water may be very hot, bumpy roads, unknown legal status. FALES HOT DITCH About 13 miles north of Bridgeport, drivers on Highway 395 whiz by a narrow, thigh-high hot pool, oblivious to its existence. The site is obscured by a small cliff. The dammed-up soaker is located across the road from some boarded-up buildings of the old Fales Hot Springs Resort. Water spills from the resort at a sizzling 140 degrees, but gradually cools as it washes down Hot Springs Creek. Use is clothing-optional, but many visitors like to wear a bathing suit or keep one nearby. Not everyone likes Fales. "The water was so hot and it stunk of sulfur so bad that I didn't even go in," hot springs enthusiast Steve Holzer says. "Plus there was no view." Rating: C. Legal status: Unknown. How to find it: From Bridgeport, take Highway 395 north 13 miles to a group of old wooden buildings with a No Trespassing sign on the west side of the road. Drive .3 miles north, then park on the shoulder on the east side of 395. When you park and look over the bluff on the east side of the road, you'll see the creek and pool. A Forest Service campground is seven miles away. The beach: Surrounded by sagebrush and foothills, this spot features a large rock-and-sand pool on a warm creek. The elevation is 7,200 feet. The crowd: It varies in size; often it's just you. Problems: No Trespassing signs posted nearby, very hot water, sulfur smell, proximity to roadway, unknown legal status, 13 miles to nearest services in Bridgeport. DEEP CREEK HOT SPRINGS Highly recommended! Closed in August 1999 after a 63,000-acre blaze scorched surrounding hills, tantalizing Deep Creek Hot Springs reopened in late May, much to the delight of skinny-dippers. Its half-dozen pools of warm, bubbling water are regarded as California's (and perhaps America's) best hot springs. Even better news than the reopening: the Willow Fire did not burn vegetation around the springs. The wonderful soaking pools here have different temperatures. Save an hour for a drive from Los Angeles, plus 30 minutes for a steep, somewhat slippery hike in and 45 minutes for the walk back. Drinking water and trail shoes are essential. Don't forget to read on for directions to several more skinny-dipping springs along Deep Creek. Rating: A. Legal status: Part of the San Bernardino National Forest. "As for nudity, we don't have any restrictions there," says Ruth Wenstrom, public affairs officer for the National Forest. How to find it: From Barstow, follow Highway 15 south, past Victorville, to Hesperia. Take Main Street for 7 miles, through Hesperia. After the Silverwood Lake sign, turn left onto Rock Spring Road. Follow Rock Spring 2.5 miles, turn left onto Kiowa Road, continue .5 miles, and go right onto Roundup Way. When Roundup becomes dirt, travel 1.2 miles and turn right onto Bowen Ranch Road. Follow it 5.5 miles, staying to the right at each fork, until you come to a chain blocking the road. Toot your horn and someone from Bowen Ranch will come out to collect a $3 toll. Park a third of a mile down the road. If you wish, you may also camp here. Except for a fire ring, the campsites are nearly barren; bring everything with you, including water. Take the two-mile long trail, which descends 800 feet, down to the creek and springs. The beach: Deep Creek has three large pools and several smaller ones. At the creek you'll see a little beach. Cross the creek, and in the area with big rocks, look for the first of the soaking pools. Known as the Crab Cooker, the small spring, at 108 degrees, is Deep Creek's hottest. The two main pools lie just beyond the Cooker. The nearest is the smaller and warmer of the pair; above it is a larger pool that has its own little hot creek. Some of the pools are lined with sandbags and cement. The crowd: On weekends, expect several dozen users, up to 75 percent nude and 60 percent male. Problems: Long drive; dirt roads; steep, slippery main trail (a gentler but much longer, six-mile path is also available); parking fee; no water or supplies at Bowen. WARM SPRINGS New listing! Past the crowds of the previous entry, Deep Creek bulges with skinny-dipping hole after skinny-dipping hole as it meanders through the San Bernardino National Forest. Called "easily the best swimming river in the state of California" by author Pancho Doll, it is also the longest creek in the southern half of the state. Deep Creek originates in Green Valley between Big Bear Lake and Lake Arrowhead. Then it winds through the San Bernardino Mountains to the Mojave Desert. There it does a disappearing act. It runs for miles on top of the sand, then all of a sudden goes underground and comes out a great distance away. Known mostly to hikers and rock-climbers, nooks and crannies on the aboveground part abound with hard-to-find paths that descend from the Pacific Crest Trail, rocks (some larger than others) you may have to hop over, and - your reward - great skinny-dipping holes. Only two of the San Bernardino National Forest rangers we asked knew about Warm Springs, even though it's only a half mile from Deep Creek Hot Springs, and none knew it had two volunteer-built soaking pools. Rating: C. Legal status: Part of the San Bernardino National Forest. How to find it: See the previous entry. Stay on the trail and walk just under a half mile east, past Deep Creek Hot Springs. Look for some man-made, rock-walled soaking tubs on the north side of the river. The beach: Warm rather than hot water percolates into containment pools that are right next to the cold river. Hikers love to stop next to the 20-foot-wide river and plunge from warm water into cold and then back again. The creek depth is less than 10 feet. The crowd: There will probably be just you and a few others who know about this "secret" spot. Best time to visit is summer or fall. Problems: Same as for Deep Creek Hot Springs, plus the longer hike. LUNA CANYON New listing! A half-mile walk east of Warm Springs will bring you to Luna Canyon, which has a fetching skinny-dipping hole with good, running water and a nice patch of sunbathing sand. Even more sand, maybe 10 by 15 yards, is just downstream. Rock encircles the pool, giving it a private feel. The water here is maybe chin-high. Rating: C. Legal status: Part of San Bernardino National Forest. How to find it: See the previous entry. Stay on the trail as it skirts the river and walk a half mile east of Warm Springs. The beach: A mix of sand, boulders, and running water that pools up into a hole. Look for a mini-waterfall to the left, between some of the rocks. The crowd: You will probably have the place to yourself. Problems: Same as for Deep Creek Hot Springs, plus the longer walk. Bring two to three quarts of water per person. GILLIGAN'S ISLAND New listing! Like its sister nude hole, Center Cut, Gilligan's is best approached from Lake Arrowhead instead of the Bowen Ranch. It takes its name from a monolithic, island-like rock sphere that rises from the center of the hole, which is some two miles north of Splinter's Cabin. Rating: C. Legal status: Part of the San Bernardino National Forest. How to find it: Take Highway 173 along the southeast shore of Lake Arrowhead in the Cedar Glen area to Hook Creek Road. Follow Hook Creek until the pavement ends. Continue on Forest Service Road 3N34. At the fork, stay left around a half mile until you come to Splinter's Cabin. Park and take the Pacific Coast Trail north for just under two miles. Look over your shoulder and you should be able to see Gilligan's and its monolithic rock. If you miss it, turn around; the hole is easier to see if you're going south. Being able to see Gilligan's is a good landmark because the little path down to Deep Creek is just a quarter mile or so north of this point. After the steep hike down, you'll then have to walk through bushes and over boulders upstream to reach the hole. The beach: Limited shade, lots of rocks, no real sand, and water depth of about 10 feet make this a nice, if challenging, stop-off point along the PCT. The crowd: It will probably be just you, but the PCT is popular, so you may encounter others on it. Problems: Recent fire in area, dirt road, steep hike, descent trail hard to find, must hop and wade through river, this is definitely rattlesnake country. CENTER CUT New listing! Laced with fewer boulders than Gilligan's Island (see the previous entry), Center Cut is just as deep and serves up some of the best sand on Deep Creek. Access is via the Pacific Crest Trail, just after a cutoff point for a local jeep trail. Rating: C. Legal status: Part of the San Bernardino National Forest. How to find it: Follow directions to Gilligan's Island (see the previous entry). Continue walking north on the PCT. When you reach the jeep trail to Bacon Flats, continue on the PCT approximately one mile. Take the first decent-looking trail you see down to the water, then hop over rocks and debris downstream. The beach: Rock wedges and a nice-size, sandy riverbank make Center Cut good for both swimming and sunbathing. The crowd: You may encounter hikers or motorbikers on the PCT. But you should be able to have Center Cut all to yourself. Problems: Recent fire in area, hole access path off PCT hard to find (just pick one going down), dirt road, must hop and wade through creek. [36]Skinnies 2000 | [37]Picks 2000 [38]Beyond the Beach[39] | Addresses of the Undressed | [40]Thanks [41][(1)__Northern California Beaches by county] [42][(1)__Southern California Beaches by county] PHOTO BY: FARIKA [43]return to top [44]news | [45]a+e | [46]sf life | [47]extra | [48]sfbg.com [dotclear.gif] [49]PERSONALS | [50]CLASSIFIEDS | [51]FREE STUFF | [52]MOVIE CLUB | [53]SEARCH References 1. http://ads.newcity.com/RealMedia/ads/click_nx.ads/www.sfbg.com/nudebeach/index.html@Top,TopRight!Top?x 2. http://ads.newcity.com/RealMedia/ads/click_nx.ads/www.sfbg.com/nudebeach/index.html@Top,TopRight!TopRight?x 3. http://www.sfbg.com/News/index.html 4. http://www.sfbg.com/AandE/index.html 5. http://www.sfbg.com/SFLife/index.html 6. http://www.sfbg.com/Extra/index.html 7. http://www.sfbg.com/ 8. http://sfbg.com/ 9. http://altcity.com/ 10. http://bestofthebay.com/ 11. http://www.sfbg.com/Nude00/socal/fresno.html 12. http://www.sfbg.com/Nude00/socal/imperial.html 13. http://www.sfbg.com/Nude00/socal/inyo.html 14. http://www.sfbg.com/Nude00/socal/kern.html 15. http://www.sfbg.com/Nude00/socal/la.html 16. http://www.sfbg.com/Nude00/socal/madera.html 17. http://www.sfbg.com/Nude00/socal/mariposa.html 18. http://www.sfbg.com/Nude00/socal/mono.html 19. http://www.sfbg.com/Nude00/socal/sanbern.html 20. http://www.sfbg.com/Nude00/socal/sd.html 21. http://www.sfbg.com/Nude00/socal/obispo.html 22. http://www.sfbg.com/Nude00/socal/barbara.html 23. http://www.sfbg.com/Nude00/socal/tuolumne.html 24. http://www.sfbg.com/Nude00/socal/ventura.html 25. http://www.sfbg.com/Nude00/norcal/alpine.html 26. http://www.sfbg.com/Nude00/skinny.html 27. http://www.sfbg.com/Nude00/picks.html 28. http://www.sfbg.com/Nude00/beyond.html 29. http://www.sfbg.com/Nude00/address.html 30. http://www.sfbg.com/Nude00/thanks.html 31. http://www.sfbg.com/Nude00/index.html 32. http://www.sfbg.com/Nude00/socal/mono.html#hot 33. http://www.sfbg.com/Nude00/socal/mono.html#hot 34. http://www.sfbg.com/Nude00/socal/mono.html#hot 35. http://www.sfbg.com/Nude00/socal/mono.html#hot 36. http://www.sfbg.com/Nude00/skinny.html 37. http://www.sfbg.com/Nude00/picks.html 38. http://www.sfbg.com/Nude00/beyond.html 39. http://www.sfbg.com/Nude00/address.html 40. http://www.sfbg.com/Nude00/thanks.html 41. form field = popup menu 42. form field = popup menu 43. http://www.sfbg.com/Nude00/socal/mono.html#top 44. http://www.sfbg.com/News/index.html 45. http://www.sfbg.com/AandE/index.html 46. http://www.sfbg.com/SFLife/index.html 47. http://www.sfbg.com/Extra/index.html 48. http://www.sfbg.com/ 49. http://www.sfbg.com/connectlink.html 50. http://www.adone.com/sfbg/ 51. http://www.sfbg.com/Promo/index.html 52. http://www.sfbg.com/TicketStub/ 53. http://www.sfbg.com/searchit.html