Deep Creek Hot Springs, Apple Valley, CA

Posted on June 15, 2013


Deep Creek Hot Springs hike was my first experience at a nudist area. This was a memorable day for sure. The hike was a good workout, the water cool, and refreshing but a bit murky, and we met all kinds of interesting people.

There are two main ways to start the hike to Deep Creek, one through Bowen Ranch which is private property and they charge $5 per person for day parking. The other trailhead is accessible from the Pacific Coast Trail (which goes from Mexico to Canada) at Lake Arrowhead. This trail is about 6.5 miles in to Deep Creek one way. We choose the shorter 2.5 mile trail from Bowen Ranch. This trail is harder on the way out as it has 900 foot elevation gain.

Bowen Ranch is not easy to find and the last seven miles of the road are dirt road, much of which is unmaintained. Bring four wheel drive and you wont need to worry about it, although my Lexus did surprisingly well.

I won’t give directions – look it up with GPS instead: 6100 Bowen Ranch Road, Apple Valley, CA. We were sure we were lost, or hadn’t gone far enough, several times. “Are we EVER going to find it??” It took us three hours to drive there from San Diego, and 45 min hike – each way, so it was a fun 10 hour day hike.

A few key things to note:

Clothing optional, many hike with only their backpack on. Several families, some with clothes some without. Everyone comfortable with it. Good thing I was clued in before we got there because when the guy in front of us stopped at the trail head, stripped, put his clothes in his backpack, and headed out on the trail, I might have been taken back. But no, just a typical day in Deep Creek and Bowen Ranch.

Little fishes in the cold pools will tickle your feet.

There is a wood swing for fun.

Several natural hot and cold pools.

Don’t drink the water or dunk your face in the hot springs, as it can contain a harmful amoeba naegleria fowleri, common in thermal pools.

You can bring your dog, just pick up after it.

Bring lots of water and sunscreen.

Don’t go at times of rain. It is in a narrow canyon and possible flash floods

We chatted with a Bob Marley look alike, a group of guys with awesome accents (from Spain?), Larry on a hike with his 9 week old adorable puppy, a guy who was hiking the Pacific Coast trail (one month into it another five months to go until they reach Canada), and some very slender models from LA who talked about their BCBG photo shoot.

I would say my experience would rate this way:

1. The people! So interesting, and enlightening. Loved the diversity and free-spirits.

2. The hike, challenging and beautiful.

3. The creek and springs. Not sulphur smelling but murky waters and I was too afraid of getting exposed to bad bacteria in the thermal pools so I didn’t go in those and stayed in the cool waters. Not the same crystal clear blue waters like in Maui.

Next time Christy says, lets go for a hike, I heard of this awesome place.. I will have to ask.. can bring my dog? Bella would have lived it!








Posted in: Exploring Places