Grover Hot Springs is one of those places I kind of don’t want to publicize. It’s so “old skool” and perfect as is, and we have enjoyed delightful hot mineral water soaks and plunges in every season. In the scorching summer sun, the cold pool is divine. In autumn, the changing colors encircle the complex and it feels nice to warm up in the hot pool. In springtime, the meadow is often wet and boggy, but wildflowers dot the landscape and snow can still be seen on the peaks in the distance. In winter, it’s just the best after a day on the slopes or cross country/snowshoe trails.
Set on a plateau in the High Sierra near the Nevada border in Alpine County, just outside of Markleeville, CA, this campground, swimming pool and hot spring public facility is popular already; particularly with cultures that cherish a good soak. Russian and Japanese conversations often waft through the air, mingling with with steam, and this visit was no different. Rosy faced corpulent men—each with their own perrier bottle—kibitzed in one corner; families frolicked—alternating between hot and cold—and others just gave in to feeling like cooked spaghetti.
The water comes out of the earth here at a scalding 148 degrees Fahrenheit, which cools to 104 before feeding into Grover’s hot pool. Swim, float, or just warm your feet, soaking as long as you wish. If you like the feeling, there’s also a cool pool, perfect for a recalibrating plunge in the colder months.
We had spent the morning and early afternoon cross country skiing and looked forward to the bone-warming immersion. Grover Hot Springs State Park is located on the east side of the Sierra at the edge of the Great Basin Province. Surrounding the pool complex is an open pine forest, sagebrush and meadows. The park has a campground, picnic area and hiking trails.
Open year-round, the pools are closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, some Wednesdays, and occasionally because of the weather. Call for current operating hours.
Prices for hot spring pool use are affordable, currently at $10 per adult and $5 per child. One son forgot his bathing suit, even after repeated reminders. He opted to sit in the car and pout, but you can actually rent a bathing suit and towel, which I had forgotten.
The changing rooms and showers are very spare—a fancy spa it is not—but I like it that way, nothing is more cleansing and relaxing! Once back in our snow gear, rehydrated and snacked, we had totally forgotten our aches and pains and certainly slept well that night!