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San Bernardino National Forest - Deep Creek

Deep Creek Hot Springs

The landscape surrounding Deep Creek is unique in a southern California context, and its recreation opportunities are valued at the regional and national levels. Thermal hot springs located here are unique and regionally important.

Deep Creek supports the greatest diversity of wildlife habitats of any drainage on the San Bernardino National Forest and has earned the State designation of a Wild Trout Stream. It also represents some of the greatest diversity of vegetation communities of any drainage on the national forest. The surrounding area represents a transiticonifer forest. The vegetation ranges from sparse creosote, chamise and California buckwheat at lower elevations to oak and pinyon woodland and scattered mixed conifer, healthy riparian habitats are also present.

The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) follows the creek from the Lake Arrowhead area to the Mojave River Forks Dam for 16 miles as part of the 2,650 mile national scenic trail crossing Deep Creek twice on elevated bridges.

Also Deep Creek is home to the Southwestern Arroyo Toad, an endangered species who lives in the sandy shore of the creek. The toad is a small (2.2-2.9 inches), dark-spotted and light-olive green or gray to tan with dark spots and warty skin. The toad lives from confluence of the Mojave River up to an elevation of 4,300 feet usually spending the day burrowed in the sand and coming out at night to forage for food.

Directions to the Hot Springs

The Deep Creek Hot Springs are located in the Deep Creek drainage, outside the city of Hesperia. The easiest access is through the Bowen Ranch Road, which accesses the site through private land (a fee is charged). The trail descends steeply for 2 1/2 miles to the springs. An alternative route is to hike the Pacific Crest Trail east from Arrowhead Lake Road, roughly a six mile hike.

Do not drink the water!

The Hot Springs pools of Deep Creek contain a rare and sometimes fatal disease called primary amoebic meningoencephalitis. The disease is apparently contained in contaminated soil and transmitted to the Hot Springs pools as the warm water flows through and over the soil. It is advisable not to submerse your head.

Due to the large number of visitors to the Hot Springs, human and organic pollution are increasing in the Deep Creek drainage. The highest Fecal Coliform counts are found in the Hot Springs area.

Suggestions for visiting the Deep Creek Hot Springs

Please help make everyone's visit to the springs safe and enjoyable by respecting the privacy of others, packing out everything you pack in, and watching your footing on the boulders. With your help, we can make Deep Creek a clean and safe place to visit. Here are a few tips for your visit:
  • Bring plenty of drinking water
  • Wear adequate footwear
  • Bring sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses
  • Be aware that daytime temperatures in the summer months can easily exceed 100 degrees
  • Be careful on the trail, loose debris and uneven terrain
  • The area is home rattlesnakes and be careful around rock outcroppings
Please follow the rules:
  • Closed to the public from sundown to sunrise.
  • No Camping is permitted within 1 mile of Deep Creek.
  • No fires, campfires or stoves allowed in the Deep Creek Drainage.
  • No glass containers permitted within 1 mile of Deep Creek
  • Public nudity is not permitted within 1/4 mile of T-6 crossing.
    Deep Creek Wild Trout Area
  • Limit two fish Must be eight inches or larger
  • Artificial Lures or Flies with barbless hooks only.


Deep Creek Photo Gallery

Aerial view of Deep Creek Hot Springs

Ecological Information

Hot Springs

Thermal springs are ordinary springs except that the water is warm and, in some places, hot. Many thermal springs occur in ...
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