Montecito Hot Springs
This is one of our favorite hot springs in California. Not only does it provide a great place to relax and soak in some of California’s best mineral waters, but the four mile hike through the canyon is full of ruins, breathtaking exotic plants, and mansions that are home to several famous people. Around every corner is something new to be discovered and once you reach the actual springs, the cascading pools overlooking the canyon sets up the perfect day of tranquility.
Details about Montecito Hot Springs
Back in the 1800’s Montecito Hot Springs was a thriving resort. The Chumash first used the natural waters to help cure ailments. As time went on and the Spanish and Mexicans arrived, it soon changed into a place women would hike to in order to do laundry. Because the journey was quite challenging, laundry would become a few day adventure and a social gathering for woman to let loose a bit.
Next era turned into the Mexican American War where soldiers would venture to the hot springs after a long day of battle to help heal their aching muscles and get ready for the next day. Many wrote home that they never experienced a more beautiful backdrop and scenic views with a hot springs as a cherry on top.
The source or Montecito Hot Springs comes out at the top tiered pool at roughly 112 degrees. The natural mineral waters then flow down 7 different tiers of rocked off pools down into the canyon. Each pooled off area is slightly cooler than the one above it making it easy to find the perfect one for you. Even as you get close to this attractions you’ll start to smell sulfur in the air.
Due to it’s popularity being so close to Santa Barbara, it’s best to try and enjoy the hot springs during weekdays or early in the morning. Visiting Montecito Hot Springs during peak season will often require a bit of waiting around, but luckily there are plenty of activities in the area to pass the time.
Montecito Hot Springs Map
Santa Barbara County now oversees the property including the land, hiking trails, and Montecito hot springs. The natural springs themselves are host to 7 cascading pools built with rocks that range from 90 – 112 degrees. It’s a very popular hiking area so get their early to avoid having to wait for a spot in the pools. However, you can also make a lap around the hiking trails to kill time and take in views of:
- avocado trees
- banana trees
- palm trees
- other exotic wildlife
On the hike you will also discover a section of two pools that are quite blue in color. The locals of the area rebuilt the pools and are a great place to take a break and have some lunch or plunge right into the pools. We should note that all the hot springs are clothing optional and most choose to go nude so consider that if bringing your kids.
Directions to Montecito Hot Springs
From Santa Barbara, California: Map
1. Take US-101 South from Santa Barbara 3.4 miles
2. Turn onto Hot Springs Road for 1.6 miles
3. Turn onto East Mountain Drive and continue until you reach your destination.
Unfortunately there aren’t any camping options around the area as it’s on private land. The best option is to find hotel accommodations within the town of Montecito. One such option is San Ysidro Ranch, a 5 star luxury resort just a couple miles from the trailhead to the hot springs.