Wanna find hidden hot springs? Hunt for them! Tucked alongside a creek in the Madhesi Valley an hour from Burney Falls and 5 miles from the nearest town of Big Bend (population 102), Hunt Hot Springs and Kosk Creek combine for a hidden series of natural hot springs. Soaking in these picturesque pools is the stuff of a life well lived.
The springs make for an idyllic stop-off to include in any Northern California adventure, but they’re also more than worth seeking out on their own (especially in the summer when hundreds of butterflies flutter through). The path to the springs is an easy 1-mile (round-trip) jaunt through open pasture. Follow the path, just before the bridge, westward along the creek. Posted signs let you know that you’re on private property; public access is allowed as long as people are respectful of the land (make sure to pack out!). After half a mile, you’ll find the first hot spring, a large rock pool with room for about five people. It’s easy to get excited and settle in here, but keep walking down the creek, and you’ll find even more areas for soaking. A natural rock pool sits 100 yards down and stays at a near-perfect 102 degrees.
Your next stop downstream is a set of man-made stone-lined pools stacked one above the next, with the upper pool cascading into the pool below. To find the last set of pools, follow the steep dirt trail just behind the first pool. The trail meanders through the forest before turning back down to the creek. Keep following the creek until you reach the last pool, which juts out of the rocks overlooking the water. Sit, soak, warm your bones, and gaze out to the cascades.
Bonus Camping: No overnight camping is allowed at the springs, but there is free year-round camping available at Iron Canyon Reservoir, a 500-acre lake, just 4 miles away. Deadlun Campground offers 25 campsites, each with a fire pit and picnic table.
From Redding, take CA-299 east for 35 miles. Turn left onto Big Bend Rd. and follow it about 16 miles to Big Bend. Drive across the Pit River bridge. Follow the road to the left as it turns to gravel. You’re now on Forest Service Road 11. Follow the road for two miles till you reach a bridge. Park just before the bridge. Dog-friendly!