Family time is what we do all of this for and what life is all about. We work hard over here, but on occasion we get away to enjoy the beauty of Northern California and swim! This year we went with good friends to a place called Mono Hot Springs. If you have not been there, I highly recommend it.
Just 70 miles northeast of Fresno, 5 miles from the “end of the road”, Mono Hot Springs is surrounded by National Forest on all sides. There are no cell phone towers but plenty of those iconic granite peaks of the Sierra Nevada Range. At an elevation of 6700 feet the “resort” is filled with stone and tent cabins that are rustic and ringed by green meadows and giant outcroppings of boulders. There is more nature than there is fluff here.
According to Wikipedia, “The Mono Hot Springs post office was established in 1945. Its general store, and stone cabins are located at the rustic Mono Hot Springs Resort. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the resort was built in 1935, a few years after Southern California Edison completed this section of the Kaiser Pass Road for the Big Creek Hydroelectric Project.” It is most definitely a California treasure.
Through the site runs the south fork of the San Joaquin River, one of the longest rivers in the United states and one of the most critical sources of water for our State’s crops. Dotted along the river are six naturally occurring hot springs that were somewhat developed, but not fully. The water is nothing short of magical and healing. And so is the mud that you might pay a few hundred dollars in Calistoga to soak in.
At night, outside of the campfire glow, the stars are staggering. You can see the cloudy flow of the milky way and the satellites that race along the night sky. And only the sound of wind flowing through trees and the Sierra birds is what greets you during the day. We hiked a mile in to Doris Lake and did a little fishing, but we mainly swam in the glorious river and sat by the campfire.
Don’t count on being able to book your night’s stay by computer. You must brave the old fashioned busy signal and call the office on their traditional land line. The one lane road to the resort is barely there and it skirts around large rocks and alongside cliffs. After all of that, you’ll mostly find Southern Californians! It’s just as close for them as it is for us. If you go, Enjoy!