Let’s talk about the Ojai hot springs near Los Angeles, California. Hot springs occur naturally. Geothermal processes under the surface of the earth heat the water, which then rises back up through cracks in the earth. The temperature is generally above 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 Fahrenheit). This creates natural pools of hot water that provide many benefits.
Benefits of hot springs
You may think of hot springs as a way to take a nice, relaxing, hot bath. Since hot springs can be in less accessible places which you have to walk or hike to, that is certainly a plus. But hot springs provide more than just calming and relaxation. Thanks to their mineral-rich water, they have healing powers.
Ojai Hot Springs Sulfur Pools
The Ojai hot springs are high in sulfur, so be prepared for the odor! Sulfur smells like rotten eggs, but don’t be deterred by it. A bath in its waters work as a natural detox for our biggest organ: the skin. Not only that, it can be helpful for people with eczema and rashes. But, that’s not all. It can also ease arthritic pain, treat dry scalp and symptoms of menopause and digestive disorders.
Note: While bathing in sulfur-rich water has many health benefits, as mentioned above, there are people who should avoid it. If you are pregnant, have high blood pressure or are on blood thinners, it is best to avoid.
Visiting the Ojai hot springs
The Ojai hot springs, also known as Ecotopia Hot Springs, are located along the Matilija River in the Los Padres National Forest. From Los Angeles, it will take about 2 hours to drive the 85 miles to the springs.
How to get there
The hot springs’ address is 2566 Matilija Canyon Rd, Ojai, CA 93023. The best way to reach them is by car. From Los Angeles, take highway 101 to CA 33 to Ojai. CA 33 continues as Maricopoa Highway. Stay on CA 33 to Matilija Road. Turn left and go to 2566 Matilija Canyon Road. There’s a paved road all the way to the springs and you’ll see the designated parking area once you enter the Ecotopoia compound. From there it’s a very short walk.
For many years, the Ojai hot springs were a hidden gem, only known to and enjoyed by locals. They rose to fame on social media a few years ago. Unfortunately, the people who then started to frequent this spot were not respectful toward nature and defaced this special place.
The Ojai hot springs have always been on private property. After the disrespect shown to and the damage down to the spot, the owners decided to limit access. Therefore, you now need permission to enter. The hot springs are managed by Ecotopia, which is a a non-profit community organization and a sustainable community farm. You can reserve a 2 hour time slot to soak and are expected to make a purchase from their CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). You pay $20 USD, receive something from the farm, and get to explore the farm and the hot springs. The springs are closed on Tuesdays, and open from 8 am to 8 pm 6 days a week.
First of all, a word of caution. If you are opposed to nudity, Ojai hot springs may not be the place for you. Clothing is optional here. Amenities include a changing room and bathrooms.
This little paradise contains five rock-bottom sulfur springs. Large boulders and ample vegetation surround these natural springs. Temperatures in all the pools range from 100 to 106 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 to 41.1 Celsius). One of the pools is even quite large, about 20 feet wide. Wander across a small bridge and explore the gem of this area: a cave-like spring with two waterfalls.
The Ojai hot springs give you an opportunity to unplug and relax. The welcome sign at the entrance states: no social media, no alcohol, no drugs, no loud noises, no sexual misconduct and a few other items. Leave your smartphone in the car, take a deep breath and enjoy nature. Don’t worry about crowds! Occupancy is limited to 10 people.
Pro Tip: Visit in the evening and enjoy a sky full of stars while soaking in the pools! The trail is well lit.
Stay in the area
Now that you have come all this way to visit the springs, stay awhile! You can certainly explore the Ojai hot springs during a day trip from Los Angeles or Santa Barbara, but since you are already here, stay and check out the beautiful surroundings.
Things to do
Hiking and Biking
The beautiful surroundings of Ojai invite you to go for a hike. There are a variety of options, from desert to National Forest. No matter if you are a beginner or a pro hiker, Ojai trails will suit you. One highlight is the Rose Valley Falls trail. The falls are beautiful in any weather.
The bike trails on Sulphur mountain will warm every bicycle enthusiast’s heart.
Olive Oil Farm
Visit the Ojai Olive Oil Farm! This is an activity you don’t get to do every day. Learn about this certified organic farm that has been in the same family for 4 generations. Best of all? They will teach you about animal welfare in tourism!
Vineyards & Winery
A visit to California would not be complete without a stop at a vineyard. The Ojai Vineyard, under the same ownership since 1983, offers award-winning wines.
Just outside Ojai lies the Topa Mountain Winery. This winery is so scenic, it’s the perfect location for weddings and other events. Enjoy hand-crafted wines with a view!
Majestic Oak Vineyard is owned and operated by one family. A visit here will make you feel like you are part of this family.
Take in some history
The Ojai Valley Museum of History and art allows you to take a glimpse into the highlights of history, art and culture of the Ojai valley.
Where to Stay
The Ojai Rancho Inn is a good choice after a long day on the trails. Amenities like the outdoor pool and sauna get you right back in that relaxed mood you enjoyed at Ojai hot springs.
There are several AirBnbs available in the area. Prices range from affordable to luxurious. Before you book, make sure your choice is ethical and supports a local rather than a big corporation.
Have you been lucky so as to visit the Ojai hot springs? Comment below and share your experience!
Jenny grew up in Germany. All she ever wanted out of life was to leave and have adventures. Jenny always traveled as much as the budget would allow, and when she met her husband traveling became a full-time thing. You can follow Jenny on her blog and Facebook.