Tecopa offers one of the truly
strange experiences to be had in the American West!
And we're not kidding. The hot springs --
at the meeting of the Western Mojave and Southern Armagosa
deserts -- are found southeast of Death Valley and close
to the Nevada border. They were occupied by the Paiute
long before Morman emigrants and bands of horse thieves
came to the area, trying to find a route across Death
Valley to the California gold fields. The Indians were
disposessed, and now Tecopa is a small unique wonder of
the Western world.
What to See & Do
Sitting on the bare desert, a mile off
State Route 127, between Baker and Death Valley Junction,
Tecopa Hot Springs is a seasonal -- winter -- trailer
village, masquerading as a county park. South of the hot
springs is a backroad junction with a little store and
bar, and a few trailer homes and a private resort (below). This is the "town" of
Tecopa. The village of Shoshone, located a few
miles north of Tecopa, has a motel, general store, bar and campground/RV park. Mid-summer temperatures here are suitable for
neither man nor beast, but the winter temperatures are quite pleasant, as they are in nearby Las Vegas, Nevada.
The hot mineral springs feed two basic bathhouses --
one for women and another for men -- plus a private
invalid pool. Nudity has been the rule for a long time.
Across the road is a dusty trailer park, where snowbirds
gather for the winter. In summer, the place is so blasted
with heat that almost everyone goes away. But as November
approaches, the first trailers arrive to set up residence
for the winter.
We've all heard about the mystical (mostly
mythical) desert trailer villages of the American
Southwest, and this is the quintessential one. A road
leads from nearby Shoshone across the sands to Pahrump, the closest signpost of civilization in
the area, and the trailer folk are often in town gambling
in the casinos. They may or may not frequent the several
Las Vegas is 100 miles away, providing a
glittery escape from the ordinaryness of the desert
campground. To give the county and the community center
credit, they do organize events for the campers, most of
whom are seriously retired from the workaday world, and
seem to have a rich camaraderie with their fellow Tecopa
residents. And if the long-time bathers are to be
believed, the waters offer relief from the miseries of
arthritis, rheumatism, and other ailments.
And there may be some truth to this.
Indians regularly brought their sick and lame to the
springs, to bathe in what they considered to be
Activities In & Near Tecopa
China Ranch is a family owned and
operated date ranch only three miles from Tecopa. It is
set in a spectacular desert location, in a green little
valley with a stream, and date palms standing out against
the sky and hills near the Old Spanish Trail. The ranch
has a store which offers dates for sale, as well as date
nut bread, muffins, cookies, and other gift items. Guided
nature walks are a feature of the ranch.
Rockhounds will be interested in visiting Sperry Wash, south of Tecopa, where beds of
petrified wood offer pieces hard enough to polish. A few
miles east of Tecopa are the Kingston Mountains, where
amethysts can be picked out of crevices on a cliff. And
opal beds on the site of the old Amargosa Borax
Works, and the hills beyond, reveal a few sparkling
We do not recommend that you stay in Tecopa
for long, unless you're a dedicated trailerite, but a
short visit is an unforgettable experience -- time to
have a soak, and to observe the scene. Seeing China
Ranch takes a little longer and is quite rewarding.
There are a few commercial hot springs operations here,
including Delight's Hot Springs -- offering an adults-only experience, an RC park with hookups, cabins, and three motel rooms buuilt in the 1930s -- and Tecopa Hot Springs Resort with camping including sites with hookups and also room accommodations.
Tecopa Hot Springs Park
P.O. Box 158, Tecopa, CA 92389
Bring your trailer. Covering 40 acres, the campground
sits across the road from the two public bathhouses,
which are fed from the springs. The trailer park has 365
spaces, some with electrical hookups. The maximum stay is
nine months. Park facilities include restrooms, showers,
the bathhouses, and a community center located next to
the bathhouses. The monthly fee (with electricity) is
about $100 per month. The park also offers overnight
sites, under $10 with electricity, or by the week for
A small store (and bar) are located a mile
south, in the village of Tecopa
The community center offers such activities
as exercise and dance classes, game nights, and movies.
For information on site availabilities, and about park
programs in general, call the county park office at the
There are two bathhouses - men and women
(starting in July)
Monday through Sunday:
6:00 am - 9:00 am -- 6:00 pm - 11:00 pm
On Mondays and Fridays, the pools close for cleaning at
The bathhouses will also remain open from 9:00 am to 6:00
pm if the manager is on the premises and people request
Winter and Spring Hours
Monday - Friday: 6:00 am - 10:00 pm
Saturday, Sunday: 6:00 am - 11:00 pm
There are more than 200 camping spaces. Some electrical hookups are available. Camping spaces available for large RV's. Maximum stay is six months.
Inyo county contracts
with California Land Management (CLM) to operate
the facilities. Hours of operation have changed, and a fee is now charged to soak in the bath houses.
This major change has led to a reduced winter campground population in recent years, and more day users, mainly people arriving from Las Vegas.
For information call 760-852-4481
Other Options in Tecopa
Tecopa Hot Springs Resort
This privately operated resort is situated at the north end of Tecopa about two miles from Highway 127. The operation includes motel rooms, cabins, and a campground/RV park.
850 Hot Springs Road. The cabins are quite rustic (only cabin #5 has a shower, although the resort provides two showers and hot spring baths at the nearby bathhouse.
One of the most interesting experiences at this resort is walking through the 40 foot-wide labyrinth.
860 Tecopa Hot Springs Road (760) 852-4420
In Nearby Shoshone:
Shoshone is the closest spot to buy
groceries, have a restaurant meal, or to stay in a motel.
The trailer sites here are a few cuts above the Tecopa
trailer park sites.
Accommodations are standard motel units, and kitchenettes
are available. The motel has a swimming pool (up the road), laundry,
and cable TV. The campground offers full hookups for RVs and trailers, and dry camping for tents. The motel rooms have two queen beds or 1 king bed.
760-852-4335 or 760-852-4224
Shoshone Trailer Park
This campground is located at the north end of the village providing RV and trailer sites with full
hookups, showers, and laundry. Grassy tenting sites are
also available. Weekly and monthly stays are possible, as
well as overnight camping. People staying here enjoy the hot spring pool next to the campground and RV park.