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Tecopa Hot Springs - California

Highlights

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.

Getaways

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 bawdy houses.

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 therapeutic waters.

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 stones.

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
760-852-4481
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 about $40.

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 above number.

The Bathhouses

There are two bathhouses - men and women soak separately.

Summer Hours
(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 10:00 pm.
The bathhouses will also remain open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm if the manager is on the premises and people request it.

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.

Important Note

 

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.

Shoshone Inn
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.
(760) 852-4569

 

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Tecopa Hot Springs, California


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