Miracle Hot Springs, California: From Glory To Tragedy

If you’re a fan of soaking in natural hot springs, you may have heard of Miracle Hot Springs – a breathtaking destination with a rich history but a troubled recent past. Unfortunately, in November 2022, these gorgeous pools were destroyed by USFS “LEI” Ranger.

But don’t despair just yet, as locals have rallied together to donate funds to restore this historical natural gem to its former glory. In this article, we’ll take a journey through the fascinating history of Miracle Hot Springs, explore what led to its unfortunate destruction, and what we should expect for the future.

Lovely “Miracle” design on the Miracle Hot Springs site, Noe H.
AddressCalifornia 93518, USA
LocationAbout a 10-minute drive from Lake Isabella
OpenTemporarily closed
Website for donationsMiracle Hot Springs
Road AccessCar

Location And Accessibility

Located in the heart of Kern River Valley in Kern County, California, Miracle Hot Springs is a world-renowned natural flowing hot spring that has captured the hearts of many. Formerly known as Hobo Hot Springs, this hidden gem is situated along the banks of the Kern River in the Sequoia National Forest, just 10 miles West of Lake Isabella, California, at an elevation of 2,382 feet. 

The hot springs are adjacent to the Hobo Campground, which adds to the cozy atmosphere of the place, making it perfect for an overnight stay. To get there, take the 99 freeway from Bakersfield and head towards Highway 178 to Borrel Road. From there, Hobo Campground is only a short 2-mile drive away. Miracle Hot Springs has a designated parking area for day use, and rafters can use this site as a launch.

Miracle Hot Springs’ Past

The history and origins of Miracle Hot Springs are as fascinating as the waters that flow through it. Originally known as Compressor Hot Springs or Clear Creek Hot Springs, the site was named after a clever miner who constructed a turbine that used water from Clear Creek to power a compressor that supplied air to underground miners in Havilah. As construction of the Borel power plant began in 1901, a hobo camp with bathhouses developed in the area, leading to a name change to Hobo Hot Springs.

In 1927, the land was leased from the Forest Service to construct a hotel, and an official post office was established in 1932, serving the community for the next 50 years. The hot springs became known for their healing powers, and professional therapists from Finland combined deep massage with the soothing effects of the hot springs.

In 1947, the name was changed to Miracle Hot Springs to reflect the ‘miraculous’ relief powers of the hot springs mineral waters. Unfortunately, the hotel burned down in 1975, leaving only a trail to the springs and some rock tubs that remain to this day. Despite the loss of the hotel, the water temperature reaching an impressive 119 degrees made Miracle Hot Springs a unique and inviting natural destination.
Since then, Miracle hot springs turned into a public, 24/7 accessible healing gem with five different pools and gorgeous surroundings. The Forest Service, Kern River Conservancy, and a passionate volunteer group known as the Kern River Hot Springs Angels tirelessly worked together to manage and maintain the beloved Miracle Hot Springs over the years.

The angels took charge of tasks like pressure-washing the tubs, cleaning up litter, erasing graffiti, and educating visitors about the National Park Service principles of “leave no trace.”

However, life is unpredictable, and sadly, Miracle Hot Springs fell victim to an unfortunate fate, experiencing a great deal of destruction.

The past of Miracle hot springs – Photo from Mark E.

The Fate of Miracle Hot Springs: What Happened?

The demise of Miracle Hot Springs is a heart-wrenching story of how a once-beautiful place turned into a forbidden zone. 

Since the 1920s, the springs have welcomed visitors from all over, offering a serene escape from bustling city life. But as years passed, the place became increasingly popular, leading to an upsurge in prohibited activities. 

Things took a turn for the worse at the springs in October 2022. The Miracle Hot Springs, once a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, were destroyed after a tragic incident. It all began when a death occurred at the springs, and the authorities responded by shutting down the area, removing the tubs, and declaring it a biohazard zone. 

The decision was made after the LEI ranger reported that the deceased had AIDS. However, suspicions were raised by the locals and visitors, as the body was removed within 45 minutes, even before an autopsy confirmed the statement. 

To further compound the mystery, all the remaining tubs were destroyed within 24 hours, despite the one where the man was found unconnected to the other 4.

The unfortunate incident was not the only reason for the springs’ destruction. The Miracle Hot Springs uranium mine, known as the Miracle Mine, is located a mile west of Miracle Hot Springs. While a 1960 publication by the Atomic Energy Commission states that the majority of the springs in the area are not radioactive, officials have always remained suspicious of the springs. 

Signs at Miracle Hot Springs Before And After Destruction

Whatever the reason behind the destruction, it was a devastating blow to the locals and visitors alike, who have lost a precious natural gem. The once-idyllic hot springs now lie in ruins, a grim reminder of the fragility of nature and the power of human actions to destroy it.

The End of an Era and a New Beginning

Despite the recent closure of Miracle Hot Springs, there is still hope for its future. The Miracle Hot Springs Non-Profit Conservancy has taken the initiative to restore and preserve the historical and healing site. Their mission is to create a sustainable and inclusive community by enlightening visitors on the importance of conservation, environmental stewardship, and hot springs health. The organization is currently open for donations, and many hot spring lovers have already actively donated funds to help restore the beauty and serenity of the area.

The Conservancy’s plan includes a vision for a thriving hot springs resort with improved infrastructure, modern amenities, and an environmentally conscious approach. They also plan to work closely with the Forest Service and other local organizations to ensure the site remains safe and accessible for all visitors. With the community’s support and the organization’s dedication, it is possible to see Miracle Hot Springs thrive again.

The restoration of Miracle Hot Springs is not just a physical restoration but also a rehabilitation of the area’s spirit and the memories that people hold dear. Therefore, the hope for a positive future remains. That’s the “Miracle” hot springs we are talking about!

Exploring The Surroundings

California boasts an abundance of hot springs, making it one of the wealthiest regions in the country for these natural wonders. So, if you feel disappointed being unable to visit Miracle Hot Springs and have a few more days to spare for adventure, explore some of California’s other unique hot springs. 

While some, like Ojai Hot Springs, have a more rustic feel, others, like Harbin Hot Springs, offer luxurious amenities. But for those seeking a more dynamic adventure, including activities such as snorkeling, diving, and kayaking, Three Sisters Hot Springs is the ultimate destination.

Also, if you still prefer exploring the Miracle Hot Springs area, Silver City Ghost Town on your way to the springs is a must. The ghost town will only extend your drive from Lake Isabella by 5 minutes, which will definitely be worth it!

Located just south of Lake Isabella in Bodfish, California, this collection of old mining buildings provides a fascinating glimpse into the gold fever era of the 1850s.

Mannequin stand-ins at Silver City Ghost town by Eric B

The ramshackle structures are arranged around a large courtyard, having been relocated to this site by the Dave and Arvilla Mills family. The ghost town has been accessible to the public for various periods, most recently reopening in 1992. 

Visitors can witness the various buildings in a state of “arrested decay,” housing historical artifacts and even a few creepy mannequin stand-ins. For those feeling brave, the town jail is a must-see, rumored to be the site of paranormal activity.

Silver City Ghost town by Eric B

The town also features historical notices posted around the various buildings, providing details about their origins and adding an educational aspect to the experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Miracle Hot Springs free?

Yes, Miracle Hot Springs has been a public, 24/7-accessible site.

Is Miracle Hot Springs open?

Miracle Hot Springs is temporarily closed.

Does Miracle Hot Springs have alligators?

Miracle Hot Springs in Idaho happen to have alligators. However, this article discusses Miracle Hot Springs in California, where no alligators have been noticed so far.

Is Miracle Hot Springs Clothing Optional?

Yes, Miracle Hot Springs is clothing optional, so be prepared for some nude soakers.

How do I get to Miracle Hot Springs?

From The 99 freeway out of Bakersfield, take highway 178 to Borrel Road. Hobo Campground is about 2 miles off the road, with Miracle Hot Springs located right next to it.

What is the difference between Miracle and Banbury Hot Springs?

Miracle and Banbury Hot Springs are two geothermal hot springs resorts located in the Hagerman Valley, Idaho, owned by two sisters. However, note that Miracle Hot Springs, which we discuss in the article, is in California and has nothing in common with Idaho’s springs.

Is there WiFi at Miracle Hot Springs?

No, there is no WiFi near Miracle Hot Springs – neither in California nor Idaho.

Is Miracle Hot Springs pet friendly?

Miracle Hot Springs is pet friendly, but it is recommended to keep them on a leash.

Final Takeaway

Overall, while the recent closure of Miracle Hot Springs was a setback, there is still hope for its future. With the community’s continued support, the Conservancy’s vision for a thriving hot springs resort can become a reality. The future of Miracle Hot Springs is bright, and visitors can look forward to experiencing its magic once again. But whenever it happens, remember to follow the hot springs etiquette to keep the area alive for longer.


While we at Traxplorio do our very best to give you the latest information about these hot springs sites, life happens, weather happens, and property owners happen. We always recommend you go to the official hot springs’ web page and/or the relevant state authority page to check conditions, times, and prices (where relevant) before you head out. Thanks for understanding, and enjoy your soak!

Related Articles

Glacier National Park Camping – Where To Grab Some Shut-Eye Between Exploring And Discovering

Glacier National Park is a beautiful destination to head to and explore, and if you are set on camping, there are more than 10 campgrounds in, and just outside, the ... Read more

Things To Do In Breckenridge, Colorado – Winter Fun And History In House-Sized Museums!

Breckenridge, spread across a basin of the Rocky Mountains’ Tenmile Range, is renowned for its ski resort, year-round alpine activities, and gold mining history. The Victorian core, in the Breckenridge ... Read more

Things To Do In Billings, Montana – Museums, Geology, History And More!

Billings is a city in southern Montana on the Yellowstone River. It’s best known for its being near Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, where Lieutenant Colonel Custer died, but there ... Read more

The Best 14+ Things To Do In Newport, Oregon

For over a century now, the small seaside town of Newport has brought visitors pouring to its shores with the promise of unique sights and stunning coastal scenery. Newport’s historic ... Read more

Things To Do In The Florida Keys – History, Water Fun, Eats & Amazing Sunsets!

One of America’s most unique car trips, the scenic 110-mile Overseas Highway promises not just great views of the surrounding ocean, but a string of islands to excite, inspire, feed ... Read more

Yosemite Camping – Our Top Picks For The Most Memorable Experiences

Breathtaking doesn’t even begin to describe Yosemite National Park. In reality it is simply an overload for the senses – lakes, rivers, meadows, soaring cliffs, mountains, glaciers, waterfalls, oak and ... Read more