Tecopa Hot Springs – The Muddy, The Free And The Paid

On the Southeast edge of the Death Valley National Park in the Southern California desert, Tecopa Hot Springs is a mineral water oasis – easy to get to and surrounded by a painted landscape of deep dry-mud canyons, dry river and ancient lake beds, grasses and rugged mountains. You can opt for a pay-to-enter, clothing-free resort soak, or head to the open-air free pool, which comes with bonus mud for extra smooth skin! Whether you go for the dirt or the sterile, you’ll love the experience of weightlessness in mind and body.

What To Expect

We’re going to look at both the free Tecopa Hot Springs pool and the Resort in this article. There are other pay-for resorts in the town too, some with private soaking options.

AddressTecopa Hot Springs Rd
LocationTecopa, California
Road AccessEasy
Water Temperature95 – 110°F
AdmissionFREE. Or $10/day at the resort

The free hot springs pool is a large, knee-deep, mud- and gravel-bottom pond surrounded by grass, which is 110°F at the source and cools to about 95°F. The area surrounding the murky blue water is muddy – embrace it! If you grab a moment alone there, sit as quiet as you can and see what appears – there are coyotes, roadrunners, rabbits, bobcats and kit foxes living nearby. And look up to try and spot resident cranes and geese flying by.

The natural Tecopa Hot springs pool. Photo by Britt Tough

The Wi-Fi-free private facility called Tecopa Hot Springs also manages the Tecopa Hot Springs Campground. It, like the free pool, is open 24/7, but costs some $10 for a day of soaking. They also offer cabins if you want to stay overnight, a rustic campground, and an on-site restaurant. They have separate 12-person soaking rooms for males and females, each with one pool that is hotter than the other, and it is strictly clothing-free. There is also a private co-ed pool that can be privately rented by the hour. There are restrooms and showers.

A pool at the Tecopa Hot Springs Resort. Photo by Reddirtnsage

Both Tecopa Hot Springs locations offer tranquility and an escape from the rest of the world in skin-softening mineral water which you’ll be sharing with a combination of locals and tourists coming from Vegas. The Tecopa area, smack-bang in the middle of the desert, promises stunningly photographic sunrises and sunsets, and some breathtakingly spectacular night skies for stargazing.

Although there is not much to the 150-population town of Tecopa, the hot springs are well worth the visit on a day-trip out of Las Vegas. 

Tecopa sunset. Photo by Alexis

Good To Know

Bring bug spray to keep the mosquitoes away.

The free pool is 200 feet past the resort, 100 yards off the road via a short, easy walk over hard mud.

The free pool is said to contain mud mites, and while we didn’t get bitten while there, we’ve heard of others being attacked. Much like mosquitoes, we hear it’s more of an irritation than a lot of pain for most. Just be aware they could choose you for their next snack!

There are no toilets near the natural pool. If you can’t hold it, you should move at least 200 feet away from the water to do your business.

There is no Wi-Fi or cell service at the Tecopa Hot Springs Resort – if you’re looking for a place to disconnect, you’ve found it.

The Resort hosts a great live band most weekends. Contact them before you go to check.

Hungry? The Tecopa Resort has an on-site restaurant “Steaks & Beer”, open Friday-Monday 8am – 11am, and Friday-Tuesday 5pm – 8pm.

Mud mites warning sign. Photo by Britt Tough

Interesting History

10 miles south of Shoshone, numerous natural hot springs flow out of the earth in the hills of what was once, in the ice age, Lake Tecopa. The healing waters of Tecopa were revered by the Southern Paiute Tribe for hundreds of years.

A display from the Shoshone Museum. Photo by Oliver S.

In fact, the Tecopa area was inhabited by one of the largest native american populations in the Death Valley area until the Europeans came in the 19th century and developed Tecopa as a silver and lead mining town. The town was originally named Brownsville, after brothers William D. and Robert D. Brown, who founded the town in 1875. Jonas Osborne bought out the Browns a few years later and renamed the town in honor of the local Paiute chief, though he actually lived in Pahrump Valley. 

The China Ranch Date Farm is worth a visit. It was named for the Chinese man who developed Willow Creek around 1900 and sold meat and vegetables to the miners.

How To Get There

Tecopa Hot Springs is 85 miles (1.5 hours) to the southwest of Las Vegas. Get on the NV-160W until Tecopa Road at the 47 mile mark. Turn left onto it and stay on it even when it becomes the Old Spanish Trail Hwy. Take the highway all the way through the South Nopah Range Wilderness Area until you hit Tecopa. You’ll then need to take a right onto Tecopa Hot Springs Road and travel some 1.9 miles. Both the resort and the natural pool, a mile on, are on your left.

Can I Stay There?

The Tecopa Hot Springs Resort Campground/RV park. Photo by Skyguy WI

While you can’t camp near the natural pool, you can pay to stay overnight at the Tecopa Hot Springs Resort. They have a large gravel site within the cost of which is included 24/7 access to their soaking pools. Some sites have full hook-ups, others not, and the same goes for shade. You’ll get a fire ring and a wooden picnic table (a tablecloth is recommended) and access to some less-than-clean showers and bathrooms, though there are better facilities near the hot spring pools inside the resort. 

There are also motel rooms and cabins on site. Three private hot spring tub rooms are set aside just for motel guests, and the simple, rustic cabins are available for rent from $115/night upwards, some with private bathrooms, some sharing the resort facilities.

There is no Wi-Fi on the property nor are there televisions in the rooms. Cell service is limited. People come here to switch off from the world – so be prepared to do so yourself!

A Tecopa cabin with a shower. Source: Management

What Else Can I Do In The Area?

There’s not a great deal to do in the small town of Tecopa – the hot springs and desert escape are the pull here. There are, however, two breweries, a couple of good places to eat, and some desert art to enjoy. Check out the Yaga Labyrinth for some contemplative “me time,” and the Shoshone Museum for some history on the area. And definitely don’t miss out on China Ranch Date Farm – the gift shop has a great selection of unique products to inspire. We recommend their date shake and freshly made date bread and cookies. 

There’s also plenty of hiking and exploring that can be done in the nearby wilderness.

Also worth exploring are these other hot springs within five hours of Las Vegas, all boasting incredible scenery to enjoy before, after and during your soak.

The Takeaway

Head to Tecopa with the plan to relax, but rough it. There are no mints on these pillows (or even bathrooms near the natural pool!). If you’re staying at the resort, you should be comfortable with nudity, and be ready for a rustic vibe. If you’re ok with all that, whether you’re there for a 20-minute soak, a 3-day weekend, or want to park your trailer/RV in the lot and stay for longer, you are sure to come away with a new lease of life and some muscle and skin healing.

The Dos And Don’ts Of Visiting Hot Springs

Every hot springs has its own quirks. Visitors to Tecopa Hot Springs, for example, should be prepared for mud, bugs and a wild desert feel (which also has its pros, if you’re looking to escape the city)! For more general and very important “hot springs etiquette,” we highly recommend you take a moment to check out our carefully compiled easy-to-read list of “dos and don’ts”. And always, always respect our nature – pack out what you pack in and LEAVE NO TRACE.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to get to Tecopa natural hot springs?

On entering Tecopa on the Tecopa Hot Springs Road, pass the Tecopa Hot Springs Resort and keep going another mile. You’ll see brown warning signs about mud mites and camping restrictions on your left, and from there a dry mud trail leading toward the green mineral water oasis.

What to do at Tecopa Hot Springs?

At Tecopa Hot Springs you can soak away your cares as you enjoy a sunset, sunrise or starry night in the Cali desert; cover yourself in mineral-infused mud for skin-smoothing delight; and listen to live music as you enjoy a steak and beer.


While we at Traxplorio do our very best to give you the latest information about these hot springs sites, life happens, weather happens, 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!

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