Ojai Hot Springs, also known as Ecotopia Hot Springs, is a natural haven in Los Padres National Forest in California. The hot springs have seen a surge in popularity over recent years. This influx led to protective measures that have thankfully preserved the integrity of this natural wonder. Today, you can visit these mineral-rich pools, but it requires a reservation and a small donation.
Ojai Hot Springs, also known as Matilija Hot Springs, consists of five unique, mineralized pools surrounded by rustic rocks and lush vegetation. The pools are sectioned off by rocks and boulders, offering varied temperatures that range from 98 to 108 degrees Fahrenheit.
A $20 fee grants you a few hours of access to these healing waters, and you’ll also receive a small gift from the farm located on the property. Whether you’re interested in the wellness aspects or simply looking for a tranquil escape, the springs offer something for everyone. And for those seeking a more liberating experience, Ojai Hot Springs is clothing optional.
Important Update: Current Status of Ojai Hot Springs for 2023
As of September to December 2023, Ojai Hot Springs is temporarily closed to both visits and reservations. The closure is due to the aftermath of the winter storms of 2023, which led to significant road damage. Matilija Canyon Road in Ojai remains closed for repair and is expected to reopen once the restoration work is completed later this year.
Please check these official sources for further updates before planning your trip.
Everything You Need to Know About Ecotopia Hot Springs
Ecotopia Hot Springs, also known as Ojai Hot Springs, is a privately owned sanctuary located in the Los Padres Forest of California along the Matilija River. Our guide on thermal Hot Springs – Ojai will help you understand the offerings, amenities, and essential information you’ll need for a visit to Ecotopia Hot Springs in California.
- Location: Los Padres Forest, California
- Best Season to Visit: Springtime
- Temperature Range: 100-106°F (37-41°C)
- Clothing: Optional
- Hiking: Available
- Camping: Not available on-site; designated campgrounds and backcountry areas only
- Admission: Requires permission; contact Ecotopia management for reservations
Pool Descriptions at Ojai Hot Springs
Pool 1: The Largest Spring
- Size: 20 feet wide
- Temperature: 106 degrees
- Capacity: The biggest pool accommodates multiple people; however, only 10 people are allowed in the entire hot springs area at a time.
Pool 2: The Waterfall Spring
- Special Features: Two small waterfalls feed the pool, and a boulder in the center creates a cave-like ambiance.
- Temperature: 102 degrees
Pool 3: The Sulfur Stream Spring
- Aroma: Strong sulfur smell
- Temperature: 103 degrees
- Location: Adjacent to the sulfur stream
Pool 4: The Matilija River Spring
- Size: 10X5 feet
- Temperature: 100 degrees
- Location: Where the sulfur stream meets Matilija River in the Los Padres
Amenities Available at Hot Springs Near Ojai
- Open-air Showers: Two available, using mineral hot spring water
- Bathrooms and Changing Rooms: Provided for visitors
What to Expect at Ecotopia Hot Springs
- Limited Capacity: Only 10 people are allowed at a time, ensuring a peaceful experience.
- Distinct Aromas: The waters are rich in sulfur, so expect a strong, rotten-egg smell.
- Natural Surroundings: Enjoy the ambiance enriched by the sounds of Matilija Creek and local wildlife.
- Clothing Optional: Nudity is common; if you’re uncomfortable with this, the venue may not be for you.
A Bit of History About Ecotopia Hot Springs – Ojai CA
Ecotopia Hot Springs, part of the Ojai Hot Springs network, carries a rich history that traces back to indigenous Americans who discovered its healing and cleansing properties. Located along Matilija Creek, these hot springs were initially sacred grounds utilized for warmth and wellness by the local communities.
However, the earlier decades of the 21st century saw a drastic shift in the treatment of Ecotopia Hot Springs. Exposure through social media and news outlets made it a hotspot, resulting in large crowds and sadly, misuse and degradation of this natural wonder. This led the Californian government to declare the area around Matilija and Ojai Hot Springs as private property, as a means to protect its environmental integrity.
If you’re a photography enthusiast, Ecotopia Hot Springs is your playground. It’s an Instagrammable haven; however, this very media exposure contributed to its earlier plight. So while capturing its beauty, it’s essential to respect the grounds and adhere to the guidelines set by the property.
How to Reach Ecotopia (Ojai) Hot Springs California?
From Los Angeles to Ojai Hot Springs
For travelers coming from Los Angeles, the journey to Ojai Hot Springs is a straightforward drive. Begin by taking Highway 101 and then merge onto CA 33 toward Ojai. Stay on CA 33 until you reach Matilija Road. Make a left turn here and continue for about 3.1 miles until you arrive at 2566 Matilija Canyon Road. The entire route is paved, providing easy access for all types of vehicles.
Upon arrival, you’ll enter the Ecotopia compound. Parking area is available in a designated area, but remember, the gate is locked and you must have a prior reservation for entry. Once parked, it’s a short 16th-of-a-mile walk to the springs along a scenic path adorned with unique rock formations.
From San Francisco to Ojai Hot Springs
For those coming from San Francisco, there’s no direct public transport to Ojai Hot Springs. Your best option is to drive. Take the US-101 South, and follow the directions as described in the Los Angeles section upon reaching the CA 33 turnoff.
It’s crucial to make an appointment before embarking on your trip to the hot springs. Due to its private status and efforts to maintain the location, the gate remains closed and locked, accessible only to those with confirmed reservations.
Helpful Tips for Travelers Visiting Natural Hot Springs in Ojai
A visit to Ojai Hot Springs is a rejuvenating experience, but it does require some thoughtful preparation. To ensure you have the best time possible, here are some essential tips you shouldn’t overlook.
Water is non-negotiable when visiting the hot springs. The mineral-rich pools can be dehydrating, and the surrounding Californian climate only intensifies this. Make sure to pack plenty of water for your journey.
Timing is Everything
Avoid soaking for extended periods, as the high temperatures can cause dehydration. Limit your time in the pools to safe durations, and always listen to your body.
Keep Sun Protection
Even on overcast days, the sun can be strong. Bring natural sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself. Opt for biodegradable sunscreen to keep the pools free from chemical pollutants.
Dress Code and Essentials
Pack a towel, a bathing suit, and a change of dry clothes. Although the springs are clothing-optional, it’s always good to have options.
Thermal Pool Etiquette
For the health and enjoyment of all visitors, please refrain from using any lotions or eating food in the pools. Always wash yourself before entering the pools to avoid contamination.
If you are pregnant, taking blood thinners, or have high blood pressure, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare provider before visiting any hot springs.
While the springs are open year-round, extreme heat waves of summer can make the experience less enjoyable. Consider visiting during the cooler months for optimal comfort.
Body Soak Best Practices
Consider doing a half-body soak and drying off immediately after exiting the pool. This practice can help regulate your body temperature and enhance the overall experience.
Nearby Attractions to Hot Springs in Ojai
Ojai is not just about its healing hot springs of Ojai; the area offers a range of attractions that make it a perfect destination for vacation. Whether you’re interested in outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or culinary delights, there’s something for everyone. Here are some nearby attractions you might consider visiting.
Ojai Valley Museum
An excellent place to dive into the rich history and culture of Ojai. The Ojai Valley Museum features local art, and historical artifacts, and frequently hosts special exhibitions.
- Ideal For: History buffs, art enthusiasts
- Location: A few miles from Ojai Hot Springs
Los Padres National Forest
Aside from housing Ojai Hot Springs, Los Padres National Forest offers various hiking trails, camping spots, and nature-watching opportunities.
- Ideal For: Nature lovers, adventurers
- Location: Encompasses Ojai Hot Springs
A serene location offering stunning views of the Ojai Valley. Meditation Mount is a tranquil spot dedicated to meditation and reflection.
- Ideal For: Seekers of peace and mindfulness
- Location: Approximately 15 minutes from Ojai Hot Springs
Ojai Olive Oil Company
Discover how olive oil is made with a free tour of this local olive oil farm. Enjoy tastings and purchase high-quality, organic olive oils at Ojai Olive Oil Company.
- Ideal For: Foodies, organic product lovers
- Location: Roughly 10 miles from Ojai Hot Springs
Ojai Certified Farmers’ Market
Held every Sunday, the Ojai Certified Farmer’s Market features organic produce, local crafts, and delicious food options.
- Ideal For: Food lovers, souvenir hunters
- Location: Central Ojai, about 15 minutes from the hot springs
Lake Casitas Recreation Area
It is an excellent spot for fishing, boating, and camping. The Lake Casitas Recreation Area offers a scenic backdrop for picnics and family outings.
- Ideal For: Families, outdoor enthusiasts, camping
- Location: About 20 minutes from Ojai Hot Springs
An outdoor bookstore that’s a paradise for book lovers. Bart’s Book is one of the largest independently owned outdoor bookstores in the U.S.
- Ideal For: Book lovers, families
- Location: In the heart of Ojai, around 15 minutes from the hot springs
Known for its gazebo, playground, and tennis courts, Libbey Park a great place for a leisurely afternoon.
- Ideal For: Families, sports enthusiasts
- Location: Central Ojai, approximately 15 minutes from Ojai Hot Springs
Accommodations and Dining Near Ojai Hot Springs Pool
Planning a trip to the Ojai Hot Springs? A complete experience calls for comfortable lodging and delightful dining, and Ojai doesn’t disappoint in either department. Here are some of your best options!
Casa Ojai Inn
- Location: 1302 E Ojai Ave, Ojai, CA 93023, United States
- Phone: +1 805-410-1154
This is the go-to resort for many Ojai Hot Springs visitors. Casa Ojai Inn offers more than just a place to sleep; its California adobe architecture and stained wood furniture create an inviting atmosphere. Expect spacious rooms equipped with full kitchens, spa tubs, and patio access. This property leaves no stone unturned when it comes to amenities, making it a top choice for a fulfilling stay.
Ojai Valley Inn & Spa
- Location: 905 Country Club Rd, Ojai, CA 93023, United States
- Phone: +1 855-697-8780
For those looking for a more lavish experience, the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa spans a sprawling 200 acres filled with oak trees. Comparable to a global 5-star boutique hotel, the resort features 1500-square-foot spa penthouses. These provide majestic valley views and in-room spa services, catering to travelers who demand nothing but the best.
- Location: 160 Besant Rd, Ojai, CA 93023, United States
- Phone: +1 805-646-2536
For a cozy, bed-and-breakfast experience, consider booking at Ojai Retreat. This property prides itself on offering a serene environment where guests can truly unwind. Organic breakfast is served daily, and the venue frequently hosts community events, providing a unique opportunity to connect with locals.
Ojai offers a range of dining options that cater to various tastes and budgets. While the above-mentioned hotels provide excellent in-house dining, venturing out is highly recommended. Whether you’re looking for farm-to-table restaurants, casual cafes, or international cuisine, you’ll find something to satisfy your palate in Ojai.
With these accommodations and dining options, your trip to Ojai Hot Springs is bound to be both comfortable and unforgettable. Make your reservations in advance to secure the best deals and prepare for an unparalleled experience in this California gem.
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