Things to note for California in August… the weather is beautiful but hot dang make sure you have lots of H2O. I brought a 2L pouch for both of the hikes I’m going to mention below, but I had to stop at a gas station between them to get more water. (& Kind of wish I had brought more for the hot spring trail)
Stay hydrated my friends.
Anyways, this was a short work trip so I remember having one day to explore. Both of these hikes had great reviews & we’re relatively short (1-3 hours), which was perfect for the amount of time I had in the area.
Bell Mountain is located in Apple Valley California, which about an hour or so outside of LA to the east. I was staying in Victorville so this was right around the corner for me. If you’re near the area, I think it’s great but if you’re making the trek from the city I’d have another one planned since this is so short
It’s a little mountain stuck right on the plains thats only 1.4 miles round trip… however, has an elevation gain of 757 ft. So you’re basically on a stair stepper the whole time. It took me a little over an hour, but that’s because I stayed at the summit taking pictures for a while. (No shame, *shrugs*) The views were pretty sweet at the top so I’d probably give this a solid 7/10 for the area
Deep Creek Hot Springs Trail
Okay… this one was FREAKING AWESOME. But I wish I would have read the reviews a little further before I went because of some of the surprises on the trail. Lol, let me explain.
So this one is also about an hour or so outside of LA to the east & is 110% worth the trip. Its located near Hesperia in the San Bernardino National Forest, BUT it’s on private land. So, you have to enter from Bowen Ranch Road onto this guys property, where you pay 10$ per vehicle & he allows you to park. Honestly he was really grumpy lol, but I imagine that’s because he’s dealing with drunk college kids all day so I don’t really blame him. Just be polite & you’ll have no problems getting in. If you go to close to sunset (or if you act like a d***) he may turn you away, so just be pre-warned.
The basic specks is that its an out & back trail, about 3.6 miles & has an elevation gain throughout of 921ft. Going down to the springs isn’t really an issue, because its downhill the entire way so it’s actually quite nice. However, what goes down must come back up so hiking back up to the parking lot on the return trip was killer on the legs. I dig a challenge though so I loved it.
Alright so onto the funny part. I had no idea that this was an openly nude hot spring. Not. A. Single. Clue. Until, when I was trekking down I passed an older gentleman about .5 a mile out from the springs. He wasn’t wearing any pants. Or underwear. Pretty much hiking half naked. I have nothing against people doing things nude, I just prefer a heads up before so I know what I’m getting into. AKA- I should have the reviews further. LOL
Anyways, I would DEF NOT recommend hiking naked because I saw 2 rattle snakes on this trail. The last thing you probably need to worry about is getting your private parts bitten by a snake- so I recommend hiking this one clothed & you can get all nakkie at the spring.
The hot springs itself was SO LOVELY. People keep the area clean (thank goodness), so it’s actually quite peaceful. I could imagine how it could get pretty rowdy during the busy months with college kids, but there was only a family & a few couples when I went. Again, make sure you bring LOTS of water because after sitting in the hot springs you’ll need it. Apparently theres some water spouts along the trail but I never ventured to find them so idk if that’s true or not. Overall a solid 10/10. I think this would make for a bomb day trip with a group of friends!