Monday, January 24, 2011

BLM Hot Spring - a brief soak or longer stay

For those traveling to, or from, Quartzsite -- a funky, and oh-so-relaxing, short stop consider the soaking pools at the BLM's Hot Spring LTVA between Yuma, Ariz., and El Centro, Calif.

The Hot Spring Long Term Visiting Area sits on Bureau of Land Management property adjacent to I-8 near Holtville, Calif.

It boasts an "historic and still active hot spring" that attracts both "local and winter visitors" who come to dry camp and soak in the soothing waters.

Most of those winter visitors are RVers, from Canada and other up-north locations, who are escaping the bitter cold and snow for the milder climate of the southwest desert along the Colorado River.

BLM's Hot Spring boasts two small soaking pools that may be a bit crude for some tastes, however, both are continuously feed by natural springs. The larger of the two is quite warm at 105-degrees. There is an adjacent rainbow-type shower for visitors to rinse off both before and after soaking. (No soap is allowed.)

Many of the LTVA campers fill containers with the spring water to carry back to their RVs and tents for washing. (No potable water on site.)

If you go --

Directions: Exit 131 off I-8 to Holtville, Calif., and travel east on the frontage road approximately one mile to the LTVA.

Hours: Hot Spring pools are open 5 a.m.-Midnight.

URL: BLM Hot Spring LTVA --
http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/elcentro/recreation/ltvas/hotspring.html

Facilities: Vault toilets are located near the Hot Spring (suggest bringing own TP). The nearest dump station and drinking water are in Holtville.

Costs: LTVA permits are required from Sept. 15- April 15. (There are two types of permits: long term and short visit. The long term permit is $180 for the entire season. A short visit permit is $40 for 14 consecutive days from date of purchase. Both permits are good at all LTVAs, and permit holders can move from one LTVA to another without additional fees. Permits can be purchased at any BLM field office including: Yuma: 938.317-3200.)

Photos: Hot Spring LTVA sign; Jimmy Smith of Spokane, Wash., soaking in the hot pool (105-degrees) at BLM Hot Spring near Holtville, Calif. (Julianne Crane)

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