About Big Caliente Hot Springs in Santa Barbara, California
Update: The roads on the way to the hot springs have suffered landslides due to wild fires and subsequent rain storms so they are closed to vehicles. Hiking/backpacking, mountain biking, and horseback riding to them is ok but it’s a long way. Contact the national forest for updates.
Big Caliente is a well-known wilderness hot spring in the mountains north of Santa Barbara. The pool is a square concrete structure under the shade of a large tree with a cinderblock pit toilet structure nearby.
To get there takes a long drive on rugged backroads that can take a couple hours from the city. If the roads are wet they will be undrivable due to slick clay, and even when dry it is recommended that your vehicle have high-clearance and maybe even four-wheel drive. With a capable rig you should be able to drive to at least Rock Camp (where there are a couple camp spots) and you can walk the final 1/3 mile from there. Other campgrounds are in the area if Rock Camp is full (search for Middle Santa Ynez, P-Bar Flat, and Mono Camp walk-in campground).
The hot springs are open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and there are no fees since they are day-use only. An Adventure Pass is required for overnight stays in the forest.
Bring lots of water as the creeks in the area are typically dry. Contact the Santa Barbara Ranger District Office of Los Padres National Forest if you have any questions about the hot springs and access to them. Hiking trails surround the area so here is a topo map of Big Caliente Hot Springs.
- Forest Road 5N16
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
- (805) 967-3481
- Visit website
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