To the many hikers, climbers and globetrotters coming out of the City of Rocks National Reserve near Almo, Durfee Hot Springs must look like a desert oasis.

Photo Courtesy Durfee Hot SpringsLuckily, the hot springs are more than a mirage: The natural hot springs have been providing refuge for decades, from pioneers crossing the West for California to present day recreationists.

Today, Durfee Hot Springs is owned and operated by Jackie and Larry Henson. Jackie is the great-granddaughter of Henry Miller and Rosa Durfee, who homesteaded and developed the land and springs in the early 1900s. Descendants continued to operate the pool until the 1960s, when it was closed to visitors.

Photo Courtesy Durfee Hot Springs“By then, the original pool was in disrepair,” said Jackie. “Over the years the family had talked about redeveloping the springs. That has always been the family’s vision.”

Jackie grew up on the land, which is situated southeast of Oakley and just beyond the eastern boundary of the reserve, along the Elmo-Alba Road.

In 1990 Jackie returned to the area with her husband and children. Five years ago, dream became reality and the springs were reopened for business with three pools: a 15 by 30-foot hot tub, 50 by 50-foot swimming pool and 10 by 20-foot kiddie pool boasting continuous flowing spring water.

“It’s chemical free, except for the bleach needed for cleanings,” said Jackie.

The hot springs are a great destination year-round and have become a go-to place for family and school reunions, church, youth and civic group retreats and other special events.

Photo Courtesy Durfee Hot Springs“Fall is a great time to visit the Hot Springs. The cooler weather is great for hot tubbing and there are fewer crowds,” she said.

The fall scenery and changing colors of the rolling mountains and desert expanse provide the perfect backdrop for relaxing in the natural spring water.

“We get visitors from all over the world,” Jackie said. “We’re a great destination for the area, when people come to visit City of Rocks there is more to do, which give people more reason to visit and stay awhile.

Admission is $6 for ages 12 and up; $4 for ages 5 to 11 and free for visitors four and under.

Days and hours open change with the season so visitors should call ahead for information at 208-824-5701 or 208-824-5543. For more information visit