Applegate Hot Springs, also known as Chicken Hot Springs, lie in a geothermally rich region of northeastern California's Surprise Valley. Two other more-accessable hot springs, Leonards and Glenn, have both recently been made off-limits by the property owners, leaving Applegate/Chicken as the lone soaking opportunity in this area.
Surfacing at up to 180 degrees at the sources, the spring water flows down a vein on the sage-spotted hillside until it reaches a single primitive pool. Adjusting the diversion rocks allows the hot water to flow in and heat the pool until the desired temperature is reached. Water temperature at the diversion point is about 112 degrees.
The pool is okay and large enough for several people to sit in, though the murky appearance of the water and the cow pies surrounding the area on this open range may be a bit of a turn-off for soakers.
On the plus side, the Applegate has a sweeping view of Surprise Valley, and it's a safe bet you'll have the springs to yourself.
Access is by a graded gravel road until the final 1,000 yards; passenger cars and trucks should be able to make it barring any recent wet weather. You may just as easily opt for parking off the gravel road to walk up the water vein until hitting the pool. A firepit sits alongside the pool as well.