West Valley Hot Spring sits above the east bank of the West Valley Reservoir, and those who can brave the extremely rough and rutted dirt road to reach the spring are rewarded with a soaking experience in a small shelter that provides ideal views and cool, crisp, high-elevation air.
A square concrete waist-deep tub is covered with a wooden A-frame shack that contains two benches, hooks to hang clothing and towels from, and shelter from the wind. The open west-facing wall provides views of sunsets over the reservoir.
Water flows slightly uphill from the source in the marshy hillside, and it can be diverted into the soaking pool at about 108 degrees. The good flow through the tub does a good job of keeping the water clean, and a plug at the bottom of the tub can be opened to drain and sweep out the algae that collects on the bottom.
It's clear that the springs have had a respectful crowd visiting them, so visitors should be especially considerate in doing their part to keep the pool and shack clean and maintained.
Parking is along the high points of the hill above the marshy areas, and reaching the springs from the parking spot may take some serious cow pie dodging. But the location in a secluded corner of California and the vicious roads required to reach the spring mean that you'll likely have a private bathing experience should you choose to visit.
And at an elevation of 4,700 feet, there may be no better feeling than walking through the brisk morning air to jump into a pool that's slightly too hot and requires some getting used to while watching the rising sun illuminate the reservoir waters below!