Soda Springs is a rare, accessible, naturally carbonated groundwater source first used by the native Mountain Maidu and later by white settlers. Flowing though calcium carbonate rock, the spring water acquires a carbonated fizz that was long thought to give the water medicinal benefits. PG&E, which owns the land comprising Humbug Valley, has restored the springs and built the facility for public use.
Lying at 4,400 feet, the scenic montane valley has had an interesting history. The Maidu tribe inhabited the area for before the the influx of white settlers during the 19th-century California gold rush. In addition to gold mining, the area also became known for cattle ranching and even summer resorts. PG&E acquired the land in 1930, leasing it to ranchers for livestock grazing after a plan to dam the valley for a hydroelectric reservior fell through.
As part of an effort to restore Yellow Creek, a renowned wild trout stream that runs through the valley, livestock grazing in the area ended in 2000. Wild trout populations in Yellow Creek have rebounded.
If you are looking to stay in the area, check nearby Yellow Creek Campground.