The sharper edge to traveling in Asia

WoWasis spa review: Wilbur Hot Springs in Northern California

Written By: herbrunbridge - Jul• 03•11

So why is your WoWasis Asian field team in California for a spa review? Because we heard that many Asian visitors go there on visits from overseas, and now we can see why. Wilbur Hot Springs is located roughly 2.5 hours north of San Francisco, 22 miles from the town of Williams on Interstate 5, where there are reasonably priced motels and a terrific restaurant (Granzella’s, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner). 

People have been coming to these springs for centuries, and the current spa peration began in 1972. It’s located within a private reserve, so reservations should be made in advance. As the brochure states: 

The greatest gift of Wilbur Hot Springs is the natural hot mineral water. Sheltered by a fluminarium, the water is channeled into three long flumes, with temperatures ranging from a gentle 98 degrees to a challenging 109 degrees. Clothing is optional in the bathing area (clothing is, however, required everywhere else on the property). There is a large, cool-water pool, an outdoor hot mineral sitting pool, and a dry sauna next to the fluminarium. With a sweeping deck connecting it all, there’s lots of space for enjoying Wilbur’s sulfur creek and the encircling mountain view, or for simply stretching out in the sun or shade. 

After taking a shower, we began resting in the first fluminarium channel, one of three in the building, each progressively hotter. No talking is allowed in there, and many people bring a book and enjoy a good read while luxuriating in the waters. Outside, there is another pool, where people enjoy the waters and chat. We found guests from Japan, China, Korea, and Malaysia there. Several feet away, there is a sauna, and all in all, we found it an enjoyable visit for a half day. The clothing optional aspect is wonderful. Day use is $49 USD for adults, and $22 for children 4-12. 

They offer other services, too, including massage ($89 per hour), and camping, bunkhouse, and private room overnight stays. Guests are allowed kitchen privileges in the main house to cook their own meals. Private rooms are pricy, ranging from $149-$215. We recommend taying in Williams instead, where you can use the money you save for lodging to pay for a great dinner at Granzella’s. 

Our only negative was that we found the desk staff to be grumpy and rather unwelcoming. They welcomed our money, though. Once we were away from the main building and entered the spa area, we enjoyed ourselves. It was clean, well-maintained, and made for an enjoyable hot springs experience. 

Wilbur Hot Springs
3375 Wilbur Springs Road
Wilbur Springs, CA 95987-9709
Phone: (530) 473-2306 

Directions, coming from the San Francisco Bay Area 

Accessible via main highways, Wilbur Hot Springs is a 2.5 hour drive northeast of San Francisco, and 1.5 hours north of the Sacramento Airport. The most preferred, direct and scenic route to Wilbur Hot Springs from the Bay Area is Highway 80, then taking Interstate 505 north to Highway 16, and to Highway 20. From the intersection of Highways 16 and 20, go west on Highway 20 for 675 feet and turn right onto Bear Valley Road (it’s fairly well hidden, at GPS N39°00.729’  W122°21.636’). Follow this dirt road for about 4 miles and turn left to cross the historic silver bridge at GPS N39°02.426’  W122°24.484’. Continue one more mile and you’ll arrive at Wilbur Hot Springs.

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