Grover Hot Springs
The mission of California State Parks is
to provide for the health, inspiration and
education of the people of California by helping
to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological
diversity, protecting its most valued natural and
cultural resources, and creating opportunities
for high-quality outdoor recreation.
The interplay of rock,
heat, and water deep
within the earth created
the hot springs that
attract visitors to this
California State Parks supports equal access.
Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who
need assistance should contact the park at
(530) 694-2248. If you need this publication in an
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CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS
P.O. Box 942896
Sacramento, CA 94296-0001
For information call: (800) 777-0369
(916) 653-6995, outside the U.S.
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Grover Hot Springs State Park
3415 Hot Springs Road
Markleeville, CA 96120
(530) 694-2248 Entrance/Camping
(530) 694-2249 Pools
© 2015 California State Parks
idden in quiet Hot Springs Valley on the
eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountain
range, Grover Hot Springs State Park offers
alpine vistas of granite peaks and wildflower
meadows. After taking a brisk hike or a scenic
stroll, visitors may soak in a mineral pool fed
from six hot springs.
At nearly 6,000 feet elevation, Hot Springs
Valley has the unpredictable climate of the
Sierra, with sudden thunderstorms. Average
highs in July and August reach the high 80s
while snowy winter lows can dip below 20°.
The ancestral lands of the Wašiw (Washo)
people encompassed 1,500,000 acres around
the Tahoe basin. Four bands of Washo lived
around the lake. The Hung-a-lel-ti (southern
band) of Washo lived in today’s Woodfords
and Markleeville area, south of Lake Tahoe.
The thermal waters-termed dih-teh-ee (our
place) lo-om (hot springs)-were valued for
health and spiritual benefits. The Washo still
live on their ancestral lands; they use this
park for plant harvesting and other activities.
Washo family, ca. 1866
Gold and Silver Rushes
After gold was discovered at Coloma in 1848
and the Comstock Lode of Nevada silver ore
was found in 1859, droves of wealth-seekers
flocked to and settled on Washo lands. More
people came to this area (today’s Alpine
County) after another silver strike at nearby
Silver Mountain. Settlers imported livestock
that trampled or ate the native vegetation, and
the endemic fish in local streams, rivers and
lakes were soon gone.
Those indigenous people who survived
the newly introduced European diseases
and violence from the settlers struggled
to preserve their language and customs.
Today’s Washoe Tribe of California and
Nevada members uphold those customs; they
have revived the Washoan language for the
generations to come, and they have reclaimed
70,000 acres of their ancestral homelands.
The Washo people’s first non-native contact
may have been the expedition party of
pathfinder John C. Frémont and his scout
Kit Carson, who passed through these Sierra
ridges and became snowbound in February
1844. Ten years later, Vermont farmer John
Hawkins claimed the Hot Springs Valley by
homesteading it. After the native Washo were
driven out, loggers and woodcutters denuded
the pine-covered hills.
In 1878, Alvin Merrill Grover received an
interest in the land, built a bathhouse, and
fenced in the hot springs pool. His widow
charged visitors to bathe in the hot springs
and to pitch tents on the hillside. A later
owner, Charles Scossa, lived at the springs in
the log cabin nearby.
Although park advocates suggested in 1928
that this area would be a desirable state park
site, the property did not become Grover Hot
Springs State Park until 1959.
Vegetation-Black cottonwood and
ponderosa, lodgepole (or tamarack), Jeffrey,
and single-leaf pinyon pines surround the
Hot Springs Valley meadow. Incense cedar,
mountain alder, and juniper grow nearby.
Profuse colorful wildflowers dot the central
meadow in spring. Ask at the kiosk for a
Wildlife-Such raptors as bald eagles and
sharp-shinned hawks perch in trees; turkey
vultures circle above. Mountain lions,
Formation of a hot spring
The current valley was formed by glacial action during the ice age, but the presence of hot springs is older
and deeper. Subduction — caused by the collision of the lighter American continental plate and the heavier
Pacific plate — forces the heavier rock of the Pacific plate deep into the earth. Along the subduction
zone, pressure and friction melts the hot rock to magma, which solidifies into igneous
rocks. Faults — fractures in the earth’s crust with differential movement — are often
associated with the plate boundaries, as are earthquakes.
When groundwater percolates down into the earth, it meets the hot magma and
heating the water. Hot water is less dense than cool water, so it rises through
the fractures and faults, collecting dissolved minerals on its course, and bubbles
up as a hot spring. Cold surface water replaces the rising heated water, then the cold
water heats — continuing the cycle. Six mineral springs here collect 148° F water at the
HOT OR MOLTEN ROCK
A holding tank above the pools lets the water cool before it fills the hot pool.
black bears, coyotes, raccoons, and bobcats
may sometimes be seen, and bats and owls
fly silently through the dark.
Camping-More than 75 sites have firepits
and grills, cupboards, bear-resistant lockers,
and tables, with nearby piped water and
restrooms/showers. The campground is open
from Memorial Day until October, weather
permitting. Make site-specific reservations at
www.parks.ca.gov or (800) 444-7275.
In winter, the day-use parking area has 20
first-come, first-served campsites near the
entrance. Restrooms and piped water are
available, but there are no showers.
Hiking-The Burnside Lake Trail, which can
be accessed at the extra-vehicle parking lot,
runs the length of Hot Springs Valley. The trail
features a side trip to a waterfall (at 1.5 miles)
and Burnside Lake (at 5.5 miles). Access
Charity Valley and Blue Lakes Road (6+ miles)
using the Burnside Lake Trail. All are outside
the park on U.S. Forest Service land. The hot
springs pools can be reached by taking the
Hot Springs Cutoff Trail.
Fishing-Hot Springs Creek is planted with
trout in summers when flow is adequate.
Swimming/Soaking-Day-use fees apply to
use the park’s two pools. The hot soaking
pool is kept at 102 to 104˚ F; its mineral water
is drained and refilled daily. A cold swimming
pool is steps away. A lifeguard is on duty. The
pools close on Wednesdays from Labor Day
until Memorial Day.
Winter Sports-The meadow is ideal for
cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Interpretive Programs-Campfire and Junior
Ranger programs are given in summer.
The visitor center gives out park and local
information and sells interpretive items.
Parking, two campsites, restrooms with
showers, and the pool area are accessible.
Accessibility is continually improving. For
updates, visit http://access.parks.ca.gov.
NEARBY STATE PARKS
• Bodie State Historic Park (107 miles)
Hwy. 270, Bridgeport 93517
• Emerald Bay State Park (41 miles)
Nine miles north of US 50 on Hwy. 89 South
Lake Tahoe 96150 (530) 525-7232
• All natural and cultural features, including
downed wood, are protected by law and
may not be removed or disturbed.
• Dogs must be on a six-foot leash and be
confined to a tent or vehicle at night.
• Bears may be present day and night.
Campers are required to keep all food,
drinks, and toiletries in the bear-resistant
lockers when not being used and promptly
dispose of trash in bear-resistant bins.
Do not store scented items in vehicles.
T O I Y A B E N AT I O N A L
to waterfall, Burnside
Lake, Charity Valley and
Blue Lakes Road
Sp r i n
© 2015 California State Parks
North Creek Roads
to 89 ,
Hot Springs Ro
to Angels Camp
GROVER HOT SPRINGS
S TA N I S L A U S
N AT I O N A L F O R E S T
Hot Springs R oad
Trail: Hike & Bike
South Lake Tahoe
Washoe Meadows SP
N AT I O N A L F O R E S T
Ed Z’Berg Sugar
Pine Point SP
D.L. Bliss SP
Emerald Bay SP
Grover Hot Springs
This park is supported in part through
of Grover Hot Springs,
an arm of The Bodie Foundation
0' • Markleeville, CA 96120
P.O. Box 218
T O I Y A B E N AT I O N A L F O R E S T
S TAT E PA R K