Not many people are aware, but we have natural hot springs within a short drive from Lake Tahoe. In fact, a resort was built around these hot springs in historic Genoa, just over Kingsbury Grade. If you are looking for a relaxing adventure, you should consider an afternoon or evening at 1862 David Walley’s Hot Springs Resort. I recently spent a glorious Sunday afternoon with some friends soaking in the tubs, and highly recommend it!
To get there from South Lake Tahoe, head towards the stateline and turn onto Highway 207, locally known as Kingsbury Grade. Follow this to the top, and then once you reach the stop sign at the bottom turn left. Just a few miles down the road you will start to see steam coming up from the creek on the right – this is naturally heated geothermal water! You will then see a cluster of buildings on your right, turn in and you have arrived!
Head into the main office (next to the café) and from here you can access the natural hot springs. A daily access pass is just $30 per person, per day. The front desk will provide you with a wrist band (don’t loose it!) and a towel. Once through the main office, there are separate dressing rooms for men and women that connect directly to the pool and spas!
Outside, there is one large pool, surrounded by six smaller spa tubs. Each tub is kept to different temperatures depending on your preference (they range from 100 degrees to 104). Each spa is filled with natural geothermal mineral water. It has been said that the minerals in the springs have healing powers. The area itself actually has hot springs over several acres (this is why you see the steam along the road before you get to the resort itself). These springs occur due to a local fault line that forms along the edge of the Carson Range.
The pool is also heated, to around 85 degrees. So when you get too hot in one of the tubs, it is not as much of a shock when you step into the pool. And, it is a perfect place for kids to play around in (it is not deep, so no diving). While you soak in the restorative and healing water, enjoy the poolside drink service. They do not charge to rooms, but they will take a credit card or cash (however, when we were there we had to go back to the lockers to grab our wallets).
After soaking in the tubs, head to the historic Saloon where you can enjoy a casual fine dining experience. We chose to sit in the smaller bar, where the burgers were delicious, and the prices reasonable (after coming from Tahoe, this is a welcome surprise! Overall, it was a fantastic way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
A few tips from my last experience…
Do NOT wear jewelry in the hot springs, especially silver. The sulfur in the water will turn your silver a brownish/black. Don’t worry if you do forget to take off a ring or two, you can get your jewelry back to the appropriate color.
Remember that you are still at a higher elevation, and the sun is strong. Even when you are in the pools you might get some color. Bring your sunscreen!
Live in the area? Visit the hot springs on a Tuesday or Wednesday and enjoy discounted prices on entry to the hot springs and spa treatments (must have a local ID)
Other useful Information:
Hours: 7:30am – 9:30pm daily
Daily Pass: $30 per person, per day
Spa Reservations: 888-772-1862
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