The Slates Hot Springs is the most picturesque Hot Springs found nearby the Famed Big Sur overlooking the vast Pacific Ocean in the State of California. The Hot Springs are also referred to as Esalen Hot Springs, as they are now a part of the Esalen Educational Institute and Retreat Center, which is popularly known for its New Age Philosophy and Self-Help Programs. The Institute housing these mineral-rich steamy pools is located on the Rugged Mountain Cliffside high above the beach below.
- 1 The Natural Slates Hot Springs
- 1.1 Camping Near Slates Hot Springs
- 1.2 Best Time to Visit Slates Hot Springs
- 1.3 Location of Slates Hot Springs
- 1.4 Precautions to Follow While Visiting the Esalen Institute Hot Springs
- 1.5 More About Slates Hot Springs
- 1.6 Natural Attractions Near Slates Hot Springs
- 1.7 Activities Near Big Sur Hot Springs
- 1.8 Hiking Trails Near Slates Hot Springs
- 1.9 Formation of Hot Springs
- 1.10 Slates Hot Springs Hotels
- 1.11 Restaurants Near Slates Hot Springs
- 1.12 Conclusion
- 2 Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
The Natural Slates Hot Springs
The Slate Hot Springs was first discovered by Esselen Indigenous People who inhabited the Big Sur region from Hurricane Point to Vicinity Creek in 3500 BC.
The Esalen Institute was named after these Native Americans whose settlements were uncovered near the Slates Hot Springs and also along with the Big Sur Region. The scientists believed that the Tribals chose this location as it is surrounded by Fresh Water Ponds, Oceans, and Mineral Rich Hot Springs. The Hot Springs were dependent on the steamy pools for Warmth, and Healing. Moreover, there were also large burial sites uncovered nearby the Esalen Hot Springs and also all along the Big Sur region.
The Site was rediscovered by Thomas B. Slate, who brought to light the various medicinal properties of these mineral-rich pools. He bought the site and obtained the land patent on September 9, 1882. Thomas B. Slate later built a home on the site containing hot springs and modernized the steamy pools for tourists. He claimed the hot springs cured him of Arthritis, which gained popularity among the people who visited these mineral-rich springs for curing various physical ailments. In the year 1910, Micheal Murphy and Dick Prince bought the site and set up the business of Esalen Institute.
Camping Near Slates Hot Springs
Slates Hot Springs Camping is very prominent as there are many popular campgrounds here that offer spectacular views of the famed Big Sur Region and the Vast Pacific Ocean in the State of California. Skyes Hot Springs Campgrounds and Saddle Rock and South Gardens Environmental campgrounds are some popular campsites located nearby the Esalen Institute.
Best Time to Visit Slates Hot Springs
The Slates Hot Springs or the Esalen Hot Springs are accessible all year round. However, only for the people who joined the retreat programs and for public use, the time is restricted to 3 hours during the night.
The Hot Springs offer stunning views throughout the year. However, it is highly advised to visit these hot springs during Sun Rise and Sun Set where the sun rays create bright orange color skies offering spectacular scenery above. Moreover, during the night the hot spring offers unrestricted views of the clear night skies illuminating with stars and galaxies.
Location of Slates Hot Springs
The Slates Hot Springs Big Sur is located at a distance of 87.4 miles from the popular city of Santa Cruz in California. From Santa Cruz, take the Chestnut Street exit for 0.2 miles onto the California State Highway 1 south towards the Big Sur Coastal range. Head straight for 86.4 miles through the famed Big Sur Mountains and cliffs towards Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Keep a lookout for the road on the right side near Hot Springs Canyon. Drive onto this road and take the first left near the main garden which will lead you to the Esalen Institute where the Hot Springs are located.
The Slates Hot Springs are also accessible easily from San Jose and San Francisco City by taking the California State Highways 17 and 1 respectively towards the City of Santa Cruz.
Precautions to Follow While Visiting the Esalen Institute Hot Springs
It is highly advised to visit the official website for Esalen Institute and book the reservations in advance to participate in their programs and workshops to get access to Mineral-rich pools.
Prepare for Long-term Stay
You need to prepare and plan for a long-term stay if you are planning to visit the Esalen Institute Hot Springs because the programs and events will last for almost a month or more.
Bring a Towel and Extra Clothing
If you are not willing to participate in the retreat programs and are planning to visit the Hot Springs from 1 pm to 3 pm for public use, then prepare yourselves to meet large crowds. It is also suitable to carry your towels and extra clothes to change as the facility doesn’t provide for public visitors.
Splash With Steam Water
Usually, when you soak into the high-temperature pools, you tend to experience dizziness. To reduce these dizzy spells, splash yourself with steamy water so that your body can get used to the hot pools.
Your body tends to take more time to adjust to the water temperature. If you are not careful enough, it can lead to burns and muscle aches. To reduce these risks, do half body soaking before completely submerging into the Hot Springs.
Limit Your Soaking Time
It is essential to limit your soaking time in the steamy pools until your neck and face start sweating because the water temperatures in these pools cause excessive sweating, which can lead to Dehydration.
Soaking in the steamy pools of Hot Springs can also cause a decrease in your energy levels which can cause exhaustion and so it can be only regained by proper sleep or nap.
More About Slates Hot Springs
The Esalen Hot Springs consists of two levels with multiple steamy pools, hot tubs, a silent area, a quiet area, accommodations, a restaurant, an art farm, working farms, Private and Clawfoot tubs, changing rooms and bathrooms, etc. The Hot Springs are open to the public every night from 1 am to 3 am and if you want to access the springs for a complete day it is necessary to join the programs and workshops conducted every year in the Esalen Institute through Advanced Reservations.
The Program helps you to philosophically and spiritually understand the world and also how to make it better with simple tasks and also gives unrestricted access to the steamy pools, hot tubs, and other amenities of the Esalen Institute. During this program, the institute provides private cabins, sleeping bags, meals, entry passes to the workshops, and most importantly unrestricted access to the pools.
The three soaking pools on the top level of the Esalen Institute are open for public use and only during the specified time of the night. Still, soaking in these mineral-rich hot springs and stargazing at the clear night skies is an experience you will never forget. If you are willing to participate in the programs and workshops visit the official Esalen Institute Website where you can book your reservations in advance.
Natural Attractions Near Slates Hot Springs
The Esalen Hot springs are located along the scenic California coast, which has many natural attractions nearby for you. These tourist destinations make your hot springs trip worthwhile.
Big Sur Coast is a highly popular rocky coast full of cliffs and scenic passes overlooking the expansive Pacific Ocean. This famed coast is located in between the Caramel Highlands and San Simeon near the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. This destination is a popular getaway for Californians and also for tourists visiting California. The Big Sur offers many diverse landscapes and natural wonders for you to witness. There are many isolated beaches, scenic passes, rusty bridges, tall cliffs, canyons or gorges, and many hiking trails here waiting for you to explore.
This scenic waterfall on the coasts of California in the Famed Big Sur Region is the only waterfall other than the Alamere Falls in California that finds its way into the Pacific Ocean. The Majestic waterfall drops from 80 feet through the cliffs into the ocean. However, the waterfalls were said to be damaged during the massive cyclones that struck these regions during 1983, which caused flash floods and mudslides all over the Big Sur that lead to the large deposits of mud onto the beaches. This phenomenon in turn caused the waterfalls to drop into the ocean only during High tide. However, this didn’t reduce the number of tourists visiting this scenic waterfall and has been steadily gaining popularity ever since.
Point Lobos State Reserve
Point Lobos State Reserve is one of the scenic nature reserves nearby the Town of Caramel. The States Reserve is a popular recreational site in the Garrapata State Park with many diverse landscapes, coasts, cliffs, mountains, canyons, beaches, coves, and many more rivaling the spectacular landscapes of the Famed Big Sur Region. The States reserve also contains many amazing hiking trails, offering alluring views of the coastal wonders and the endless Pacific Ocean. Moreover, the Point Lobos State Reserve is a popular site to witness wildlife like Seagulls, Sea Lions, Elephant Seals, Sea Otters, Harbor Seals, Pelicans, Red-shouldered Hawks, Great Blue, and Black-Crowned Herons, etc.
Caramel is a popular white sand beach located in California overlooking the mighty. The Beach is a popular getaway for tourists and Californians due to its scenic beach views and many activities that you can participate in. The Beach offers many activities like hiking through the white sand beaches, playing beach volleyball, swimming, fishing, scuba diving, witnessing shipwrecks and coastal reefs, sailboat tours, yacht tours, cruise ship tours, free diving, Picnics, and a lot more. This beach is located just 42 miles from the Slates Hot springs, and it is perfect for your beach day during your hot springs trip.
Activities Near Big Sur Hot Springs
The Hot Springs also offers many interesting and unique activities you can participate in and enjoy unforgettable experiences.
Scuba diving is one of the most popular activities here on the coasts of California, and it offers the chance to explore the vast Pacific Ocean and witness the stunning underwater sceneries and many species that live in the ocean. The adventure activity involves diving into the oceans with oxygen tanks bound to your back to allow you to breathe underwater and explore the endless ocean. Bamboo Reef Scuba Diving Center, Cannery Row Aquatics, Aquarius Dive Shop, Beach Hopper II Diving charters are some popular diving centers that offer these exhilarating diving tours at affordable rates.
The Big Sur region and the Hot Springs are connected through a highway that offers alluring views of the picturesque landscapes of the California Coastal Line. As a result, the California State Highway 1 is a popular destination for long drives. There are many short and long passes along this coastal line like Big Sur Passes, etc., for you to choose from. A long drive through these magnificent passes, witnessing the natural attractions and landscapes, is an experience like no other. Like Scuba Diving, there are many car rental shops nearby the Slates Hot springs which offer self drivable cars at reasonable prices.
Boating tours like yacht rides, sailboat rides, electric boat rides are also popular here. These tours unlike scuba diving allow exploring the many stunning sea coves, uninhabited islands and catch glimpses of the ocean giants like whales, dolphins, sharks, and many others. These boating tours take place every day in nearby cities and towns along the coast, and they charge feasible rates. The tours also offer you life jackets and fishing gear if you love to fish here in this great Pacific Ocean.
Tasting Seafood Varieties
These coastal regions are the perfect places to taste the wide range of seafood dishes in the many seaside restaurants nearby Hot Springs. The restaurants offer many popular seafood dishes made of rare fishes, oysters, crustaceans, etc. These Popular restaurants allow you to taste the many popular seafood cuisines nearby. Moreover, the restaurants offer multiple cuisines for budget-friendly prices. During your hot springs trip, make sure to visit the many seaside restaurants to experience the varieties.
Hiking Trails Near Slates Hot Springs
Hiking in these stunning coastal areas lets you explore and catch a glimpse of the many hidden coves, isolated beaches, tall cliffs, gorges, turquoise coves, and the endless ocean. As a result, it is a frequent activity by many tourists every year.
Buzzards Roost Trail
Buzzards Roost Trail is an easy 4.2 km long hiking trail located near the Slates Hot Springs in the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. The Trail features stunning coastal mountains, cliffs, and colorful wildflower patches. This Hiking Trail is frequented by Tourists from March to October for various activities like Hiking, Nature Trips, Bird Watching, Camping, Backpacking, etc. This is a loop trail, and it has an elevation gain of 247 m.
Partington Cove Trail
Partington Cove is a moderate Hiking Trail that is only 1.8 km long. However, it is only suitable for Hikers with Medium and Advanced Skills due to rugged terrain and steep climb’s. The Trail features a hidden waterfall, and it offers spectacular views of the California coast and the far-reaching Pacific Ocean. The Hiking Trail is open all year long, and it offers many activities like Hiking, Walking, Running, Camping, Backpacking, Cove Views, Nature Trips, and Witnessing Wildlife.
Overlook Trail to McWay Falls
This Hiking Trail is popular among tourists visiting the famous McWay Falls as it is one of the pathways leading to it. This easy trail is 1.8 km long and is best suited for tourists with or without Hiking Skills. The Trail is accessible from September to December and offers several activities for tourists like Hiking, Camping, Beach Surfing, Beach Volleyball, Kite Surfing, Fishing, Waterfall views, Camping, Backpacking, and Nature Trips.
This is one of the few hiking trails located along the beach nearby the Esalen Hot Springs in Big Sur, California. This Hiking Trail is 1.4 km long, and it gives access to the isolated Pfeiffer Beach and it is suitable for tourists with or without Hiking Skills. The Hiking Trail is visited often by tourists from April to October and they take part in many activities like Swimming, Camping, Walking, Hiking, Star Gazing, Beach Surfing, Kite Surfing, Beach Volleyball, Nature Trips, and Bird Watching.
Tanbark Trail and Tin House
One of the hardest hiking trails near the Esalen Institute in the Julia Pfeiffer State Park. This Hiking Trail is 9.8 km long, and it is ideal for Hikers with Advanced Skills. This year-long accessible trail offers several activities like Hiking, Walking, Running, Nature Trips, Bird Watching, etc. The trail also offers scenic views of the coastal landscapes and endless blue ocean stretching towards the Horizon. Unfortunately, the Hiking Trail is closed right now due to a raging wildfire nearby which damaged the trail.
Formation of Hot Springs
The Hot Springs are naturally heated pools or geothermal pools that are produced by volcanic activity underground or sometimes by radioactive decay of elements underground. The Hot Springs are formed when the groundwater streams come in contact with the molten magma due to high volcanic activity underground, this heated water is forced up into the surface through small cracks and crevices. It is also formed when the groundwater streams come in contact with decaying radioactive elements which cause the water temperature to rise and they flow up to the surfaces through small cracks and crevices.
These Steamy Pools vary in temperature and size that mostly depends on the force of the water, the time taken to reach the surface, and the source temperature. These Hot Springs contain many essential minerals as they come in contact with mineral deposits underground, which have various medicinal properties. The Hot Springs have water temperatures are 98 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperatures are much higher, the pools can be dangerous as they can cause severe burns and muscle aches. Moreover, hot springs don’t have transparent colors due to the acidic reactions occurring in them.
Slates Hot Springs Hotels
The Arbor Inn
The Arbor Inn is a budget-friendly hotel with a price range of $78 to $128 located in the City of Monterey nearby Hot Springs. This hotel has Non-smoking rooms with amenities like Telephone, Housekeeping, Microwave, Refrigerator, and Flat screen TV. The Arbor Inn Lodge has many luxury amenities like Free Parking, Breakfast Buffet, Free High-Speed Internet Connection(Wi-Fi), 24 hours Desk, Vending Machine, Express Check-in/Check-out.
Monterey Bay Lodge
Monterey Bay Lodge is a modern hotel located across Lake El Estero in Monterey City. They have Non-smoking and Family rooms with features like Air-Conditioning, Safe, Iron, Alarm Clock, Kitchenware, Flatscreen TV, Refrigerator, and Microwave. Monterey Bay Lodge also offers luxury amenities like Free Parking, Outdoor Heated Pool, Wifi, Newspaper, Hot Tub, Restaurant, Vending Machine, 24 hrs Front Desk, Sun Loungers/Beach Chairs, and many more.
Restaurants Near Slates Hot Springs
Flaherty’s Seafood Grills & Oyster Bar
This top-rated seafood restaurant is located on 6th Avenue in Caramel City. Some famous appetizers offered by the restaurant are Oysters on Half Shell, Crispy Local Calamari, Fried Castroville Artichoke, and Signature Crab Cakes, etc. The restaurant offers meal plans for Brunch, Dinner, Lunch, Drinks, and LateNight with various types of cuisines like American, Seafood, Bar, and Soups for the price range of $12 to $30. Flaherty’s Seafood Grills & Oyster Bar accepts payments through American Express, Mastercard, Visa, Direct cash, Discover, and Credit Cards.
Compagno’s Market & Deli
This budget-friendly restaurant is located on Prescott Avenue in Monterey City. The restaurant offers American and Deli Cuisines with meal plans for lunch. They have special diets with Vegetarian Friendly. It also offers various features like Takeout, Free Parking Space, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol and it also accepts payments through Credit Cards.
The Slates Hot Springs is one of the mineral hot springs located on a cliffside offering amazing views of the coast and the endless Pacific Ocean. The Hot Springs are in the Esalen Institute which has retreat programs and workshops to participate in. You can get access to the steamy pools from here. Apart from this, visit the hot springs during the public soaking time from 1 pm to 3 pm under the clear night sky filled with galaxies. Moreover, the Hot Springs are located along the Famed Big Sur Coast which is highly popular for its picturesque landscapes and natural wonders. It is easily accessible from San Jose, San Francisco, and Santa Cruz in California.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
Yes, the Hot Springs are open for public use from 1 am to 3 am every night.
There are 3 pools and multiple hot and claw tubs in these Hot Springs.
Yes, the Esalen Institute consisting of the mineral-rich pools is open now.
The closest airport to Hot Springs is Norman Y. Mineta International Airport in San Jose.