Tassajara Hot Springs is a cluster of many geothermal pools located in the Ventana Wilderness of Los Padres National Forest in the State of California. The Hot Springs is the first Zen Monastery in America with a special Japanese style Onsen Hot Springs Soaking Experience. The Sanctuary is a private zen monastery with accommodations, meals, and soaking pools.
- 1 Tassajara Hot Springs, California
- 1.1 Best Time to Visit the Tassajara Hot Springs
- 1.2 Location of Tassajara Hot Springs CA
- 1.3 More About Tassajara Hot Springs Big Sur
- 1.4 Natural Attractions Near Tassajara Zen Mountain
- 1.5 Tassajara Hot Springs Camping
- 1.6 Hiking Trails Near Tassajara Hot Springs CA
- 1.7 Accommodations Near Tassajara Hot Springs
- 1.8 Restaurants Closer to Tassajara Zen Mountain Center
- 1.9 Conclusion
- 2 Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
Tassajara Hot Springs, California
The Japanese-themed Hot Springs resort consists of separate men and women bathhouses with accommodations, sun decks, two steamy pools, communal showers, a sauna room, and a private bath. The Hot Springs are accessible to the public only during summer, however, to get access to the pools in other seasons, participation in the retreat programs and workshops are strictly required. To participate in this program, advanced reservations are required through their official website.
The Hot Springs has tranquil surrounding all around as it is located deep inside the forest, moreover, smartphones and other gadgets are prohibited inside. If you want to spend quiet hours in a spiritual monastery, soaking in the mineral-rich pools away from all the bustling cities, these Hot Springs are ideal for you.
Best Time to Visit the Tassajara Hot Springs
The Tassajara Hot Springs is open to the public only during summer when the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center is crowded and also the soaking experience in the hot climate with high humidity is not the best experience.
So it is best suited to visit these hidden hot springs during other times of the year by participating in the Zen Retreat Programs and Workshops. Mostly, during winter, the dirt road leading to the hot springs might be harder to cross, however soaking in the steamy pools is worthwhile.
Location of Tassajara Hot Springs CA
The Tassajara Zen Mountain Center is located in the middle of Pfeiffer State Park nearby the Big Sur Coastal Range, California. The Tassajara Hot Springs is accessible from Caramel-By-The-Sea City or Monterey City. From Monterey City, head straight onto the California State Highway 1 for 4.2 miles which will lead you to the Caramel-by-the-sea city.
The Tassajara Hot Springs, CA is located in the middle of the wilderness at a distance of 41.4 miles from the city of Caramel. From where head west onto Ocean Avenue for 0.7 miles, take a right turn onto the California State Highway 1, and head straight for 0.9 miles. Keep a lookout for the Caramel Valley Road on the Left, drive onto this mud road, and follow the road for 23.2 miles. Turn Right onto the Tassajara Road and follow this road for 16.7 miles which will lead you to the Tassajara Zen Mountain at the end.
More About Tassajara Hot Springs Big Sur
The Hidden mineral-rich hot springs in the Los Padres National Forest were discovered by the Esselen Indigenous Tribes of Big Sur, California thousands of years ago, who named these hot springs “Tassajara” which means “Place where meat is hung to dry”. These Hot Springs are also known as Tesahara Hot Springs and Agua Caliente. The tribals used these mineral-rich pools as a place for preparing to hunt, cleaning, and restoring spiritual energy as they considered these Hot Springs as sacred.
In the year 1843, the hot springs were discovered by the European explorer Jack Swann after a hunting trip with the help of the Native Americans who planned to build a sweat hut around the geothermal plants. Unfortunately, his plans failed, and the site was later bought by private investors in 1868 who built a resort with a bathhouse around these steamy pools. In 1886, a stagecoach road was built to make this hot springs resort much more easily accessible. This resort was destroyed and a Zen Buddhist monastery was built here by Shunryu Suzuki in 1966. The Zen Monastery has gained popularity ever since, as it is only the only Buddhist sanctuary in all of America.
Tassajara Hot Springs Reservations
The Tassajara Hot Springs is an off-grid retreat experience with many features like Zen or Buddhist Teachings, Kerosene Lanterns lighting the pathway, Guest Lectures, Onsen Soaking Experience, Meditation practices, and many more. The Zen Retreat Center has rustic and simple cabins with limited electricity, Private Sinks and toilets, Kerosene Lanterns. The Hot Springs can act as a base if you are planning to explore the surrounding creeks, mountains, wilderness, and redwood trees.
The Zen Retreat Center offers admission for the fees of $35 for adults and $15 for children. You can get meal passes for lunch for $17.50 for adults and $13.50 for children without reservations. The Temperature of these steamy pools varies from 100 Degrees Fahrenheit to 140 Degrees Fahrenheit.
Natural Attractions Near Tassajara Zen Mountain
Los Padres National Forest
Los Padres is a Mountainous National Forest spread across an area of 1,950,000 acres in the State of California. The forest is home to many mighty mountain ranges such as Santa Lucia Mountains, La Panza Range, Caliente Range, Sierra Madre Mountains, San Rafael Mountains, Santa Ynez Mountains, and Topatops Mountains due to which there is an abundance of hiking trails in this forest stretching almost 323 miles.
Apart from the Mountain Ranges, the forest is the origin of many famous rivers and streams such as Carmel, Salinas, Cuyama, Piru, Santa Ynez, Ventura, Siquoc, and Sespe. The Los Padres National Forest is the ideal location to witness many rare and native wild animals in their natural habitats like California Condor, Mountain Lion, Peregrine Falcon, American Black Bear, Bob Cats, California Mule Deer, Red-Tailed Hawks, Coyotes and many more. Fishing is popular here due to the abundance of water streams and rivers forming a major habitat for species like Barred Surfperch, Common Carp, Steelhead Trout, and Common Carp, Etc.
Big Sur is a popular mountainous terrain located on the coasts of California nearby the Los Padres National Forest overlooking the endless Pacific Ocean. The Famed Region is highly known for its isolated sandy beaches, rocky cliffs, canyons or ravines, turquoise coves, mountain passes, and many more, and it stretches for almost 90 miles from the Caramel City to the town of San Simeon. The Destination is a popular recreational site as it contains many Hiking Trails, hidden natural wonders, long beaches, famous campgrounds, seaside mountains, overlooking the vast Pacific Ocean.
The Big Sur as said above contains scenic mountain passes which are perfect for long drives from nearby cities or all along the coastal highway of California. Moreover, the Big Sur Mountain Ranges is home to many rare animals like Black Bear, Alligator Lizard, California King Snake, Mountain King Snake, Western Fence Lizard, Western Rattle Snake, Wild Boar, Sea Lion, Skunk, Coyote, Mule Deer, Bobcat, Harbor Seal, Elephant Seals, Sea Otters, Opossum, Gray Squirrel, Gray Fox, and Mountain Lion, etc.
Esalen or Slates Hot Springs
Slates Hot Springs is another natural hot spring that is owned by a private Esalen Institute located nearby the Tassajara Hot Springs. This Institute is quite popular among tourists for its new-age philosophy and self-help courses. The Esalen Institute consists of multiple steamy pools, hot tubs located atop the cliffside overlooking the beach and the vast Pacific Ocean. The steamy pools are open to the public from 1 am to 3 am every night. If you love soaking in the hot pools with cold sea winds under the clear night sky with galaxies and twinkling stars, these hot springs might be the ideal one for you.
Or else, if you want to access the pools during day hours, you are required to take admissions into the retreat programs and workshops for 1 month or more. These Workshops also have guest lectures on New Age Philosophy. Moreover, this gives full-day access to the three steamy pools, hot tubs, silent and quiet areas, cabins, private washrooms, three-time day meals, and many more. The hot springs gained popularity in recent years, as a result, is often attract lots of tourists. It is recommended to book reservations on their official websites in advance.
Canyon Falls is another hidden waterfall located in the Big Sur, not quite popular as the McWay Falls in Monterey County in the State of California. These falls cascading down the granite walls through a small gorge or ravine can be accessed by a short hiking trail from the nearby Campgrounds. The Trail is half a mile hiking trail that is mostly paved, and it also consists of picnic areas or seating benches along the pathway. The Waterfall is surrounded by green moss, and it reflects in white color around the surrounding green trees.
The Trail passes along the perennial McWay Creek where a water stream passes along which has origins by the waterfall deep in the Pfeiffer Natural Park. The Falls are also closer to the picturesque McWay Falls, falling directly into the Pacific Ocean. There is a trailhead along this pathway that can take you to the McWay Falls. This Canyon Falls is the ideal getaway if you want to spend alone time in the wilderness and also as the canyon falls are not very popular. The Canyon Falls and the trail leading to this Hidden Waterfall are managed and maintained by the California Department of Parks and Recreation.
Tassajara Hot Springs Camping
Tassajara Hot Springs is surrounded by many popular campgrounds offering various features as the activities are quite popular among Californians and tourists visiting California.
Big Sur Campgrounds
One of the popular campgrounds located along the Big Sur Mountain Ranges in Pfeiffer State Park on the coasts of California. This campground is an open campground located on a beach road and has minimum facilities like Kid-Friendly, Street Parking Space, and Gender Neutral Toilets. Apart from the lack of facilities, this unofficial campsite can be a perfect Base if you are traveling with your RV’s, Vans, and Camperbus, etc. The site is closer to the many famous natural attractions nearby, like McWay Falls, Famed Big Sur, Hidden Canyon Falls, Esalen or Slates Hot Springs, Point Lobos State Reserve, Los Padres National Forest, and many more.
San Simeon Creek Campground
This facility provides a camping space at a reasonable price of $35 for a night. The Campsite offers stunning views of the long beach and the vast Pacific Ocean. The Campground has five types of sites such as Dispersed, Cabins, Tent Cabins, Yurts, Equestrian, and Parking sites. San Simeon campground also offers many features for campers like Good AT&T and T-Mobile Connectivity, Wi-Fi Connection, Markets, and Electric Hookups, and the Vehicle owners are Sanitary Dump, Electric Hookups, Sanitary Dumps, and Running Water.
Limekiln State Park
The Limekiln State Park is located on one of the Famed Big Sur Coasts about 55 miles from Monterey City and is perfectly suited for your base if you plan to explore the Big Sur Mountain Ranges. This is a small campground with 29 sites for setting up camps or parking your RV’s under 25 feet, and Trailers under 15 feet. The State Park offers nine types of sites such as RV Sites, Tent Sites, Standard Sites, Dispersed Sites, Group Sites, Cabin Spaces, Tent Cabin, Yurts Sites, and Equestrian Sites.
It provides many features for campers like a Market, ADA Access, Trash, Picnic Table, Firewood Available, Reservations, Wi-Fi, Showers, Electric Hookups, Firepit, Drinking Water, and Alcohol. For Campers like Sewer Hookups, Sanitary Dumps, 30 Amp Hookups, Water Hookups, and Max Length of Vehicles up to 24 feet.
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
This State Park is a popular campground located along a river, and it has 189 sites for Camping or Parking RV’s with prices ranges for night stay at $35, en route parking at $45 for the night, Premium riverfront parking at $50 per night, and Hike & Bike Site at $5 per night. The Campground offers five types of sites as Tents, RV Sites, Standard Sites, and Dispersed Sites with various for campers like Market, ADA Access, Trash Bins, Reservations, Showers, Toilets, Drinking Water, and Electric Hookups. And for Campers like Sanitary Dumps, Sewer Hookups, Water Hookups, and Max Length of 32 Feet.
Kirk Creek Campground
This Campground is also an Oceanside campsite with many sites located in the Los Padres National Forest. The Campground offers five types of spaces like Tent Sites, RV Sites, Standard Sites, Dispersed Sites, and Group Sites. People setting up camps here can access many features like ADA Access, Trash Bins, Picnic Table, Firewood Available, Reservations, Electric Hookups, Toilets, Alcohol, and Fire Pits. While the RV’s and Van owners can get access to features like Sanitary Dump, Electric Hookups, Running Water, and a Max Length limit of 56 feet.
Hiking Trails Near Tassajara Hot Springs CA
Hiking is also a popular activity here due to the abundance of Hiking Trails surrounding the Hot Springs, and they are perfect pathways to search for the many alluring landscapes, hidden natural wonders and to witness wildlife in their natural Habitat.
Espinosa Campground via Vicente Flats Trail
This is a 10.5 km long trail located along the Big Sur Coast in the Ventura Wilderness of California. The Hiking Trail is a moderate one, best suited for Hikers with Medium and Advanced Skills. This all-year-long accessible trail offers many activities like Hiking, Camping, Backpacking, Running, Walking, and Nature Trips. However, the trail is closed right now due to a raging wildfire nearby. For more information, visit the Ventura Wilderness Official Website.
Mile Creek Trail
This easy trail is 3.7 km long, and it runs along Mile Creek, which it is named after. The Trail is suitable for Tourists with or without Hiking Skills, and it also features a hidden waterfall. The Hiking Trail is located in Los Padres National Forest, and it offers many activities like Hiking, Waterfall Views, Camping, Backpacking, Walking, Fishing, Nature Trips, and Bird Watching.
Santa Paula Canyon and Punch Bowls Trail
This Hiking Trail is mostly used by tourists for visiting the hidden waterfall, and it is located near Santa Paula in Los Padres National Forest. This moderate hiking trail is 10.5 km long, and it is best suited for Hikers with Medium and Advanced Skills. This partially paved trail is Kid and Pet-Friendly, and it offers many activities like Hiking, Walking, Nature Trips, Bird Watching, and Running.
South Plateau Trail to Bird Island
This 2.6 km long trail leads to Bird Island, located near Caramel City in the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. The Trail is frequented by many tourists every year as it is the ideal pathway to witness the many rare animals and birds like Pelicans, Sea Lions, Elephant Seals, Harbor Seals, Red-Shouldered Hawks, Herons, and many more. It also offers other activities like Backpacking, Camping, Swimming, and Nature Trips.
Sea Lion Point Trail
As the name suggests, this short 0.6 km hiking trail is located in Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. It is a popular pathway to the Sea Lion Point where you can witness hundreds of sea lions, and a few harbor and elephant seals resting on the rocky outcrops just by the sea. Due to this, it attracts many tourists every year. The Hiking Trail is partly paved and is suitable for Tourists with or without Hiking Skills.
Accommodations Near Tassajara Hot Springs
Carmel Wayfarer Inn
Carmel Wayfarer is a Hotel located on the 4th Avenue of Carmel City. The Hotel or Lodge offers Non-smoking rooms at a reasonable price range of $118 to $158. The Carmel Wayfarer Inn has many luxury amenities like Free Parking Space, Air-Conditioning, Free Breakfast, Free High-Speed Internet Access(Wi-Fi), Outdoor Fireplace, Garden, Ocean View Rooms, and Patio.
Best Western Carmel’s Town House Lodge
This Modern Two-Story Motel is located on the San Carlos Street of Carmel City. And it offers Non-Smoking rooms and Family rooms with various features like a Safe, Microwave Oven, House-Keeping, Coffee/Tea Maker, Bath/Shower, Iron, Flat-screen TV, Telephone, Iron, Wake-up Service, Refrigerator. It also offers many luxury amenities like Free Parking, Wifi, Free Breakfast, Baggage Storage, Heated Pool, Newspaper, Breakfast Buffet, Vending Machine, Laundry Service, Express Check-in/Check-out.
Clarion Collection Carmel by the Sea
This is a rustic hotel is on 5th & Mission Street in Carmel City. The Lodge offers Non Smoking rooms with many amenities like House-Keeping, Seating Area, Iron, Telephone, Refrigerator, Coffee/Tea Maker, Toiletries, Hair Dryer, and Wake-up Service. Clarion Collection has various luxury amenities such as Free Parking Space, Free High-Speed Internet Connection(Wifi), and Free Breakfast.
Restaurants Closer to Tassajara Zen Mountain Center
Flying Fish Grill
This is a popular seafood restaurant located on the Mission Street of Carmel City offering cuisines with American, Asian, and Healthy Dishes for a price range of $30 to $40. They have meal plans for Dinner and Late at Night and also special diets for Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan, and Gluten-Free Customers. The Flying Fish Grill has many features like Takeout, Reservations, Serves Alcohol, Tables Service, and Accepts Credit Cards.
This café is a popular destination that offers the Mediterranean, European, Turkish, and Seafood Cuisines. Hummus with Pita Bread, Tzatziki Sauce with Pita Bread, Smoked Salmon, Spanakopita of Athens, and Fried Calamari are some popular dishes offered by the Dametra Café. The Restaurant has meal plans for Lunch, Dinner, Late Night for a price range of $9 to $40. The Dametra Café of Carmel City has many features like Takeout, Reservations, High Chairs Available, Wheelchairs Accessible, Indoor Seating, Live Music, Full Bar, and Serves Alcohol.
This is another popular hotel located in Carmel that offers American, Seafood, Vegetarian-Friendly cuisines for a price range of $20 to $65. They have special diets with Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan, and Gluten-free Options. They serve meals and drinks throughout the day. The Grasing has other features like Reservations, Takeout, TV, Private Dining, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, and Outdoor Seating. It accepts payments through American Express, Visa, Discover, Mastercard, and Credit Cards.
The Tassajara Hot Springs is the perfect destination for the Onsen Soaking experience in a remote, isolated retreat center of the First Buddhist Sanctuary in California. The Zen Mountain Center has retreat programs and workshops that connect to Buddhism. Apart from these, there are two separate bathhouses with steamy pools, cabins, hot tubs, private toilets, and many more. You can also visit the Hot Springs in the summer if you are not interested in the Retreat Programs. Soaking in a Buddhist Sanctuary in the middle of the National Forest or Wilderness is a spiritual experience you will never forget.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
Yes, the Tassajara Hot Springs are open all year long.
To reach the hot springs, you need to follow the mud road known as Tassajara road, which will lead you to the Tassajara Hot Springs.
No, the Hot Springs are free and open to the public in Summer. While in other seasons you need to attend the Retreat Programs and pay reasonable fees to access the steamy pools.