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Grover Hot Springs, located in a beautiful valley nestled in the east side of the Sierras at 6,000 above sea level, offers scenic mountain views, alpine meadows, Jeffrey Pine forests, cascading creeks, springs, and an abundance of wildlife. Swimming and bathing in the historic hot springs pool, and the more recent cold pool, is a favorite family activity for many that visit the park. The state park was created in 1959, and today offers a scenic backdrop to camping, hiking, picnicking and soaking.
We hope you get a chance to visit and experience Grover Hot Springs State Park. Once you discover this special little valley, you will enjoy and appreciate it as much as we do!
Some Like it Hot
It is a cold wintery day. A blanket of snow covers the surrounding landscape, the sky is overcast, a chilled wind is blowing out of the north and an occasional snowflake floats down to light upon your windshield. Your vehicle skitters about on the ice-covered road at your slightest miscalculation. It is frigid outside, the sun has just descended over the ridge, pulling the temperature down with it, but you welcome the cold because in a short few moments you will be melding your chilled and aching body with a mineral rich, hot liquid environment, luxuriating in the eternally warm waters of Grover Hot Springs.
Grover Hot Springs, which many enjoy today, has a long history, both geologically and culturally. Plate tectonics began their building of the Sierras millions of years ago, pushing, crushing and buckling the earth's crust; not only elevating refuge rock, but allowing escape routes for the deeper down molten rock to break out to the surface. It is these geologic forces and events that eventually gave creation to the steamy hot waters that surface in this secluded glaciated valley. After snow-melted water seeps deep down through cracks in the earth, the water is heated and expanded by superheated rock; it then presses its way back up through fissures to the surface.
The Native Americans probably used these same hot springs to warm themselves during winter treks, and in the cool evenings while living here during the summer thousands of years before the first white settlers happened by. According to some historians, John Fremont, with his guide Kit Carson, may have been one of the first white men to visit this valley and its hot springs while crossing east to west over the Sierras back in the winter of 1844. The first settler to claim this pristine little valley was a rancher by the name of John Hawkins. Starting in 1854 he started bringing his cattle up to graze during the warmer months of the year. In 1864 Mr. Hawkins began building a ranch house and barn near the hot springs and dug out a 12' diameter by 8' deep pool to collect the hot spring water, and along with it, constructed a bath house. Meanwhile, silver mining camps sprang up in the area and the nearest town, Markleeville, spawned by mining development, boasted a population of over 2,000 the same year.
The next person to have his hand in ownership and development of the hot springs was Alvin Grover. He arrived in Alpine county during the early 1860s and became a principal land owner in Alpine county over the ensuing years. During the 1870s he enlarged the pool to 40 feet, built a new bath house and fenced it off. The Grover family continued operation of the hot springs into the late 1800s. In 1908 ownership of the hot springs passed on to a local ranching family, the Scossas. The ranch house built by Mr. Hawkins burned down in 1919. The following year the hot pool was re-excavated and around 1935, a small cabin was built next to the pool and occupied by Charles Scossa; the cabin is still standing.
The following is a brief timeline of the history of Grover Hot Springs State Park. During the 1950s Alpine County started a movement to turn the hot springs and valley into a public park. In 1956 the California State Park Commission approved acquisition of the Hot Springs Valley, including the hot springs. In 1958 the land was purchased for $64,000 and the following year christened Grover Hot Springs State Park. In 1970 the cold water recreation pool was constructed and heated utilizing the hot springs water. In 1976 the hot pool was reconstructed.
A little background on the current pool complex operation: The hot pool is fed by natural hot springs, but the water is treated with a disinfectant, Bromine, which is commonly used in spas and hot tubs. The Bromine reacts with some of the minerals in the water resulting in the water appearing greenish, so don't be alarmed, it is not an algae bloom. The water from the warmest spring is well over 100 degrees, but hot pool water temperature is maintained between 102 and 104 by adding cool water to the mix. The pool hours and days of operation vary by the seasons, so it is advised to call before visiting. The pool phone number is (530) 694-2249. Fees are currently $10 for adults and $5 for children (under 18).
So, if you like it hot, especially during the cold winter months, come soak it up at Grover's hot springs, While there, also take advantage of the other recreational activities available, such as hiking, camping and picnicking, to mention a few.