When I had first heard of Benton Hot Springs in Benton, California, I knew I had to go. There is a hot spring at every campsite. A hot spring at every campsite! I called to reserve a site two months in advance thinking I could snag a weekend. The best I could do was a Monday. It worked out well, it gave Thea and I an opportunity to ditch the guys and plan a little road trip.
When Thea and I arrive in Benton (on Highway 120, east of Yosemite National Park), it’s pouring rain. After we check in, the weather begins to clear out, so we quickly set up the tent, grab a glass of wine, and hike up a short path to the Benton Cemetery. Outside the gate, there is a box containing several 3-ring binders. One has a short history of everyone buried there, another is labeled Murders and Suicides. We grab those and wander around taking turns reading about the early residents of Benton.
When the storm passes, we soak in the hot spring. The temperature of the water is perfect. We hear a light hum of conversation as other campers emerge from wherever they had weathered the storm.
Later, as we sit next to the campfire, we can see bits of light scattered around. I believe all 11 campsites are full that night. It’s surprisingly quiet though, no music is allowed, and everyone respectfully keeps their tone down. We appreciate that in such a peaceful setting. Thea and I both sleep well, despite the ghost stories and cemetery visit. The next morning, we’re right back in that tub.
Are you planning a trip to Benton Hot Springs? Make your reservations far in advance! There is also an Inn, a Bungalow, and other facilities to rent. We didn’t see any potable water in the camping area nor did they mention it when we checked in, so bring your own. They also didn’t have any firewood for sale at the Inn, so bring that too. I’m partial to hot tub #9 because the tub is huge and the view is amazing, but each tub/site is unique.