Chico Hot Springs would not be Chico Hot Springs without our natural Hot Springs pools! The hot springs at Chico flow into two open-air mineral Hot Springs pools. While temperatures of the pools fluctuate slightly due to natural elements and occurrences, the large pool averages 96 degrees Fahrenheit and the small pool averages 103 degrees Fahrenheit.
Guests can soak, swim, play and relax in our Hot Springs pools every day of the year. The two pools are open for resort guests from 7:00 AM to 11:00PM daily – admission to the Hot Springs is included in your stay at the resort. Day guests are also welcome at the Hot Springs from 8:00 am until 11:00PM daily – and can pay an admission fee in the Saloon, Poolside Grille, or at the Front Desk. Towels are available at no charge to resort guests and are available to day guests for a small rental fee at Guest Services. Pool toys are permitted and are also for sale in the Poolside Grille and Gift Shop. We do ask that no outside food or beverages be brought into the pool area. However, lunch, dinner and drinks are available from the Poolside Grille and Saloon. Because there is not a lifeguard on duty, children must be accompanied by an adult. Locker rooms including showers, changing areas, and lockers are located in the pool area.
History of the Hot Springs Pools
The first written record of the hot springs at Chico was in the diary of miner John S. Hackney, dated January 16, 1865. Then in the late 1890’s the hot springs flowed into two wooden tubs about four feet deep inside a small wooden building located where the hot springs come to the earth’s surface. The Main Lodge of Chico Warm Springs Hotel was opened in 1900 and a larger hot springs pool was built. The pool was 44 feet in diameter and six feet deep, and there were also private baths and baths for ladies only. By 1902 the “Plunge” was doubled in size and there were two large oval shaped pools, one six feet deep and one nine feet deep, which were completely enclosed in a wood building. Between 1917 and 1919 the “Plunge” was changed again – one large rectangular pool took the place of the oval pools, a pool lobby was built (the current saloon) and additional lodging rooms were built as a second floor over the top of the pool lobby. The “Plunge” and building housing the pool went through further changes prior to the 1950’s. In May of 1957 the rounded roof over the “Plunge” collapsed on approximately 70 swimmers. Only two swimmers had minor injuries while everyone else walked away unharmed. The open air pool became popular with soakers and swimmers and the roof was never rebuilt over the large pool.
The “Plunge” was popular not just as a swimming pool, but as healing waters in the early days of the resort. There was advertising promoting the curative powers of the natural mineral hot springs pools for everything from kidney troubles to blood disease and skin disorders. In 1902 the Chief of the US General Survey, Professor F.W. Clark, preformed an analysis of the mineral content of the hot springs water. The analysis showed the following solid contents (in 100 parts):
– Calcium Carbonate 8.65
– Magnesium Carbonate 2.69
– Sodium Carbonate 2.74
– Sodium Sulfate 4.87
– Potassium Chloride .83
– Sodium Chloride .58
– Silica 3.17
Total solid contents 23.53
Geology of Natural Hot Springs
There are times our guests inform us that the water is too hot, and ask if we can please turn it down. Well, no, actually we can’t turn it down. A hot springs is formed when the earth’s molten rock superheats water far beneath the earth’s surface. This superheated water is force slowly toward the earth’s surface as a result of convection currents through fractures and fissures in the rock layers of the earth, heating rocks and water closer to the earth’s surface as it moves. As the water makes its way through the earth’s crust, the immense pressure begins to drop as the water comes closer to the surface, allowing for flowing water at the earth’s surface. The mineral content described above may not be the mineral content of the hot springs water at Chico today; however the superheated water dissolves minerals along its path to the surface and the minerals stay in the hot water as it flows into our hot springs pools.