San Juan Hot Springs adjacent to Highway 74 has seen better days. There is not too much left except for a couple of pools of hot steamy water. Back in the 60s and early 70s, San Juan Hot Springs was a hippie hangout. Before that, there were San Juan Capistrano Hot springs.
In the late 1800s, a commercial resort was built around San Juan Hot Springs that lasted until abandoned in the 1940s. The resort featured an Olympic-size swimming pool, rental cabins, hot tubs, and a dance hall. All that is left of the resort is three residences and ruins of a couple of the other buildings.
Early buildings, including the rental cabins at San Juan Hot Springs Resort.
1880 hotel at Ortega Hot Spring
From 1980 to 1992, the Ortega Hot Springs were leased to an entrepreneur who reopened the site as a public spa. The Hot Springs was back in business with redwood hot tubs and a swimming pool in the same space as the demolished old pools. For about ten years, the spa was active, then the owner Russ Kiessig called it quits and returned managing Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort near Avila Beach.
As you can see from these images, there is not too much left of the hot springs these days. There used to be three small pools in this area, each hotter than the next; the center one is filled in with rocks, the two outer pools are nearly filled in. There is one small pool that has been cleared up and suitable for a one-person soak.
Today the hot Springs are accessible with five-mile and a wilderness permit. It is possible to reach the springs via a shorter route from Hot Springs Canyon Drive. However, this area is posted as a wilderness area with no trespassing signs. Wilderness permits can be purchased at Ronald A. Caspers Wilderness Park.