With all the traveling that we have been doing, I’m sure all of us will do great with a little rest and relaxation every once in a while. That doesn’t mean our backpacking has to stop though. It’s even quite the contrary actually. This time, we are going to travel to the state of California. More specifically, we are headed to the Colusa County to enjoy the natural wonders of nature, while relaxing all at once. This is made possible thanks to the naturally historic spring most commonly known as the Wilbur Hot Springs. If you want to rest your body and enjoy all that California has to offer, then we have the perfect place and the perfect guide for you, especially if you are traveling alone.

Wilbur Hot Springs History

Wilbur Hot Springs has a long history behind it that dates back even before the European settlers came. According to ancient historians, the springs were commonly used by the Patwin, Pomo, Wintun and Colusi Native American tribes from the northern region of California. There were stories of a wealthy congressman named General John Bidwell who, while searching for gold in 1863 fell terribly ill. The locals at the region directed him to the springs. Surprisingly. The general was cured and he was one of the first to spread the word about the natural healing properties of Wilbur Hot Springs.

True enough, the hot springs became a hot attraction during the late 19th century. Of course, at the time, the springs were surrounded by newly built hot springs resorts which not many were able to afford. While there were those that loved the springs for their healing properties, the European settlers loved it because of the minerals on the ground which included copper, sulfur and Gold. In 1863, a man named Ezekial Wilbur purchased a 640-acre land in partnership with Edwin Howell.  

The duo had the initial goal of using the land for mining but it proved to be a difficult task. Within 8 months, Wilbur purchased Howell’s share of the property and built a wood-frame hotel around it. By 1865, he launched Wilbur Hot Sulphur Springs. Thus began the history of the true popular tourist destination.

Ownership of the Wilbur Hot Sulphur Springs was changed when the property was sold to Marcus Marcuse in the same year it launched. The reputation of the attraction began to grow stronger as well. By the 1880s, the springs peaked its popularity and people from all over the U.S. flocked the springs for its healing properties.

During the 21st century, development on the hot springs was in full swing. While the place was previously known for peace and quiet, it is now also known as a place to have fun and partake in exciting activities in as well. People are free to create their own experiences when in Wilbur Hot Springs and you should definitely plan your trip now. That being said, let’s take a look at some of the important things you should know before you go to Wilbur Hot Springs.

Getting To Wilbur Hot Springs

The best way to get to Wilbur Hot Springs is by first going to San Francisco, California. While you’re at the city, be sure to visit its hot spots as well like the Golden Gate Bridge. We find that booking to the San Francisco International Airport is the most convenient way to the city if you are coming from somewhere outside California.

Wilbur Hot Springs is a 2½ hour drive northeast of San Francisco or 1½ hour drive northwest of Sacramento. While making the trip to the historic hot springs, you’ll be treated to scenic views from the San Francisco Bay Area. We suggest renting a car to pick you up from the airport before your trip

From the San Francisco Bay Area, take I-80 East to I-505 North to Highway 16 West past the Capay Valley and Cache Creek Canyon until you reach Highway 20. From the intersection of Highway 16 and 20. Turn left on Highway 20 and drive to Bear Valley Road. Take the road for about 4 miles and then make a let to cross the Silver Bridge. One more mile and you’ll be at Wilbur Hot Springs.

Rooms And Rates In Wilbur Hot Springs

There are numerous types of accommodation in Wilbur Hot Springs. You’ll be happy to find that there are rooms that might suit your budget as well.

  • Cabins (Weekdays: $232/Weekends: $290/Holidays: $300) – The cheapest house in Wilbur Hot Springs. It features a queen bed and half bath.
  • Cabin Suite (Weekdays: $304/Weekends: $380/Holidays: $390/Extra Person: $125) – The Cabin Suite features a queen bed and half bath as well as a separate kitchen, living area, and outdoor deck.
  • Hotel Room Queen (Weekdays: $208/Weekends: $260, Holidays: $270, Extra Person Charge: $125) – The Hotel Queen features two private rooms with shared half bath in the hotel. There is also easy access to the community areas from the hotel rooms.
  • Solo Retreat (Weekdays: $156/Weekends: $195/Holudays: $205) – A spacious twin bedroom for single travelers looking to relax and unwind.
  • Solar Lodge Private Room (Weekdays: $196/ Weekends: $245/Holidays: $255/Extra Person Charge $125) – The lodge has 8 rooms that share two half bathrooms. Each private room has a full-sized bed and an extra twin-size bed in a sleeping loft.
  • Solar Lodge Bunk Room (Double Occupancy Weekdays: $100/ Weekends: $125/Holidays: $130)(Single Occupancy Weekdays: $108/Weekends: $135/Holidays: $140) This is the cheapest accommodation in Wilbur Hot Springs and it’s suited for those that are on a single day trip.
  • Camping (1 person: $75 per night/2 people: $150 per night/3 people: $225 per night (plus taxes and fees)

The truth is that the best time to visit the Wilbur Hot Springs would be during the winter season starting October. Since the springs are naturally hot and could reach extremely high temperatures, you’ll best enjoy your stay if the temperature in the area is cool. Sadly, the Wilbur Hot Springs is also very busy during this season so book your trip way ahead to avoid missing out.

Since this is the case with this tourist hot spot, we recommend visiting from January to late February as well. While the winter cold is still there, you’ll see fewer visitors as well. Furthermore, you’ll pay a lot cheaper than you would during the months of October to December.

What’s in Wilbur’s?

There are a lot of places to enjoy in California but among all of them, there’s one place that stands out from the rest, especially if you’re looking for a place to relax and just take some time off the busy city life – and that is Wilbur Hot Springs. Here are some of its amenities and activities waiting for you that will help you relax all the more too.

1Wilbur Hot Springs Accommodation

Wilbur’s Solar Lodge room (Source)

When people think of California, admit it, most of us usually think about the glitz and glamour. And so, it’s no surprise that you’d expect some luxurious rooms. However, Wilbur Hot Springs is not all about that. Apparently, its rooms aren’t as luxurious-looking as other hotels wherein you can get to enjoy a spacious suite with a solo bedroom complete with a luxurious fireplace, private Jacuzzi, or whatnot. Even so, it can still guarantee you the most comfortable and relaxing stay even with its simpler interiors wherein you would still enjoy a big bed, a clean half bath, a kitchen, etc.

And if you want to stay closer to nature as you spend the night here, you are welcome to pitch a tent and can still enjoy the comfort and tranquility that the resort promises. Plus, you can get to see a nice view of the night sky. Don’t worry much, you can still get to use Wilbur’s facilities. However, note that this accommodation option is not available year round. Camping is only available between the months of April and October.

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2Wilbur Hot Springs Massage

Wilbur’s massage room (Source)

For a more relaxing and well-spent day, you can also try the massage therapies that Wilbur offers. They offer different massages such as Swedish, CranioSacral Therapy, Myofascial Release, Deep Tissue, and Thai Massages. These will help improve your sleep, skin, and relax your muscles. These massages are also known to relieve stress and reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. And you can enjoy their massage therapies on their new private creek-side massage cabins that where you will also feel a tranquil atmosphere.

However, it is highly recommended that you book for a massage in advance as you book your stay. In addition to that, note that the massage services are available every day but from 9:30 AM to 9:30 PM only.

3Wilbur’s Hot Springs and Pool

Wilbur’s Japanese style onsen (Source)

Wilbur’s also has hot springs, sauna, and pool where you will also feel more relaxed. But these aren’t your ordinary pools. Rather, it has Wilbur’s hot mineral waters that can bring you therapeutic benefits. With this, you can experience improved sleep, improved skin conditions, muscle relaxation, and increased blood circulation. Its waters are also known to relieve arthritis pain and relieve stress too.

4Wilbur Hot Springs Yoga

Wilbur’s yoga class (Source)

Yoga is known to bring more benefits not just to the body but also in mind. This will help you fully relax as you stay at Wilbur’s as they offer complimentary yoga classes on most weekends too. It’s also a good activity even if you’re a solo traveler as you can also get to meet other people during yoga classes.

5Wilbur Hot Springs Library

Wilbur’s map to that shows where its library is (Source)

Yes, you read it right. It may not be a common facility in a resort hotel but there is actually a library at Wilbur’s. And even if you are not much of a book worm, you’ll still love staying here as, apart from the quiet surrounding, it is also filled with overstuffed couches that makes the place all the more relaxing.

6Wilbur Hot Springs Activities

Wilbur’s hiking trails (Source)

There are other activities waiting for you in case you suddenly crave for adventure. Wilbur has its own nature preserve where you can get to enjoy more exciting outdoor activities. It has many trails through its own abundant native pine, oak, redeye, buckeye, and manzanita for you to hike. As you enjoy its trails you’ll also encounter a diverse array of wild flowers that blooms in springtime such as the many varieties of Lupine, California Poppy, Clarkia, Larkspur, Paintbrush, and Yarrow. There are also Owl’s Clover, Shooting Stars, Tidy Tips, Fairy Lanterns, Goldfields, and Cream Cups. In addition to that, you can get to see Mariposa Lily, Western Wallflowers, and even the rare adobe Lily

Aside from hiking, you can also go bird watching. You’ll be rewarded with the sightings of great blue herons, golden eagles, killdeer, and woodpeckers. There are a variety of owls and hawks too. Wild turkeys, goldfinches, ruby-crowned kinglets, western bluebirds, red-winged blackbird, cliff swallows, and belted kingfishers can be spotted as well.

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There is no shortage of wildlife as well. You can get to see deer, coyotes, badgers, squirrels, and even wild pigs. If you’re lucky enough, you might even see a gray fox or a bobcat.

There are other sites to visit and spend some time in too. They have a Wishing Tree where you can write your wishes, hopes, dreams, and prayers on colorful tags and tie them to the tree’s branches. Wilbur’s also has a Memorial Wind Chime Park where you can remember and honor your loved ones with a chime.

In addition to that, there is the Fountain of Life. It’s basically a geyser but what makes it special is that it’s not like the other geyser that are merely stream-driven. Wilbur’s is rather primarily driven by the release of carbon dioxide form the ancient sea floor into highly mineralized meteoric water that is heated by magma.

7Special Events at Wilbur’s

Medidation class at Wilbur’s (Source)

There are several events at Wilbur’s too. Many of which can also add to making your stay more relaxing and, needless to say, a memorable one. In fact, just last June, Mary Isis serenaded the guests with her acoustic songs. There were also some readings and meditation events with Julia Harrell and Shundo. Plus there were Tai Chi classes too. There are still a lot more special events in store. You can check their Facebook page for updates or their website.

8Tips and Things to Bring to Wilbur’s

When you stay at Wilbur’s bear in mind that this isn’t like the luxury hotels that we often think of when California comes to our minds. Hence, there will be some things that you need to bring as they don’t provide everything. Here’s a list of items that you should never forget when visiting Wilbur’s.

  • If you’re planning to camp out instead of booking for a room, don’t forget to bring your own tent.
  • Robe and/or towel
  • If you’re used to using conditioner, bring your own as they only provide a shampoo and a body wash.
  • There are a few guests who experienced a noisy heater. And so, just to be sure, might as well bring earplugs too.
  • Again, Wilbur Hot Springs offer complimentary yoga classes. And if you want to avail it, be sure to bring a yoga mat too.
  • Some say that bringing a bathing suit is optional. But isn’t it better to always be prepared and bring a swim suit instead as well?
  • Indoor shoes for the hot springs area and the lodge
  • Hiking or running shoes
  • Of course, never ever forget to bring sunscreen to always have your skin protected.
  • Food or other ingredients you need to prepare for meals
  • Utensils and storage containers.
  • A book or other reading materials.

Here are a few tips and other things you need to know that you can take note of too.

  • There are several groceries that you will be able to pass by along the way like the Full Belly Farm, Riverdog Farm, the Nugget Market, Seka Hills Olive Mill and Tasting Room, New Earth Market, Charter Family fruit Stand, and Ukiah Natural Foods Co-op. In case you forgot to do some grocery shopping before your trip, don’t forget to stop by these grocery stores and markets.
  • Wilbur Hot Springs is more than 20 miles away from the nearest town. And so before you head to Wilbur’s don’t forget to gas up your vehicle.
  • Internet and other cell phone reception are not available in the area. However, in case of emergency, the nearest cell phone reception is approximately 30 minutes away, near Williams or Clearlake. The hotel has a pay phone too.
  • Last but not the least, slow down and enjoy. We live in a fast-paced environment and an “all work no play” routine is not healthy in both the mind and body. And so, don’t forget to relax and take everything easy as you spend your vacation at Wilbur’s

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