This past weekend we took a much needed (if short) vacation. This post should help you if you're thinking of doing a backpacking trip to Iva Bell Hot Springs, and it might be extra helpful if you are thinking of bringing dogs. Maybe it will also inspire you to take your own weekend vacation!
|Carex in the granite on the way out.|
|There was a little runoff...(the trail is a stream)|
|Worth every step.|
|Wish you were here? Probably.|
The springs are amazing--I have never before been to such a beautiful hot spring with deep and clear pools! Some are surrounded by meadows and some are in rocky areas (there are 4-5 pools total). The rocky pools are higher up and have amazing views of the John Muir Wilderness. Completely awe-inspiring! There are several nice campsites around the springs, we didn't get either of the best ones but ours was still good, a little farther from the pools but that kept it extra quiet.
|Not a bad place to camp...|
|Siesta on the hike out.|
|Camping Sunday night.|
Once out, we got in the van and found a dispersed camp site to park at--it was amazing!! A large sagebrushy opening where we watched the sunset and made our dinner and explored. The next morning, we drove to Hot Creek, a geothermal area that used to be open to swimmers but is now closed. It's still a neat place to visit as the creek is in a beautiful canyon with a bunch of hot pools bubbling up around a very scenic cold water creek. We drove past the creek and found a spot off the road to park, and Adam set up the shower so we could wash off and make breakfast while the dogs explored. It was fantastic! Best morning I've had in a long time. Taking a shower in the warm morning sun of the high desert...not bad.
|Hot Creek: apparently no hats allowed.|
After our morning in the sagebrush we drove north on 395 to Virginia Lakes. We took the dogs on a short (probably less than 4 miles round trip) hike past three different high elevation lakes (above 9,000 feet), where we encountered more snow in that short hike than we had backpacking the previous two days.
|Virginia Lakes: more snow, higher up.|