The small town of Sierraville is located at the south edge of the largest alpine valley in the continental United States, Sierra Valley, and is about 45 minutes north of Truckee. This area is popular for hiking, camping, snowshoeing or just getting away from the ski crowds of Tahoe. Sierraville, being a tiny town, really only has one place that most people go: Sierra Hot Springs.
Sierra Hot Springs is a non-profit retreat and workshop center that is open 24 hours a day. The hot, mineral water that comes out of the ground here has been enjoyed for its healing properties for over 150 years, ever since the Native Americans of the area believed the waters were sacred. The owners of the resort have made serenity and body acceptance a large part of the resort’s experience, so each of the pools are clothing optional.
The resort’s set of pools consist of the Temple Dome Area where there is a large, warm swimming pool, a sun deck, a sauna and a hot pool with a sandy bottom that is enclosed with a geodesic dome with a large Buddha statue, stained glass and skylights. In the dome are also two cold plunge tubs. On the other side of the property is the Meditation Pool which is surrounded by rock tile and also has a sandy bottom. The Phoenix Baths are seasonal pools inside private rooms located near the spa area.
The Main Lodge with the covered porch, where the office of the hot springs is located, is also available for rentals. There are five bedrooms with shared baths available as well as a five-bed dormitory. The Lodge was built in the 1870’s and has a granite and wood-paneled lounge with couches, a wood burning stove, a communal kitchen and a small store. There is also a massage room, a TV room and the Philosophy Café, which serves Friday and Saturday vegetarian dinners in the summer and fall. Camping is also available on the property.
To use the pools you must first purchase a “church” membership. A one-month membership costs $5 for your group and a one-year membership costs $20. The day visit costs are then $15 per person for three hours or $20 per person for the entire day.
Photo courtesy of Sierra Hot Springs/jivan child