If you're like us, nothing means getaway more than stepping back into nature - preferably the forest - and preferably with hot springs.
We are what you could call hot springs junkies - an entire road trip plan can and will be built around where we can go soak our bones in nature's hot tub.
We've visited many up and down the west coast, and have strong opinion of them all. Truth be told, we could probably write an extensive hot spring guide of this part of the world, complete with detailed reviews for any type of hot springer.
During our recent excursion to Yosemite, we obviously chose to go out of our way in order to hot spring. Usually we'll hit Travertine hot springs outside of Bridgeport (pictured above), but we were truly craving something a bit more tucked away. Plus, camping is always a plus. That's when we discovered that just 14 miles away on the other side of town was the glory that is Buckeye Hot Springs.
Fed from natural mineral springs which cascade over a rock face, the hot water used to be wasted into the adjacent creek. Once the pools were built, they fed directly into a stream-side oasis, creating an absolutely serene and otherworldly experience for the Sierras.
The water temp is excellent, and with 4 pools to choose from your spoiled for some privacy. Not to mention pool #3 has underwater vents, creating sometimes overwhelmingly hot spots for those who love the almost intolerable heat. Plus with the creek next to it, hot to cold plunges are an absolute possibility. Beware, never nudes - naked factor is high, so if it weirds you out, maybe avoid. Naturalists, you'll feel right at home.
A short walk along the stream away is a great little campground. Absolutely primitive - come prepared to bush toilet it - but the seclusion factor was high for the middle of summer. Come prepared with everything - water included - as town is at least 8 miles away. Best part? With no one around collecting money, or boxes, or numbered spots...... the camping seemed free! (or we're idiots and didn't see it, if so, sorry Buckeye!)
Waking up in the morning and strolling down to the springs to find steam rising from their healing pools was a religious experience - I could give up a lot to wake up like that every day.
From here it's a short 30 minutes to Yosemite National Park for more trekking, scenery and beauty.
If you're up Yosemite way and on the 395, stop by Buckeye for a night or two and enjoy. As always, pack in and pack out, be respectful, and maybe only share with those you'd want to soak and share your peace with ;-)