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Ojai Hot Springs in Ventura, California

Finding yourself in LA? Then here is an unassuming adventure only 1 hours and 30 minutes away. Located in the hills of Matilija are nothing less than two full-on natural hot springs, minutes away from the city of Ojai. Speaking of full-on, there is also the occasional full frontal nudity due to the now-senior hippies enjoying a nightly bath in the cover of the night. Basically, mind where you shine your flashlight and you will be fine. The seniors are nice enough to move if you come with a group so don’t let them scare you away.

The hot springs bubble of mineral sulfur water and once the smell of rotten eggs have settled, you are in for a treat that costs you whatever miles per gallons you get with your car. It’s a great escape from the big city and not many people know about it.


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Although you might spot the occasional elderly nudist if going to the springs at night, going after sunset is well worth it. Here is why:

  1. You can bring your own beer and enjoy a cold Hennepin or two (amazing beer) while indulging in natures finest in complete darkness. Think forest rave without the drugs, people, lights and music, but WITH beer and bubbles. A good excuse for going on a Friday or Saturday night in other words.
  2. Bringing a date will make you seem incredibly romantic, which you probably are if driving 1.5 hours for a night swim in the mountains with a date doesn’t seem foreign to you.
  3. Everything is quiet. It is peaceful when no birds twitter in your ear and the only light filling the night sky and surrounding hills is the moon.
  4. You have been off-roading all day and need a well-deserved sulphur bath after all those mud pits down the canyon.

Getting to the hot springs is quite simple. Either use the map above to generate the directions or follow Maricopa Hwy (CA-33) north for about 3.8 miles from Ojai until you see cars parked in the right shoulder. Using a local is preferable at night since it gets very dark, but if you don’t have the luxury of knowing someone in Ojai at least bring a GPS or a map.

Once parked, it is a matter of getting changed comfortably (or going senior-style) and finding your way to the hot springs down the small trail across from where you parked.

Having been there already? Then leave a comment below and share your experience. Otherwise, happy sulfur swimming and keep that flashlight away from the naked group of seniors in the pool next to you.

75 replies on “Ojai Hot Springs in Ventura, California”

Thanks for the tip today. I took my girlfriend with me to the Springs. We went at about 4 pm and stayed til 6ish. It was well worth the trip and we met some other young couples while we were up there. Everyone was really nice and I have to tell you my back feels so much better then it has in a long time. We did see some nude people there and they were really nice. My girlfriend and I are planning another trip in the future. Thanks again for posting this.

One of the most magical experiences of my life … so many amazing beings … such a beautiful hot spring … and the locals try to leave it better than they found it, always picking up after others when they are a bit unthoughtful and leave things behind, yay! Ojai, in general is a wonderful town filled with great people.

Unfortunately the hotsprings is now fenced off, a private property, trespassers will be prosecuted. I was very disappointed. I could smell the sulphur from the road.

Hi, I attempted this yesterday, for the second time, but failed to find it. So, coming up from Ojai, across from the quarry on the left is a short road that says no/tresspassing no/parking on all sides, and is fenced in. We got off near here and walked to the creek, smelled sulfur in some spots, but it was not the spot. If you go further there’s a big cliff on the left (going up from the road) so there’s nowhere for a dirt road to cut through. Is it past the cliff somewhere?

I’m heading there tommarow! Very excited! I will let you know how many signs I walk past. Thanks for the info!

I went, but Matilija Road is closed. How would one walk to the springs from the highway. It appears as through there is a lot of private property on the west side on the highway. Not sure how to get through.

THE ROAD IS CLOSED, NO PARKING SIGNS, NO TRESPASSING SIGNS, buy order of the Ventura County Watershed management bureau. Any suggestions?

Ben, I parked just where the road bends in the right shoulder. The dirt road (more like a dirt slope/trail to be honest) is on the other side of the highway safety fence thing through the bushes. Just step over the fence (what are those called anyways?) and go down the slope. The little trail will take you along the hillside for just a few minutes and you will be able to smell the sulphur!

Ben, the closed road is Matilija Road, look at it on Google map and it is south of a lake. You need to go to the Matilija Canyon road or road 5N13 on Google Map. See my comment below.

I’m going here tomorrow – could someone let me know roughly how far it is from the road to the springs so I can get an idea if I’m wondering in the right direction. Thanks so much 🙂

Tried going to the hot springs yesterday. Didn’t quite make it. I think if we had about 20 minutes more sunlight it would have been fine, but it got dark before hand. To help clarify possible locations. Will driving North on 33, you get to Matilija Hot Spring Road, which now is completely gated off. Completely blocks the road on the other side of the bridge. But 25 yards or so North is a sign and dirt road that says “Ojai Quarry”, which seems to be the area the OP posted about. Crossing the street, just before reaching the guard rail, there is an area that looks heavily traveled leading down to the creek. It is not a trail, more like a worn area with some trash over rocks (closed-toe shoes for sure) to the bottom. At this point it was too dark and we didn’t make it the rest of the way, but I did smell the sulfur, and would guess it was up stream from there to make sense of the OP’s directions: “little trail will take you along the hillside for just a few minutes”. Good luck.

Ben, good explanation. That would be the way to go and the hot springs will appear a little bit upstream. We brought flashlights when we went, the springs are accessible (and frequented) all night.

Ojai is my hometown. Ojai Hot Springs is NOT in Ventura!!!!! Ventura is 12 miles from Ojai, on the coast. There are no “Matilija Hills”. There ARE hills, mountains, surrounding Matlija Canyon. And the hot springs you’e referring to is Matilija Hot Springs!!!!!

Newsflash: I have updated the map for the Matilija Hot Springs and it should now be accurate. The hot springs are located in the bushy green area marked by the arrow.

I just called the ranger station and they said there is 8-foot razor wire blocking off the hot springs, the ones off the side of the road about a mile before the parking area for matilija canyon. Is this true?? Please let me know if you can, I was going to go tomorrow until I saw this site!

Wife and I got past the gate and documented the whole experience with photography. We found the dilapidated, old, official, Matilija Hot Springs. There were “no trespassing” “private property” signs everywhere. We could smell the sulfur and could see areas of the creek down the hill that looked similar to the pictures we had seen online, but it was all grown over with only the hint of human trails leading down to the creek from the road. It was dangerous, and not without injury (I rolled my ankle a bit on a rock and bruised my knee getting through one of the fences. I read somewhere that they had been talking about letting water through the damn to flood that area at some point in the past. After searching for a couple hours here and there, I felt like we must be standing right on top of it, but it’s not longer there. The broken trees and brush made it difficult to get to the creek from the road. The broken brush was also pointing away from the damn as though that area had been flooded. I assumed that the information I had read online about the springs was outdated, and that the place had been flooded, and basically destroyed. We left at sundown. As we crossed back over the fence, a man pulled up and unlocked the gate. He said he was the grounds keeper. He claimed there had been no flooding, and that the springs we were looking for was not where we were looking, only the official springs (which now is an empty swimming pool with dry leaves filling it). This was our second attempt, and I was sure we would find it, but alas we failed yet again. Will be going back in a few weeks for another attempt. Best of luck to all of you explorers looking for these elusive springs, if they exist at all.

Just went today to try and find it and was also unsuccessful. Maybe someone could post a picture or two with an arrow drawn in showing where to go?

No, I just went the day after Thanksgiving. It is definitely still around, but I didn’t go where the green arrow on the map currently is.

Instead, from the 33, I made a left turn on to Matilija Rd, and I went up the hill and past a house and kept going until there was a little clearing where cars could be parked. Then, I went down a little trail to the creek and found the hot springs.

Was there this past weekend with my fiance.

Take the 33 North out of Ojai. A few miles out of town you’ll reach Matilja Rd on the left side. Reset your odometer. Drive up the hill, follow the road as it continues on a ridge above the creek. Around 2.5 miles in you’ll be passing a few houses on the left. At 2.75 miles you’ll see some places to park alongside the road (and probably a few vehicles already there). If you pass the 15mph curvy road sign & stop sign you’ve gone too far. On the left side of the road before the 15mph sign you’ll see paths that go down to the springs. There is one primary pool and probably 5-smaller ones, with the large upper pool being the warmest. The lower ones are not too warm and have lots of nasty sediment, but if you get a spot in the top pool you’ll be happy.

Overall not as hot as we had hoped (in 45-degree weather) and about half the people there were nude, but still very scenic & warm enough to be an enjoyable outing. Much easier to get to them most hotsprings in SoCal. Enjoy & please keep it clean!

I went yesterday with Tim’s directions. Accurate! but note: you have to get ON Matilija Rd when you reach it, then count 2.75 miles; note 2: the map calls out two roads as “South Matilija Rd” and “North Matilija Rd”. South Matilija Rd was closed when we passed by it but the best way to tell which is which is that N Matilija Rd is a steep, step road branching up to the left.
This link here should have the exact GPS coordinates
http://m.google.com/u/m/dPCLkd

I went today and used PrimaryPerception’s tips to find it. It was a cold, cloudy, rainy day, and the hot springs were the perfect remedy. I went with a girl I used to date so seeing her nude was not a big deal, and it encouraged me to be nude in public for the first time too. Most of the people were nude, and some were in shorts. I did not feel self conscious at all, since the people in the springs were super nice (think hippies). Privacy is a bit hard to come by during a weekend, but there was plenty of space for everyone.

Don’t come here. This used to be an awsome place. Now its filled with so many dirty hippies, your lucky if you don’t pluck a strangers pubic hair off your body. The amount of lookie loo’s not even there to get in, Only stare at naked women sicken me. Lately I’ve encountered an angry youth in full indian head dress. A gaggle of large recently sober ladies, with loud children, and by far the oddest man has taken up residence in the surrounding tree’s. He makes bird sounds and leaves strange objects like a plastic light up dragon around the pools. I’ve seen blatant sex acts performed in the open with no consideration for the surrounding people. (That’s not always a bad thing, but a little fore warning would have been polite).
Shame on whoever blabbed our sacred healing pools. This wonderful place sucks now.

Stop trashing our MOTHER with your jeans, shoes, underwear, cigs, pipes, bottles. Have respect you Ojai trust fund wanna be hippies!!!

Even on a post about free, open hot springs in nature, blog comment section assholes just can’t help themselves. Missing the point, clearly. What made you so sour?

went there yesterday to relax after a long hike and while in the water a bloody maxi pad got stuck to my arm. really?

People with no investment in a place have no respect for it either. This is why you should have to pay to see the falls. It changes your behaviour and how you treat it. You have to be invested. And why not, why doe others have to and not all people.

Just went lastnight. The springs are seeming to be a bit more crowded than usual it seems. I think word is spreading by mouth from friends bringing friends bringing friends etc. The place was actually full of very nice people and i felt comfortable in my own skin:) everyone should rmbr to pack all your trash out & help keep mother nature beautiful. If you haul it in you can haul it out!

Is it still worth going to get some relaxing alone time, or is it just crowded all the time? Even during the weekdays?

Yes, the Matilija Hot Springs are now closed. They will re-open in about 9 months with a safer parking solution and a few other changes. If you go there now, you will get a ticket on your car. The cops are patrolling every hour : /

had a great time here with the hippies a few years back (2009-2010), but went again with my boyfriend in april of 2011 and they were cold! what’s the best time of year to go?

I can’t believe you blogged this you crazy dumb duck. Now they’ve closed the spring because of insensitive big mouthed like you. Really? You just couldn’t keep this to yourself? Now you’ve ruined it for all of us…you are a joy kill.

I am 62 now. The spot was so much better when I was 16 – before they got tired of people soaking for free, in the big water hole, right below the hot springs. They poured a bunch of cement in there, and filled up, and screwed up, our skinny dipping hole. You used to be able to dive from a cliff, there was an overhead cable car, and lots more water running through. If you can find it, it is still worth the effort. It is a shame that anyone is allowed to own, privatize, and close such a valuable God given respite to local citizens.

Janice,

may be they do not own the place. I want to question their ownership. They are building a huge open area with what looks like to be parking area of 50+ cars. May be someone has a business proposal in mind. Please tell us some more on what you know about this place? If 50 years ago is public, why it is private now. I can put up fence there but is it legit?

When I lived in Ojai in the late 70’s, we used to go up Maricopa Highway to an old rock quarry filled with water. We would skinny dip there under the moonlight. Is this Hot Spring close to that location? I fear I could never find that sublime swimming hole again. 🙁

The hot springs is now closed to the public, permanently. It is fenced off, with no trespassing signs. It is on private property. People are taking turns guarding the springs and calling the police when any car parks there and the police are coming promptly, because it had become such a problem. Karl, you thought you were doing people a service, but really you opened up a place of nature that had been used respecfully by locals for decades to basically anyone and everyone. The place became trashed with tons of broken bottles and all kinds of garbage- even dirty diapers, and all kinds of mayhem occuring there. Now it is closed because of what it became after you made it public.

Could you comment on what is being built in the open area? It looks like a huge parking lot with multiple BBQ spots. I guess the timing is not to save the place but building a business next to the spring.

shamaraalexandra,

Khosla and the Malibu movie stars hired armed guards to patrol their areas but at the end they still lost in court. Go google it. May be you can do what the Billionaires could not.

shamaraalexandra,

I checked the public record of the Ojai Police daily report for the past few months and could not find any call by OjaiHS.com Could you elaborate more on the calls made? Date, time and location?

We just went yesterday and there is a woman there saying she works for the ojaihotsprings.com and asked us to leave. Could someone with knowledge of the area comment on the ownership of this spring? I doubt this freaking ojaihotspring has the real ownership of this spring, it may own the land left and right to it and not the spring. If they own the spring why not build a fence around the spring? They have fence left and right to the spring. They talked about people trashing the place, I do not see a single tissue or paper cup or can. I think they just making excuse to own the spring. They are building an amusement park like structures a short distance next to the spring, probably want some tourism there in the future, probably the main attraction is the hot springs. I think the only way to keep this place public is to let more people know about this place and educate them to be an enviromentalist if they are not already. Could someone with know-how to check the who-owns-what of the area and let us know? If few people go to this place, they will make this springs their money making venue soon.

Any comment on the history? There are Martin’s Beach fight with Billionaire Khosla and Malibu beach access fight with movie stars, the public always win. Even this ojaiHS.com owns the land around, there are laws called easement and “historic rights to access”. This is Calif and can they own water resources? Water source is public and belongs to all of Calif. Lets tell the world about this place before the greed of a few take this place over. Just look at what is building in the adjacent area in the uphill direction, you could tell something is not right. It looks like it is meant to handle a large number of tourists.

Anyone wants direction to this place. Here is a clearer note. GPS Matilija Canyon road (first road north of the lake in map, Google map names it 5N13), not Matilija Road which is blocked and south of the lake. The correct road requires 40 degree uphill as soon as you turn off Hwy 33. Set odometer to zero as said before and go 2.7 – 2.8 miles. Past few residential houses on left (no other houses along the way) and starting going little uphill. You see the ojaiHS.com fenced the area with its signs. Pass it and you see the white protective concreate 2′ high barrier on left. It is to protect car rolling down the side from your friendly Calif government I am sure the ojaiHS.com wants to claim these barriers are their too. There is parking on right big enough for 4-5 cars. Just walk to the other side of the road after parking and look over the white concrete barrier and you would see the pools below.

If the OjaiHS.com people wants to comment, please comment what you are intending to build in your area. An area with parking for 100 cars and living quarters with shower and indoor plumbing? There is no trash that eye can see there.

Any legal knowledge people, should dippers video or record the OajiHS.com staff conversations about owning the pools? Kind of ask them to say their names and identify themselves as hired by OjaiHS.com to evict people? Would this help to build a class lawsuit against this OjaiHS.com
Lets work together to collect what we need to sue the pants off this OjaiHS.com

Hello everyone. I’m trying to plan an Ojai trip and this hotsprings story is getting more interesting with every post. The latest reference to “ownership” seems to be a group called ‘Ecotopia’ (ojaihotsprings.com), which would seem promising, except there’s no calendar of events and not much information at all. On a positive note, their mission statement talks about beings good stewards and protecting the springs… I just wonder how much they’ll charge now for a dip ! Heheh.

Why do you speak of “elderly nudists” as if they are some sort of repulsive monster you need to avoid? You may think you’re being funny, but you are not. It is an extremely nasty and unconscious way to speak about your fellow human.

extremely nasty? I mean come on…. let’s not take everything so personally. I’m sure you look absolutely wonderful naked but I think it’d be appropriate to get off the ledge and stop freaking out.

So I have been stalking this Ecotopia website and no info is provided about the hot springs, just that they are being given time to heal from over use. I have never been, but would REALLY like to go. And I was on social media today and there are pictures of a D-List celebrity hanging out at the hot springs today (I could tell from pics I have seen). Sooooooo what’s the deal??? Anyone? Info??

this place hasn’t been open to the public in years back in the 60’s 70’s 80’s we all used to go swimming in a place called the hole which was huge with cliffs to jump off. Down the road there was a built in swimming pool and spa and all of us Ojai kids used to swim at the pool in the summer it been closed and gated off for yrs to everyone and is not visible off the highway it is in a setting tucked back behind the mountain. NO access to anyone lots of childhood memories and teen yrs we have those times many yrs ago. a true treasure gone 4-ever but not the memories. You and I will never be allowed to gain access. The good old days of Ojai glad I lived here to see and enjoy it. 🙂

I really dislike how the person who wrote this refers to the nudists as “the elderly” in a tone that alienates them or anyone for whom nudity is desirable. I think social nudity is not an old school thing to do and I’m 24. If your desire is to pass-on information to help others, please do not pass your own judgements along with it. There’s many of us for whom nudity is beautiful, fun, and liberating. (I can keep going) inspiring, relaxing, nurturing, life-changing, relieving.

Evidently you sound more like an elder by being so afraid of nudity.

Get off the ledge and stop freaking out. They’re just words and opinions and everyone is entitled to them. You sound more like an elder? What’s that you’re saying? Are you generalizing and grouping people together? LET IT GO

ecotopia has made a fallacious and fraudulent claim of land ownership, which is a patent con scam and they should be sued silly for thieving this out of the hands of the public!

Ecotopia requires that you “make a purchase from their CSA”. Basically you pay $20 a person and receive something from their farm and get 2 hours to explore their area, including the hot springs. Not sure if it’s legit, but that is what they told me.

This is what my friends in Ojai told me as well.

As they explained it, it all started when the springs got lots of attention from a news write-up. It became the highschool hangout and got overun with teenagers and went downhill and getting trashed. It’s always been on private land, but people had respected the springs so the owners let people come and go as they pleased.

Once it started getting trashed they stopped letting the public come with big f*** off signs and visits from the sherrif. I believe the property changed hands and now there’s this weird csa thing. Haven’t tried it out since, but a good reminder to take care of places like this and leave them nicer than you found it, be mindfull of who you tell about it, and appreciate magical spaces like this.

Nude and age shaming “elderly nudist” is super uncool, especially at a hot spring. Yes, you may see naked people at hot springs, you may not find them sexually attractive, people’s bodies aren’t here to conform to your standards of beauty.

So is it still possible to get there without paying the Ecotopia thing? Or should/do we need to pay them? And can you get to the hot springs from the Ecotopia thing quickly and easily?

In other words, if I park on the side of the road and hop over and down into the hot springs, will I get my car ticketed/towed?

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hi i want to go to the hot springs do i have to pay to go in or were do i ask to get permission to go in. Or where can can i get some tickets to go in?

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