Travertine Hot Springs is located in the California State Park, off Route 395. Found south of the small town of Bridgeport, the Travertine Hot Springs attracts users from all over the world as well as locals and park rangers. The springs are popular because of the stunning views over the Sierra Mountains and the therapeutic properties of the mineral spring water.
Bridgeport itself attracts thousands of visitors every year due to its well-known lakes and trout streams that are densely populated with rainbow and brown trout. It is also famed for providing some of the finest backcountry winter recreational facilities in the world, with over 500 miles of trails suitable for skiing, dog sledding, and snowmobiling.
Travertine Hot Springs are named after the limestone deposited by hot mineral springs, and this stone exists in white, tan and rust-coloured varieties. This sedimentary rock is created from a liquid solution of carbonate minerals that solidifies due to the hot temperatures created by geothermal springs.
Travertine was a popular building material during Roman times when deposits were mined and used for building aqueducts, temples and amphitheatres. Burghausen Castle in Upper Bavaria is also mainly constructed with travertine; it is also a popular material used for making tiles and paving stones. Nowadays, many modern buildings have thick travertine walls, using stone quarried in Mexico, Peru and Turkey.
Travertine Hot Springs Trail
The Travertine Hot Springs Trail leads to a rocky ridge that has been split by a geothermal fissure. The area provides bathers with several soaking opportunities, and the springs are notable because of the multi-coloured limestone formations surrounding the pools. The upper hot spring is the most popular, with a small concrete pool built alongside the spring providing water that is consistently heated to 105°F.
The lower pools along the Hot Springs Trail have been created by water dripping from a ridge of travertine and shaped by hot spring users. These pools tend to be shallow and appear rather murky, but are still hugely popular with bathing enthusiasts. Further along the trail are other springs that tend to offer more privacy to those who prefer to soak by themselves. These pools are quite primitive but provide health benefits and relaxation.
Benefits of Hot Spring Bathing
The practice of bathing in hot springs is known as balneology. Originally used by the Ute Indians who believed in the healing powers of local mineral waters, the use of natural hot springs has now become popular with people of all cultures and ages.
Bathing in mineral spring water can have a relaxing effect on muscles and sore joints, and it can be effective at providing pain relief for arthritic conditions. The muddy water is sulfuric and soothing on the skin and is said to help with a variety of health issues, including psoriasis and eczema. Soaking in hot mineral water is also said to be useful in eliminating toxins from the body, increasing blood flow and improving the circulation.