Grover Hot Springs State Park
Photo © J. Sisson
Grover Hot Springs State Park is located west of Markleeville and south of Lake Tahoe at approximately 5,900 foot elevation in Alpine County, California. At the east side of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, at the edge of the Great Basin Province, the park is characterized by open pine forest, sagebrush, and meadows. Grover Hot Springs has a pool complex with a hot pool and a swimming pool hot springs, a campground with 74 sites, picnic area and hiking trails. It is also a designated bird watching area.
Hot Springs: Grover Hot Springs offers bathers one hot pool (102 to 105 degrees) fed by six mineral springs, and one cool pool. The two pools and the changing rooms are the extent of the state park facilities.
Tucked in Hot Springs Valley, surrounded on three sides by Sierra Nevada peaks, Grover Hot Springs offers a soak in a setting as soothing as its waters. The granite peaks, including 10,023-foot Hawkins Peak to the northwest and 9,419-foot Markleeville Peak to the southwest, form an inspiring backdrop to an area that’s been attracting visitors since the 1850s.
At the park, true hot springs aﬁcionados can read up on the exact mineral content of Grover Hot Springs and ﬁnd out just how many grams per gallon of magnesium carbonate and sodium sulfate the waters hold. Most bathers, even those without any interest in chemistry, will be happy to know that Grover, unlike most other hot springs, contains almost none of that nose-wrinkling sulphur.
The pool complex is generally open every day from June through August. From September through May the pool hours and days of operation vary. Please call ahead for current operating hours (530) 694-2249 – this may save you an unnecessary trip.
The pools are closed for facility and pool maintenance during two weeks in September each year. Please call the park for closure dates. The pool complex is also closed for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Days.
Hiking: The state park and surrounding national forest boast some inspiring trails as well. Easy family hikes include a nature trail called Transition Walk that loops around the park’s alpine meadow and a three mile round trip walk to a waterfall on Hot Springs Creek. A more ambitious jaunt is the hike to Burnside Lake located in the adjacent Toiyabe National Forest. Burnside Trail crosses the state park, then ascends through a pine forest to the alpine lake.
Directions to trailhead: From Highway 89 in Markleeville (a half-hour drive from South Lake Tahoe), turn west on Hot Springs Road and travel 3.5 miles to Grover Hot Springs State Park. You can park at the pool (then walk a footpath and the park road to the trailhead) or proceed past the park entrance station to the overﬂow parking area and the signed trailhead at the north end of Quaking Aspen Campground.
Wildlife and Bird Watching: The forest, meadow, and campgrounds are populated by several species of squirrels. More than 100 bird species have been spotted at the park. Some spring and summer favorites include western tanagers, mountain bluebirds, common nighthawks, Steller's jays, barn swallows, and a wide variety of warblers and woodpeckers. In the fall Clark's nutcrackers, white-breasted nuthatches, and band-tailed pigeons reside in the forest. Look in creek side vegetation and in the water for American dippers, spotted sandpipers, and belted kingfishers. At least a dozen birds of prey cruise the skies here, including red-tailed hawks, American kestrels, and turkey vultures.
The park is on the site of a historic cattle ranch. For more details about viewing wildlife at Grover Hot Springs and for links to a species list, visit www.CAWatchableWildlife.org.
The campground is open mid-May through mid-October, and limited camping is available year-round. Call for exact dates and further information. Call before coming to visit pools for hours and days of operation. Portions of the park may be available for special events such as small weddings, parties, reunions, corporate parties, etc.
Fees: Campground $35 a night
Camping: Two designated accessible campsites are paved and generally usable. Restroom with shower: The designated accessible combination restroom and shower building across from the accessible campsites is usable.
Pool and hot springs: Hot springs and pool are accessible via a lift. Assistance may be needed with ramp slope. Dressing rooms and toilets are usable. Showers lack folding seats and lower heads but have adequate space. Designated accessible parking is available near the pool.
Dogs are allowed on leash in the park except for the pool facility.