Jordan Hot Springs makes a great overnight trip. The trip can be done in a day, but one may not be able to fully enjoy resting in the hot springs. Prior to the area becoming a wilderness, people would enjoy these springs. In fact according to the Inyo National Forest Mount Whitney Ranger District, Native Americans used this area for summer encampments for hundreds of years. The springs were named after John Jordan, who while building a trail from Visalia to Olancha drowned in the Kern River. Later miners, travelers, and recreationalists would use the springs during the summer. In the early 1900’s there was a resort established. However, once Congress signed the Wilderness Act in 1978, the development around Jordan Hot Springs was slowly removed. Today visitors can see the old cabins, “cow camps,” and pillars in the springs were docks were built. Read the full history HERE. A PDF reader is required.
Download the map! -> Jordan Hot Springs Map
The route to Jordan Hot Springs begins at the Blackrock Trailhead at the end of Forest Service road 21S03 on the Sequoia Nation Forest. The trail heads north at 8960 feet in elevation and descends to Jordan Hot Springs for 5.2 miles. Shortly on the trail hikers will enter the wilderness boundary and be in the Inyo National Forest. The trail is an easy downhill descent into Casa Vieja Meadows. As the trail goes along the west side of Casa Vieja, it intersects another trail entering in from the north to northeastern direction. Take the trail west and down the Ninemile Creek drainage. Here visitors will get to see areas impacted by the McNally Fire of 2002 as the trail continues its steep descent into Jordan Hot Springs.
After leaving Casa Vieja 3 miles back, the trail meets up with a historical cabin. It is not habitable as the cabin is leaning. Please do not disturb this historical structure, but instead take a few photos and proceed across the foot bridge to the right (east) of the cabin. Approximately 0.2 miles later the trail will be just north of Jordan Hot Springs (6570 feet). A cow camp is south of the hot springs on the outskirts of a meadow. A nice open and sandy area just north of the hot springs can make a good camping spot. Enjoy fishing, relaxing in the hot springs, and the views of Manzanita Knob (9121 feet) to the south.
Slide show photos provided by Professor Richard M. Luppi. Check out the comments section below to read about his early adventures here when the camp was up and running back in the day. Photos were taken in October 2015.