You think you have seen all you can out on the Black Rock playa. Here's more interesting adventure awaiting you. What surprises a lot of people visiting the Black Rock Desert is there is water all around. It comes out of the ground in hot springs that surround the dry lake bed. They are the drainage of the Black Rock water sheds heated by actual Magma deep underground. Here is how to find three of the most popular springs. But before you do any exploring of this desert you should read the Balls Serious Page regarding travel on the lake bed. You will be traveling in the more remote areas of the dry lakebed, and if something happens you might just end up with a very long hike back to a road.

A View of Trego Spring

The first hot spring is the easiest one to find. Trego hot spring is the closes one to the launch site and it directly across from the twelve-mile entrance. To get to the hot spring enter the lakebed from the twelve mile entrance and head directly east while staying on the dirt road that crosses the lake.

If you're at the launch site head southeast until you pick up the road crossing the lake. Once you get to the shore slow down because you will be crossing two sets of railroad tracks. If there is only one set of tracks you are at the lower Trego crossing head back out into the lake and head north to the main Trego crossing. Before you cross the tracks STOP and look both ways. If you see any trains at all don't even try to beat them, the trains are traveling at seventy miles an hour and the distant is very deceiving. There have been accidents at this crossing, and it is the car that always loses. Once you're across the track look for a dirt road that turns off to the left. This is the road that goes up to the hot spring.

Another View of Trego Spring

The interesting thing about Trego hot spring is that it is man made. The railroad stuck a hot spring when they were laying the tracks, and to drain away the water they dug this ditch that filled up. This make Trego the only hot spring that you can swim in, but use extreme caution before entering any hot spring, especially where the water comes out of the ground. The water tends to be hot enough to burn you really bad. Being in a ditch the water has time to cool down as long as you stay away from the source. You also get a very good view of the lakebed from this location. Since you're at the mid point of the lake and you're up on the eastern shore. (GPS Spring Location 40N 46.200' / 119W 06.780' )

Black Rock Hot Spring, A Pioneers Pleasure

The next hot spring on our tour is Black Rock hot spring. What makes this hot spring famous is that it is at the foot of the Black Rock Point. To get to this spring from the launch site head west until you pick up the road that runs north up the dry lakebed. There are several branches along the way keep taking the branch that will head you towards the left side of Black Rock Mountain. When you get close to the shoreline make sure that you are on the dirt road leading off the lakebed, since the area that's along the shoreline is filled with three to four foot gullies. And if you're not on the main dirt road you will find yourself in deep sand dunes that surround the shoreline. Make sure you stay on the main dirt roads when trying to find these hot springs.

This Hot Spring is Very Clear and Very Hot

Black Rock hot springs is the typical round hot spring, one side of the small lake is where the water bubbles up out of the ground. It is quite interesting to see hot water bubbling out of the ground, but never forget this water can burn you if you slip into the spring. Make sure that you don't get too close the edge, since the sides tend to be loose.

This spring is also along the Applegate Larsen trail, this is the trail that the pioneer's travel along to get to Oregon in the mid 1800's. Next to the spring are trail makers that are made out of old railroad rails. On each of the rails is a little plaque that tells a little story of this area. It is amazing how those early pioneers where happy to see this water, even with it being a hot spring. (GPS Spring Location 40N 58.320' / 119W 00.420' )

An Abandoned Covered Wagon is a Reminder of Someone's
Attempt at Sheep Herding Gone Bust

Black Rock Hot Spring From Atop Black Rock Point.
It is Easy to See The Huge Water "Swamp" in the Desert

Double Hot Has Two Pools of Very Very Hot Water

The last hot spring is the hardest one to find. "Double Hot" hot spring is one of the more remote hot springs on our little tour. We highly recommend using a GPS to find this spring. It is located about 1/3 the way up the west branch of the playa.

If your coming from Black Rock hot spring there are two ways to go, the first is going west along the Applegate Larsen trail, which is a very nice trail to follow but it does require a 4x4 vehicle. The safest way is to go is to go back out on the lakebed and drive back to the first branch of the dirt road that you come to. Turn right and head West taking that road that eventually heads back off the lakebed. Do not try to travel along the shoreline due to the deep gullies that are along the shoreline, stay on the road.

The Wire Fence is There For a Reason

If you're coming from the launch site head west until you pick up the west road. Then travel north, when you get the first branch stay on the branch that bears left and continues north. If you follow this branch it would take you to the most northern entrance to the playa. When you get to the second branch you want to bear right. This will take you up the west fork of the playa and towards the exit off the lakebed. Using your GPS keep following the branches that the GPS is pointing to. Once again stay on the main dirt roads since it will be impossible to find this spring if you travel off the main paths, even with an GPS. Once you leave the lakebed you will follow a twisting dirt road for about half a mile. The spring will be on your left side and will be surround by a large barbwire fence.

Double Hot Has Remarkably Clear Deceptively Hot Water

Double Hot is the most dangerous of all the hot spring in the area. A family lost their daughter in the hot spring when she jumped in to try to save her dog. They sued the BLM, and that is why there is now a fence surrounding the spring . It is best to be safe and stay on the outside of the fence. Double Hot is name for one of two reasons, first there are two hot spring side by side, or second it was name for its waters being twice as hot as any other spring in the area.

It is really amazing to watch the water boil up from the ground. You can watch steam rise from the spring surface at all times of the year. If you read the small historical marker you will learn the pioneers use to cook their beans in its waters. So bring along a can of Spaghetti O's and stick it in the springs run off to heat it up for lunch. The small streams that leave the fence area are still very hot water so be careful and don't stick your hands or feet in its run off. Also surround the springs are smaller springs that have hot water flowing out of them. It is very interesting to sit down next to one and listen to the Earth talk to you as it gurgles and burps.

A Little Civilization in the Middle of Nowhere

About 50 yards down stream from the springs is one of the fun sites around Black Rock. Sitting out in the middle of no where is a hot tub. It is a metal tub that someone has put out there and have ran some pipes over to the hot water flow in the stream. Last year there was even a beach ball still sitting in the tub, so bring along your swimsuit and take a dip in the tub.

Since your up on the raised shore you can get a pretty nice view of the lake bed while you soak. (GPS Spring Location 41N 03.060' / 119W 01.680' )

So we are now at the end of our little tour of the Hot Springs of Black Rock desert. These three spring are probably the most famous springs readily accessible in the area. There are still many more that surround the lakebed. We hope you will have fun exploring these very special area. Keep in mind when you travel in these areas you will see a lot of nature and history so make sure you bring your camera with you.