If you're looking for the best of all possible retreats, begin chanting softly, "Wilbur Hot Springs. Wilbur Hot Springs."
Off road, off the grid, outta sight and (nearly) outta mind. Bear Valley Road is a dusty and magical trail that leads to Wilbur Hot Springs. Once you make the turn off Hwy. 20, you'll know you've stumbled upon something special. You may think you've taken a wrong turn, but believe me, nothing could be further from the truth. The graded but rocky five miles to the gates of Wilbur Hot Springs is worth every bump in the road.
Precious and protected open space, Wilbur Hot Springs is its own 1,800-acre preserve. Adjacent lands are owned by the Bureau of Land Management, so there's little possibility of civilization ever finding this corner of paradise. It's like driving into heaven. Blue skies. Fresh air. Rolling hillsides. Peaceful trails. The surrounding natural beauty would surely be enough for anyone, but this was simply the dressing the gods provided and then granted Wilbur the gift of glorious hot springs.
Loaded with life-giving minerals, the hot spring's sodium levels provide a certain buoyancy similar to floating in the Dead Sea. The Fluminarium which houses three long flumes (yes, tubs) where source water flows in and then out, and with them all the stresses of life in the world beyond Wilbur. Looking out on the landscape, I couldn't imagine a more perfect moment. But after soaking away all cares and woes, I opt for an Adirondack chair overlooking the seasonal creek. Ducks and wild turkeys came visiting -- and we even spot a blue-belly lizard across the way. And lucky us, a Western Tanager...one of the staff said it was the first she had seen in her 10 years at Wilbur. Magic for us all.
The resort at Wilbur Hot Springs dates back to 1865. The current hotel was built in 1915 and offers numerous comfortable corners to lose yourself or spend time with friends. A magnificent lanai surrounding three sides of the hotel provides ample space to read, play games, or enjoy libations and meals. Just inside the lobby, the library has the most welcoming over-stuffed sofas and chairs for you to curl-up with a favorite book...or take a nap.
Wilbur was "green" and sustainable before either of these things was part of our everyday lingo. I can't honestly say Wilbur is "off the grid" since quite simply they were never on it. All of Wilbur's power came either from kerosene or propane, and wood burning stoves. Today, they are the poster child for solar systems. Their electrical systems are completely powered by solar gardens with back-up (propane) generators, just in case. The old, less-efficient propane refrigerators have been replaced by lovely new electrical ones.
You will leave a world of cares behind when you make this trek to Wilbur Hot Springs. And this isn't even close to being the "Rest of the Story." You really want to know more!