NorCal Roadtrips

An Explorer's Guide to Northern California

Grover Hot Springs State Park

Description: This is one of the underappreciated parks in the state, a good thing for those of us lucky enough or smart enough to come here. Its remote, 4 miles outside the hamlet of Markleeville on Hwy. 89 about midway between Carson Pass and Ebbetts Pass (Hwy. 88 and Hwy. 4). But the campground is great, with many spacious sites and natural hot springs that are open all year. The park is popular with cross country skiers in winter, where a hot soak can rejuvenate the body after a day on the trails. The concrete hot pool is maintained at about 102 degrees Fahrenheit, while an adjacent swimming pool is considerably cooler, even cold, even in summer. The hot pool is very comfortable and you can linger forever without withering away; a pretty good deal for $5. There is a lifeguard on duty in summer. Hours, services and the like vary so contact the park before visiting in winter; weather can be severe so be prudent. A nice hike 1.5 miles each way takes you to modest but pretty Grover Falls. Topaz Lake is nearby. This is one of the more dog-friendly state parks, as you can take the pooch to the aforementioned Grover Falls and there is a lot of national forest land nearby. Supplies and restaurants are available in Markleeville. Anglers will appreciate the proximity to both the east and west forks of the Carson River. When you leave Markleeville and drive Hwy. 4 toward Ebbetts Pass you will parallel the east fork for quite a distance with lots of access points. Carson River Resort, with cabins across the road from the river (and one on it) and a private campground along the banks is a prime spot if you want to sleep and fish in essentially the same spot. Click the link for more info. And its a very pretty drive, winding through the mountains past Kinney Reservoir, Mosquito Lakes and on to Lake Alpine, one of our favorite High Sierra lakes.

Facilities: 26 developed forested campsites for tents and 50 sites for tents or RV's to 27 feet and trailers to 24 feet. Picnic tables, fire grills and food lockers. A separate picnic area (available for camping in winter) swimming pool, hot springs, pool house, hiking trails, restrooms with showers. Reservations are accepted at Reserve America. Open year round with very limited camping in winter. Don't tell, but our favorite campsite is number 41; you have to haul your stuff fifty yards up a slope but its very private.

Open: Year round. Winter schedules vary. Always call ahead as many things impact the schedule. Phone: 530-694-2248.

Location: From Stockton take Hwy. 88 east (see our Hwy. 88 Road trip) to the junction with Hwy. 89 south toward Markleeville. From Hwy 89 in Markleeville drive west of County Road E1/ Hot Springs Road to the park.

Hot SpringsGrover FallsCampsite 41

Left: The Hot Springs facility. Center: Grover Falls. Right: Campsite 41.