Harbin Hot Springs

nearest town: Middletown CA

part of: private

A private Campground, Hot Soak, Hotel/Motel in the Nor Cal region.

Number of visits: many

GPS: 38.793,-122.6756

Bathroom: yes • Water: yes

All through the 90's and 00's this was my favorite getaway - old resort in the hills, a very hot pool, a just-right pool, a cold plunge, a lap pool that rocks on hot summer days, a cozy lodge, breakfast in the morning, expensive espresso drinks all day, world music dance every Tues and Thurs night.

That whole vibe got vaporized in the fire. But the wonderful hot water is still coming out of the ground and the tubs (and beautiful ironwork railings) are still here!

Last few visits before the cleansing fire I thought they were getting a little too taken with themselves. A Harbin parking ticket?! Give me a break.

Then came the fire that consumed all the beautiful old wooden buildings. Everything that wasn't stone or metal was gone.

On the way to rebuilding came COVID, now they're back!

Spot keywords:
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Some T-Mobile cellphone reception but not great.

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Notes on each visit (posted cost • senior cost):

September 19, 2022 ($48.00 • $58.00) September 19, 2022 ($48.00 • $58.00)

The last visit (pre-covid!) didn't really hit the spot.

But it's perfect fall weather, so seems like no better time to try again.

The price for "overnight visit" (they don't like to call it camping) is now $48. I opted for the one-month membership ($10) instead of the annual ($30).

January 23, 2020 ($35.00) January 23, 2020 ($35.00)

It's back! All the lovely old wooden buildings that were so cool to be in burned to the ground in 2015. The paved roads and the concrete tubs were mostly unharmed, but everything else was obliterated. Now it's re-opened, and it's pretty cool.

Pools are completely rebuilt, but pretty much all services - food, bathrooms, showers - are done out of prefab buildings. It works real well!

The camping area along the creek wasn't burnt, and is much the same as before.

November 20, 2014 ($30.00) November 20, 2014 ($30.00)

If you've ever thought that new-agey folks are secret authoritarians, a trip to Harbin will confirm your darkest thoughts. The lovely hippie chick at the gate found no record that I paid my ticketm which I did last time. after 5 minutes on the phone with The Office I was allowed to proceed, although the ticket is still on my record. So, a little something for me to clear up before I come again. AAARGH!!

The damp but warmish weather was perfect for soaking. I thought it would be deserted, but it was quite crowded for an Ecstatic Dancing conference :) The dance was fun, everything was fun, no more negative experiences after I got past the guardians of the gate - geez.

Missed breakfast, so I relaxed till noon then went to the lodge and used my cup and my teabag and their hot water for a yummy green tea and kind bar, which hit the spot perfectly.

May 27, 2014 ($30.00) May 27, 2014 ($30.00)

the day after Memorial Day weekend, it is blessedly un-crowded. I am still having stress though. They gave me a Harbin ticket last time and it severely diminished my appreciation for the place. Not enough to not come again apparently :-|

So my question is answered ... yes, they DO enter those tickets into the database, because the usual rule-obsessed gatekeeper had it right there on her screen next to my address. So today was $30 for camping + $10 for Ticket + $30 for a new annual pass = $70, sigh...

Morning update: coffee in a ceramic cup is no longer available at breakfast. Coffee is dispensed ONLY in 16 oz paper cups. That's not a quality way to eat breakfast, IMO.

August 20, 2013 ($30.00) August 20, 2013 ($30.00)

mid 90's in the daytime, perfect at night. crowded day and night. The main pool is barely usable it's so crowded. Still a pleasant stay though. Got a Harbin parking ticket! = dislike :(

August 09, 2012 ($30.00) August 09, 2012 ($30.00)

Even this though is my first visit since I started recording this database, I've been here many times before.

I stayed in actual rooms 4-5 times in the 90's when I worked at Autodesk, then I've camped here between 2 and 4 times a year since ... 2002? So I'm gonna say I've already visited here over thirty times!