Slates Hot Springs, California

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Slates Hot Springs
Unincorporated community
Slates Hot Springs is located in California
Slates Hot Springs
Slates Hot Springs
Location in California
Coordinates: 36°07′25″N 121°38′14″W / 36.12361°N 121.63722°W / 36.12361; -121.63722Coordinates: 36°07′25″N 121°38′14″W / 36.12361°N 121.63722°W / 36.12361; -121.63722
Country United States
State California
County Monterey County
Elevation[1] 118 ft (36 m)

Slates Hot Springs (formerly, Big Sur Hot Springs,[1] Slate's Hot Springs,[1] Slate's Springs,[2] and Slate's Hot Sulphur Springs[2]) is an unincorporated community in the Big Sur region of Monterey County, California.[1] It is located 8 miles (13 km) north-northwest of Lopez Point,[2] at an elevation of 118 feet (36 m).[1]

Thomas B. Slate settled at the site of the springs in 1868.[2] He claimed that the waters cured him of arthritis.[2] A resort developed which eventually was acquired by the Esalen Institute.[2] Hunter S. Thompson worked as a security guard at the springs for a period in 1961.

The springs[edit]

In 1918, the California State Mining Bureau issued a report from the state mineralogist about the springs and their properties.[3] According to the report, Slates Hot Springs is the southernmost of the four groups of hot springs in coastal Monterey County. In 1918, J. A. Little owned the site. The water there issued at ten principal points in a distance of 125 yards (114 m), halfway up the face of the bluffs that here border the ocean. A small private bathhouse has been built near the easternmost spring. The waters range in temperature from 110 °F (43 °C) to 121 °F (49 °C), are mildly sulphuretted, and the run-off streams are lined with abundant green algous growth. Small deposits of alum, gypsum, and carbonate of lime or magnesia were noted at the edge of one spring. The waters taste distinctly sweetish.[4]

About 0.25 miles (0.4 km) northwest of the main group, on the left bank of Hot Creek, is another spring, 98 °F (37 °C) in temperature. This spring yields perhaps 5 US gallons (19 l) a minute and was in 1918 used for laundering clothes.[4]

It is said that the location of the springs was described by an Indian to Thomas B. Slate, who made his way southward with difficulty along the steep, brushy slopes, and succeeded in finding only the warm spring beside the creek. Later, however, he came down the coast in a boat, found the springs on the bluff, and settled near them in 1868. The locality is occasionally made a camping place by deer hunters, but as of 1918, it is about 17 miles (27 km) by trail beyond the southern end of the wagon road, it was not often visited.[4]

The formation exposed along the bluffs is of slates that have been described as being probably of Jurassic age. They are overlain by 30 to 40 feet (9.1 to 12.2 m) of gravel that is deposited on an ocean terrace along this portion of the coast. The heated water apparently emerges at the base of the gravel, though small warm flows also issue from the slate, close to the surf. It is said that when garden land on the terrace back of the springs has been irrigated for several weeks by a mountain stream the seepage water has so reduced the temperature of the hot springs that they are only tepid.[4]


At the county level, Slates Hot Springs is represented on the Monterey County Board of Supervisors by Supervisor Dave Potter.[5]

In the California State Legislature, Slates Hot Springs is in the 17th Senate District, represented by Democrat Bill Monning, and in the 30th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Luis Alejo.[6]

In the United States House of Representatives, Slates Hot Springs is in California's 20th congressional district, represented by Democrat Sam Farr[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Slates Hot Springs". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved February 17, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 960. ISBN 1-884995-14-4. 
  3. ^ California State Mining Bureau (1918). Report of the state mineralogist. California State Mining Bureau. 
  4. ^ a b c d California State Mining Bureau (1918). Report of the state mineralogist. California State Mining Bureau. p. 609-610. 
  5. ^ "Monterey County Supervisorial District 5 Map (North District 5)" (PDF). County of Monterey. Retrieved 21 September 2012. 
  6. ^ "Statewide Database". UC Regents. Retrieved February 11, 2015. 
  7. ^ "California's 20th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved September 24, 2014.