desert hot springs

Desert Hot Springs

Renew. Rediscover. Repeat.

Site Staff Vision

desert hot springs
Mission Lakes Country Club offers magnificent views of the Coachella Valley and its surrounding mountains and is an ideal spot for watching the sun set over the desert.
PHOTOS BY GREG PETERSON

Desert Hot Springs sits atop a gold mine — liquid gold, that is. Here, however, it’s not oil that bubbles to the surface, but water. And it’s not just any water. Some have called the Desert Hot Springs variety “miracle water” because of its natural healing and restorative properties.

The legacy began just after the turn of the 20th century, when adventurer Cabot Yerxa hand-dug two wells with a pick and shovel on his 160-acre homestead. One produced crisp cold water; the other, hot mineral water. Not surprisingly, the site was christened Miracle Hill.

Modern-day visitors to Desert Hot Springs are still enjoying the benefits of Cabot Yerxa’s dual discovery. Parched adventurers can refresh with a glass of crisp municipal tap water from a supply that’s consistently rated among the purest on the planet — with multiple international medals to prove it! Or, dunk into invigorating hot mineral spring water at one of the more than three dozen hotels and day spas offering a variety of relaxing ways to renew from the effects of the daily grind.

MAYOR:
Scott Matas

MAYOR Pro Tem:
Joe McKee

COUNCIL MEMBERS:
Russell Betts
Anayeli Zavala
Yvonne Parks

YEAR INCORPORATED:
1963


WEBSITE:

cityofdhs.org

To duck out and de-stress, nothing beats the healing hideaways of Desert Hot Springs. Spa resorts represent many styles: Midcentury modern, Moroccan, restored hacienda, B & B, casual, classic, clothing optional, and more. Treatments and services include an impressive array — from salt scrubs to spice massages, Finnish saunas to facials, ayurveda to aromatherapy, power polishes to poolside pedicures, waxing to wraps, and more.

“Most of our spa visitors appreciate the simple basic vibe of our small but growing town as well as the amazing views from our city on the hillside. We are away from much of the hustle and bustle,” says Jeff Bowman, president of the Desert Hot Springs Hoteliers Association.

Two Bunch Palms, the granddaddy of local spa resorts, was first noted by a settler in 1857 as a resting spot marked by two palm tree groves.

cabotspueblomuseum

Celebrate the vision of Cabot Yerxa at the four-story, 5,000-square-foot Hopi-inspired structure known as Cabot’s Pueblo Museum.

It was officially surveyed in 1909 by the U.S. Army Camel Corps and identified as “two bunches of palms.” The name stuck. Since those early days, the resort has hosted its share of gangsters and glitterati: from rumors about Al Capone to actual sightings of Tim Robbins lounging in the spa in the Robert Altman movie, The Player, or more recent celebrity visits that are kept hush-hush.

The underground mineral spring that’s been flowing down Miracle Hill for hundreds of years reaches the surface at Two Bunch Palms’ award-winning hot mineral springs grotto. The low-sulfur, lithium-rich waters make for an incomparable therapeutic soak.

Indeed, folks have been flocking to “take the waters” in Desert Hot Springs for generations. Over the years, as the health and wellness community has grown, more diverse groups of visitors have discovered this little piece of paradise overlooking the Palm Springs desert resort communities. Snowbirds roost all winter long. Europeans descend in summer to escape their overcrowded hometowns. Urban millennials come to relax after making a pilgrimage to Joshua Tree National Park or the local music festivals. As ever, celebrities find it an alluring oasis that’s perfect for escaping the spotlight.

Almost any adventure is yours for the taking in Desert Hot Springs — from sand to snow and everything in between. Nestled at the foot of one of the most biologically diverse mountain ranges in North America, Desert Hot Springs sits at the “front door” of the newly designated Sand to Snow National Monument, with some of the most dramatic hiking trails in Southern California. Nearby Whitewater Canyon connects to the Pacific Crest Trail, a must-do experience on every serious hiker’s bucket list. Closer to the ground, bikers, runners, and off-road fans will find countless miles of sweeping vistas to explore.

sandtosnownationalmonument

The newly designated Sand to Snow National Monument features some of the most dramatic hiking trails in Southern California.

For all of these reasons, desert resort communities of Southern California have long been a magnet for day-trippers and urban escapists alike. More than 150,000 travelers zoom along Interstate 10 every day. Still, Desert Hot Springs has maintained its welcoming and peaceful village atmosphere while adapting and evolving year after year. Desert Hot Springs continues to be one of the fastest-growing communities in Southern California with a competitive cost of living that’s convenient — close to an international airport and world-renowned sporting and entertainment events.

Lest you think that time has forgotten the man who hit liquid gold on Miracle Hill, visitors may still celebrate the vision of Cabot Yerxa at Cabot’s Pueblo Museum. The four-story, 5,000-square-foot Hopi-inspired structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and had retained an enduring sense of dignity over the years. Cabot began construction in 1941 and worked on the homestead until his death in 1965. The pueblo is hand-built from reclaimed and found materials, much of which came from abandoned cabins that housed men who built the California aqueduct in the 1930s. It includes 35 rooms, 150 windows and 65 doors. Cabot fashioned and sun-dried all of the adobe-style bricks himself and you can almost feel his thoughtful dedication as you wander the atmospheric ruins.

“Most of our spa visitors appreciate the simple basic vibe of our small but growing town as well as the amazing views from our city on the hillside.”Jeff Bowman, president of the Desert Hot Springs Hoteliers Association.

Cabot’s Pueblo is still an integral part of the fabric of Desert Hot Springs, just as Yerxa would have wanted. Museum executive director Irene Rodriguez is partnering with several community organizations to keep his ideals and spirit alive. For example, a grant-funded program called “People Who Make a Difference” will invite second graders from three local schools to learn mapping techniques that will help them better understand their neighborhoods. The program ends with a family night at the pueblo, celebrating the city’s continued spirit of exploration and rediscovery.

twobunchpalms

Immortalized on screen in Robert Altman’s The Player, Two Bunch Palms utilizes a long-flowing underground mineral spring whose low-sulfuer, lithium-rich waters make for an incomparable therapeutic soak.

In addition, the Desert Hot Springs Historical Society is collaborating on a display of artifacts and archives depicting untold stories and early town history that will be shown in rooms of the pueblo that have not been open to the public for 50 years. The city’s Diversity Committee is also staging the first Desert Hot Springs Pride Festival, which will take place on the pueblo grounds Nov. 18.

For their part, the Desert Hot Springs City Council and staff are upbeat about the future. “We are in progress with a new City Hall complex, two dog parks, and several median and infrastructure upgrades throughout the community,” says Doria Wilms, Management Analyst for the City Manager. “We are moving full speed ahead in a positive direction.” With genuine hometown flavor, internationally known spas, and a proximity to world-class outdoor adventuring, Desert Hot Springs is on the rise

CITY STATS

Population
Total Population:
28,989

Annual Growth
Rate:
1.43%

Median Age:
32.3

Income
Median
Household:
$34,996

Average
Household:
$47,654

Employment
Accommodation
and Food Services:
18.48%

Retail:
18.15%

Admin., Support, Waste Management Services:
10.28%

Healthcare, Social Assistance:
12.56%

Construction:
9.55%

Services (excluding Public Administration):
8.52%

Educational Services:
5.47%

Arts, Entertainment, Recreation:
3.76%

Real Estate, Rental, Leasing:
2.61%

Professional, Scientific, Tech Services:
2.43%

Transportation and Warehousing:
3.13%

Public Administration:
2.24%

Manufacturing:
2.13%

Finance and Insurance:
1.13%

Wholesale Trade:
1.70%

SOURCE: Esri Business Analyst 2017/Coachella Valley Economic Partnership